m TRIP ABROAD
MY TRIP ABROAD
1^ /^i^^ /^^uyi^^
I SALUTE EUROPE!
MY TRIP ABROAD
HARPER & BROTHERS
New York and London
Mt Tup Abroad
Copyright, 1933, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in tlM United Statei of America
I. I Decide to Play Hookey i
II. Off to Europe 13
III. Days on Shipboard 24
IV. Hello! England 35
V. I Arrive in London 46
VI. The Haunts of My Childhood 55
VII. A Joke and Still on the Go 63
VIII. A Memorable Night in London 70
IX. I Meet the Immortals 80
X. I Meet Thomas Burke and H. G. Wells 92
XI. Off to France 102
XII. My Visit to Germany 113
XIII. I Fly from Paris to London 124
XIV. Farewells to Paris and London 134
XV. Bon Voyage 143
I Salute Europe! . - Frontispiece
As I Look When I Am Serious Facing p! 8
I Sign a $670,000 Contract " 14
My $3,000,000 Home from an Airplane " 14
Surrounded by Some of My Admirers " 22
I Am Welcomed by the Mayor of Southampton, England . " 40
I Arrive at the Ritz in London " 50
I Love Dogs " 62
Scenes from "The Kid," in Which I Star with Jackie
Coogan " 86
I Meet H. G. Wells " 94
In Paris with Sir Philip Sassoon and Georges Carpentier " 102
I Meet Lady Rock-Savage and Sir Philip Sassoon, the Poet " 106
I Am Met in Paris by Dudley Field Malone " no
I Meet the Beautiful Pola Negri in Berlin " 116
My Favorite Close-up " 126
I Travel from Paris to London in the Latest Style . . " 138
Scenes from " Sunnyside," One of My Favorite Photo Plays . " 148
MY TRIP ABROAD
MY TRIP ABROAD
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY
ASTEAK-AND-KIDNEY pie, influenza, and a cablegram.
There is the triple alliance that is responsible for the
whole thing. Though there might have been a bit of home-
sickness and a desire for applause mixed up in the cycle
of circumstances that started me off to Europe for a vacation.
For seven years I have been basking in California's per-
petual sunlight, a sunlight artificially enhanced by the
studio Cooper-Hewitts. For seven years I have been
working and thinking along in a single channel and I wanted
to get away. Away from Hollywood, the cinema colony,
away from scenarios, away from the celluloid smell of the
studios, away from contracts, press notices, cutting rooms,
crowds, bathing beauties, custard pies, big shoes, and little
mustaches. I was in the atmosphere of achievement, but
an achievement which, to me, was rapidly verging on
I wanted an emotional holiday. Perhaps I am projecting
at the start a difficult condition for conception, but I assure
you that even the clown has his rational moments and I
needed a few.
The triple alliance listed above came about rather simul-
taneously. I had finished the picture of "The Kid" and
2 MY TRIP ABROAD
"The Idle Class" and was about to embark on another.
The company had been engaged. Script and settings were
ready. We had worked on the picture one day.
I was feeling very tired, weak, and depressed. I had
just recovered from an attack of influenza. I was in one
of those "what's the use" moods. I wanted something
and didn't know what it was.
And then Montague Glass invited me to dinner at his
home in Pasadena. There were many other invitations,
but this one carried with it the assurance that there would
be a steak-and-kidney pie. A weakness of mine. I was on
hand ahead of time. The pie was a symphony. So was
the evening. Monty Glass, his charming wife, their little
daughter, Lucius Hitchcock, the illustrator, and his wife —
just a homey little family party devoid of red lights and
jazz orchestras. It awoke within me a chord of something
reminiscent. I couldn't quite tell what.
After the final onslaught on the pie, into the parlor before
an open fire. Conversation, not studio patois nor idle
chatter. An exchange of ideas — ideas founded on ideas.
I discovered that Montague Glass was much more than the
author of Potash and Perlmutter. He thought. He was an
He played the piano. I sang. Not as an exponent of
entertainment, but as part of the group having a pleasant,
homey evening. We played charades. The evening was
over too soon. It left me wishing. Here was home in its
true sense. Here was a man artistically and commercially
successful who still managed to lock the doors and put out
the cat at night.
I drove back to Los Angeles. I was restless. There was
a cablegram waiting for me from London. It called atten-
tion to the fact that my latest picture, "The Kid," was
about to make its appearance in London, and, as it had
been acclaimed my best, this was the time for me to make
the trip back to my native land. A trip that I had been
promising myself for years.
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY 3
What would Europe look like after the war?
I thought it over. I had never been present at the first
showing of one of my pictures. Their debut to me had
been in Los AngelSs projection rooms. I had been missing
something vital and stimulating. I had success, but it was
stored away somewhere. I had never opened the package
and tasted it. I sort of wanted to be patted on the back.
And I rather relished the pats coming in and from England.
They had hinted that I could, so I wanted to turn London
upside down. Who wouldn't want to do that? And all
the time there was the specter of nervous breakdown from
overwork threatening and the actual results of influenza
apparent, to say nothing of the steak-and-kidney pie.
Sensation of the pleasantest sort beckoned me, at the
same time rest was promised. I wanted to grab it while
it was good. Perhaps "The Kid" might be my last picture.
Maybe there would never be another chance for me to bask
in the spotlight. And I wanted to see Europe — England,
France, Germany, and Russia. Europe was new.
It was too much. I stopped preparations on the pic-
ture we were taking. Decided to leave the next night
for Europe. And did it despite the protests and the
impossibility howlers. Tickets were engaged. We packed.
Everyone was shocked. I was glad of it. I wanted to
The next night I believe that most of Hollywood was at
the train in Los Angeles to see me off. And so were their
sisters and their cousins and their aunts. Why was I
going? A secret mission, I told them. It was an effective
answer. I was immediately signed to do pictures in Europe
in the minds of most of them. But then would they have
believed or understood if I had told them I wanted an
emotional holiday? I don't believe so.
There was the usual station demonstration at the train.
The crowd rather surprised me. It was but a foretaste. I do
not try to remember the shouted messages of cheer that
were flung after me. They were of the usual sort, I imagine.
4 MY TRIP ABROAD
One, however, sticks. My brother Syd at the last moment
rushed up to one of my party.
"For God's sake, don't let him get married!" he shouted.
It handed the crowd a laugh and me a scare.
The train pulled out and I settled down to three days of
relaxation and train routine. I ate sometimes in the dining
car, sometimes in our drawing-room. I slept atrociously.
I always do. I hate traveling. The faces left on the plat-
form at Los Angeles began to look kinder and more attrac-
tive. They did not seem the sort to drive one away. But
they had, or maybe it was optical illusion on my part,
illusion fostered by mental unrest.
For two thousand miles we did the same thing over many
times, then repeated it. Perhaps there were many interesting
people on the train. I did not find out. The percentage of
interesting ones on trains is too small to hazard. Most of
the time we played solitaire. You can play it many times
in two thousand miles.
Then we reached Chicago. I like Chicago. I have
never been there for any great length of time, but my
glimpses of it have disclosed tremendous activity. Its
record speaks achievement.
But to me, personally, Chicago suggested Carl Sandburg,
whose poetry I appreciate highly and whom I had met in
Los Angeles. I must see dear old Carl and also call at the
office of the Daily News. They were running an enormous
scenario contest. I am one of the judges, and it happens
that Carl Sandburg is on the same paper.
Our party went to the Blackstone Hotel, where a suite
had been placed at our disposal. The hotel management
overwhelmed us with courtesies.
Then came the reporters. You can't describe them unless
you label them with the hackneyed interrogation point.
"Mr. Chaplin, why are you going to Europe?"
"Just for a vacation."
"Are you going to make pictures while you are there?"
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY 5
"What do you do with your old mustaches?"
"Throw them away."
"What do you do with your old canes?"
"Throw them away."
"What do you do with your old shoes?"
" Throw them away."
That lad did well. He got in all those questions before
he was shouldered aside and two black eyes boring through
lenses surrounded by tortoise-shell frames claimed an
inning. I restored the "prop grin" which I had decided
was effective for interviews.
"Mr. Chaplin, have you your cane and shoes with you?"
"I don't think I'll need them."
"Are you going to get married while you are in Europe?"
The bespectacled one passed with the tide. As he passed
I let the grin slip away, but only for a moment. Hastily I
recalled it as a charming young lady caught me by the arm.
"Mr. Chaplin, do you ever expect to get married?"
"I don't know."
"Do you want to play Hamlet?"
"Why, I don't know. I haven't thought much about
it, but if you think there are any reasons why — "
But she was gone. Another district attorney had the
"Mr. Chaplin, are you a Bolshevik?"
"Then why are you going to Europe?"
"For a holiday."
"Pardon me, folks, but I did not sleep well on the train
and I must go to bed."
Like a football player picking a hole in the line, I had
6 ^ MY TRIP ABROAD
seen the bedroom door open and a friendly hand beckon.
I made it. Within I had every opportunity to anticipate
the terror that awaited me on my hoHday. Not the crowds.
I love them. They are friendly and instantaneous. But
interviewers! Then we went to the News office, and the
trip was accomplished without casualty. There we met
photographers. I didn't relish facing them. I hate still
But it had to be done. I was the judge in the contest
and they must have pictures of the judge.
Now I had always pictured a judge as being a rather dig-
nified personage, but I learned about judges from them.
Their idea of the way to photograph a judge was to have
him standing on his head or with one leg pointing east.
They suggested a mustache, a derby hat, and a cane.
It was inevitable.
I couldn't get away from Chaplin.
And I did so want a holiday.
But I met Carl Sandburg. There was an oasis amid the
misery. Good old Carl! We recalled the days in Los
Angeles. It was a most pleasant chatfest.
Back to the hotel.
Reporters. More reporters. Lady reporters.
A publicity barrage.
But I escaped. What a handy bedroom ! There must be
something in practice. I felt that I negotiated it much
better on the second attempt. I rather wanted to try out
my theory to see if I had become an adept in dodging into
the bedroom. I would try it. I went out to brave the
reporters. But they were gone. And when I ducked back
into the bedroom, as a sort of rehearsal, it fell fiat. The effect
was lost without the cause.
A bit of food, some packing, and then to the train again.
This time for New York. Crowds again. I liked them.
Cameras. I did not mind them this time, as I was not
asked to pose.
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY 7
Carl was there to see me off.
I must do or say something extra nice to him. Something
he could appreciate. I couldn't think. I talked inanities
and I felt that he knew I was being inane. I tried to think
of a passage of his poetry to recite. I couldn't. Then it
came — the inspiration.
"Where can I buy your book of poems, Carl?" I almost
blurted it out. It was gone. Too late to be recalled.
"At any bookstore."
His reply may have been casual. To me it was damning.
Ye gods, what a silly imbecile I was! I needed rest. My
brain was gone. I couldn't think of a thing to say in reprieve.
Thank God, the train pulled out then. I hope Carl will
understand and forgive when he reads this, if he ever does.
A wretched sleep en train, more solitaire, meals at schedule
times, and then we hit New York.
Crowds. Reporters. Photographers. And Douglas Fair-
banks. Good old Doug. He did his best, but Doug has
never had a picture yet where he had to buck news pho-
tographers. They snapped me in every posture anatomically
possible. Two of them battled with my carcass in argument
over my facing east or west.
Neither won. But I lost. My body couldn't be split.
But my clothes could — and were.
But Doug put in a good lick and got me into an auto-
mobile. Panting, I lay back against the cushions.
To the Ritz went Doug and I.
To the Ritz went the crowd.
Or at least I thought so, for there was a crowd there and
it looked like the same one. I almost imagined I saw
familiar faces. Certainly I saw cameras. But this time
our charge was most successful. With a guard of porters
as shock troops, we negotiated the distance between the
curb and the lobby without the loss of a single button.
I felt rather smart and relieved. But, as usual, I was too
previous. We ascended to the suite. There they were.
The gentlemen of the press. And one lady of the press.
« MY TRIP ABROAD
"Mr. Chaplin, why are you going to Europe?"
"For a vacation."
"What do you do with your old mustaches?"
"Throw them away."
"Do you ever expect to get married?"
"What's her name?"
"I don't know."
"Are you a Bolshevik?"
"I am an artist. I am interested in life. Bolshevism is
a new phase of life. I must be interested in it."
"Do you want to play Hamlet?"
"Why, I don't know—"
Again Lady Luck fiew to my side. I was called to the
telephone. I answered the one in my bedroom, and closed
the door, and kept it closed. The Press departed. I felt
like a wrung dishrag. I looked into the mirror, I saw a
Cheshire cat grinning back at me. I was still carrying the
"prop " grin that I had invented for interviews. I wondered
if it would be easier to hold it all the time rather than chase
it into play at the sight of reporters. But some one might
accuse me of imitating Doug. So I let the old face slip
back to normalcy.
Doug came. Mary was better. She was with him. It
was good to see her. The three of us went to the roof to
be photographed. We were, in every conceivable pose
until some one suggested that Doug hang over the edge
of the roof, holding Mary in one hand and me in the other.
Pretty little thought. But that's as far as it got. I beat
Doug to the refusal by a hair.
It's great to have friends like Doug and Mary. They
understood me perfectly. They knew what the seven
years' grind had meant to my nerves. They knew just
how badly I needed this vacation, how I needed to get
away from studios and pictiures, how I needed to get away
Doug had thought it all out and had planned that while
AS I LOOK WHEN I AM SERIOUS
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY 9
I was in New York my vacation should be perfect. He
would see that things were kept pleasant for me.
So he insisted that I go and see his new picture, "The
I was nettled. I didn't want to see pictures. But I was
polite. I did not refuse, though I did try to evade.
It was useless. Very seriously he wanted me to see the
picture and give my honest opinion. He wanted my criti-
cism, my suggestions.
I had to do it. I always do. I saw the picture in jerks.
Reporters were there. Their attendance was no secret.
The picture over, I suggested a few changes and several
cuts which I thought would improve it.
I always do.
They listened politely and then let the picture ride the
way it was.
They always do.
Fortunately, the changes I suggested were not made, and
the picture is a tremendous success.
But I still have status as a critic. I am invited to a
showing of Mary's picture, "Little Lord Fauntleroy," and
asked for suggestions. They know that I'll criticize. I
always do and they are afraid of me. Though when they
look at my pictures they are always kind and sympathetic
and never criticize.
I told Mary her picture was too long. I told her where
to cut it. Which, of course, she doesn't do. She never
She and Doug listen politely and the picture stands. It
Newspaper men are at the hotel. I go through the same
barrage of questions. My "prop" grin does duty for
fifteen minutes. I escape.
Douglas phones me. He wants to be nice to me. I am
on my vacation and he wants it to be a very pleasant one.
So he invites me to see "The Three Musketeers" again.
This time ^t its first showing before the public,
10 MY TRIP ABROAD
Before the opening of Doug's picture we were to have
dinner together, Mary and Doug, Mrs. Conde Nast and I.
I feel very embarrassed at meeting Mrs. Nast again.
Somewhere there lurks in my memory a broken dinner
engagement. It worried me, as I had not even written.
It was so foolish not to write. I would be met probably
with an " all-is-f orgiven " look.
I decide that my best defense is to act vague and not
speak of it. I do so and get away with it.
And she has the good taste not to mention it, so a pleasant
time is had by all.
We went to the theater in Mrs. Nast's beautiful limou-
sine. The crowds were gathered for several blocks on every
side of the theater.
I felt proud that I was in the movies. Though on this
night, with Douglas and Mary, I felt that I was trailing in
their glory. It was their night.
There are cheers — for Mary, for Doug, for me. Again I
feel proud that I am in the movies. I try to look dignified.
I coax up the "prop" smile and put into it real pleasure.
It is a real smile. It feels good and natural.
We get out of the car and the crowds swarm. Most of
the "all- American" selections are there. Doug takes Mary
under his wing and plows through as though he were doing
a scene and the crowd were extras.
I took my cue from him. I took Mrs. Nast's arm. At
least I tried to take it, but she seemed to sort of drift away
from me down toward Eighth Avenue, while I, for no
apparent reason, backed toward Broadway. The tide
changed. I was swept back toward the entrance of the
theater. I was not feeling so proud as I had been. I was
still smiling at the dear public, but it had gone back to the
I realized this and tried to put real pleasure into the
smile again. As the grin broadened it opened new space in
the jam and a policeman parked his fist in it.
I 4oii't like the t^ste of policemen's lists, I told him so
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY ii
in a gargle. He glared at me and pushed me for a "first
down." My hat flew toward the heavens. It has never
returned to me.
I felt a draught. I heard machinery. I looked down.
A woman with a pair of scissors was snipping a piece from
the seat of my trousers. Another grabbed my tie and
almost put an end to my suffering through strangulation.
My collar was next. But they only got half of that.
My shirt was pulled out. The buttons torn from my vest.
My feet trampled on. My face scratched. But I still
retained the smile, "prop" one though it was. Whenever
I could think of it I tried to raise it above the level of a
"prop" smile and was always rewarded with a policeman's
fist. I kept insisting that I was Charlie Chaplin and that
I belonged inside. It was absolutely necessary that I see
' ' The Three Musketeers. ' '
Insistence won. As though on a prearranged signal I
felt myself lifted from my feet, my body inverted until my
head pointed toward the center of the lobby and my feet
pointed toward an electric sign advertising the Ziegfeld
Roof. Then there was a surge, and I moved forward right
over the heads of the crowd through the lobby.
As I went through the door, not knowing into what, I
saw a friend.
With the "prop" smile still waving, I flung back, "See
you later," and, head first, I entered the theater and came
to in a heap at the foot of a bediamonded dowager. I
looked up, still carrying the "prop" smile, but my effort
fell flat. There was no applause in the look she gave me.
Crestfallen, I gathered myself together, and with what
dignity there was left I strode to the box that had been
set aside for our party. There was Mary, as sweet and
beautiful as ever; Mrs. Nast, calm and composed; Doug
serene and dapper.
"Late again," they looked.
And Mary, steely polite, enumerated my sartorial short-
comings. But I knew one of them, at le^st better than she
12 MY TRIP ABROAD
did, and I hastened to the men's room for repairs. Soap
and water and a brush did wonders, but I could find no
trousers, collar, or tie, and I returned clean but ragged to the
box, where disapproval was being registered unanimously.
I tried to make the "prop" grin more radiant, even
though I was most tired after my journey, but it didn't
go with Doug and Mary.
But I refused to let them spoil my pleasure and I saw
"The Three Musketeers."
It was a thrilling success for Doug. I felt good for him,
though I was a bit envious. I wondered if the showing of
"The Kid" could have meant as big a night for me.
'Twas quite a night, this opening of the Fairbanks mas-
terpiece, and, considering all the circumstances, I think I
behaved admirably. Somehow, though, I think there is a
vote of three to one against me.
OFF TO EUROPE
NEXT morning there was work to do. My lawyer,
Nathan Burkan, had to be seen. There were contracts
and other things. Almost as much a nuisance as interviews.
But I dare say they are necessary.
Poor old Nath! I love him, but am afraid of him. His
pockets always bulge contracts. We could be such good
friends if he were not a lawyer. And I am sure that there
must be times when he is delightful company. I might
fire him and then get acquainted.
A very dull day with him. Interrupted by phones, invi-
tations, parties, theater tickets sent to me, people asking
for jobs. Hundreds of letters camouflaged with good wishes
and invariably asking favors. But I like them.
Calls from many old friends who depress me and many
new ones who thrill me. I wanted some buckwheat cakes.
I had to go three blocks to a Childs' restaurant to get them.
Why doesn't a hotel like the Ritz get a chef who knows
how to make buckwheat cakes? Can't they lure one away
from the spotlight of the white front? Still, I guess there
is a thrill in tossing the batter in the air and catching it
while hungry-looking eyes and flattened noses are pressed
against the window.
That night I went to see "Liliom," the best play in New
York at the time and one which in moments rises to true
greatness. It impressed me tremendously and made me
dissatisfied with myself. I don't like being without work.
14 MY TRIP ABROAD
I want to go on the stage. Wonder if I could play that
I went back behind the scenes and met young Skildkraut.
I was amazed at his beauty and youth. Truly an artist,
sincere and simple. And Eva Le Gallienne, a charm that is
distinctive. I recall no one else on the stage just like her.
We renewed our acquaintance made in Los Angeles.
I am told that she lives whatever part She is playing, on
and off the stage. This is most interesting, but I question
its advisability — for artistic reasons. But she is a charming
artist, and that is the answer, I couldn't do it. I want the
relaxation of being myself after the day's work is done. I
am after a good dose of that relaxation now. It is not
coming so easily. My little mustache and big shoes are
The next morning provided a delightful treat. Break-
fast for me, luncheon for the others, at the Coffee House
Club, a most interesting little place where artists and
artisans belong — writers, actors, musicians, artists, sculp-
tors, painters — all of them interesting people. I go there
often whenever I am in New York. It was a brilliant party.
Heywood Broun, Frank Crowninshield, Harrison Rhodes,
Edward Knobloch, Conde Nast, Alexander Woolcott — but
I can't remember all the names. I wish all meals were as
I received an invitation to dine with Ambassador Gerard
and then go for a ride in the country. The motor broke
down, as they usually do on such occasions, and I had to
phone and disappoint. I was sorry, because I was to meet
some brilliant people.
I had luncheon next day with Max Eastman, one of my
best friends. He is a radical and a poet and editor of The
Liberator, a charming and sympathetic fellow who thinks.
All of his doctrines I do not 'subscribe to, but that makes no
difference in our friendship. We get together, argue a bit,
and then agree to disagree and let it go at that and remain
I SIGN A $670,000 CONTRACT
4MY $3,000,000 HOME FROM AN AIRPLANE
OFF TO EUROPE 15
He told me of a party that he was giving at his home
that evening and I hastened to accept his invitation
to attend. His home is always interesting. His friends
What a night it was for me! I got out of myself. My
emotions went the gamut of tears to laughter without
artificiality. It was what I had left Los Angeles for, and
that night Charlie Chaplin seemed very far away, and I
felt or wanted to feel myself just a simple soul among other
I was introduced to George, an ex-I. W. W. secretary. I
suppose he has a last name, but I didn't know it and it
didn't seem to matter when one met George. Here was a
real personality. He had a light in his eyes that I have
never seen before, a light that must have shone from his
soul. He had the look of one who believes he is right
and has the courage of his convictions. It is a scarce
I learned that he had been sentenced by Judge Landis
to serve twenty years in the penitentiary, that he had
served two years and was out because of ill health. I did
not learn the offense. It did not seem to matter.
A dreamer and a poet, he became wistfully gay on this
hectic night among kindred spirits. In a mixed crowd of
intellectuals he stood out.
He was going back to serve eighteen years in the peni-
tentiary and was remaining jovial. What an ordeal! But
ordeal signifies what it would have been for me. I don't
believe it bothered him. I hardly believe he was there.
He was somewhere else in the place from which that look
in his eyes emanated. A man whose ideas are ideals.
I pass no opinion, but with such charm one must
It was an amusing evening. We played charades and I
watched George act. It was all sorts of fun. We danced
Then George came in imitating Woodrow. It was scream-
i6 MY TRIP ABROAD
ingly funny, and he threw himself into the character, or
caricature, making Wilson seem absurdly ridiculous. We
were convulsed with laughter.
But all the time I couldn't help thinking that he must go
back to the penitentiary for eighteen years.
What a party !
It didn't break up until two in the morning, though
clock or calendar didn't get a thought from me.
We all played, danced, and acted. No one asked me tc
walk funny, no one asked me to twirl a cane. If I wanted
to do a tragic bit, I did, and so did everyone else. You
were a creature of the present, not a production of the past,
not a promise of the future. You were accepted as is,
sans "Who's Who" labels and income-tax records.
George asks me about my trip, but he does not interview.
He gives me letters to George Bernard Shaw and others.
They are great friends.
In my puny way, sounding hollow and unconvincing, I try
to tell George how foolish he is. He tries to explain that
he can't help it. Like all trail blazers, he is a martyr.
He does not rant. He blames no one. He does not rail
If he believes himself persecuted, his belief is unspoken.
He is almost Christlike as he explains to me. His viewpoint
is beautiful, kind, and tender.
I can't imagine what he has done to be sentenced to
twenty years. My thought must speak. He believes he is
spoiling my party through making me serious. He doesn't
He stops talking about himself. Suddenly he runs, grabs
a woman's hat, and says, "Look, Charlie, I'm Sarah Bern-
hardt!" and goes into a most ridiculous travesty.
I laugh. Everyone laughs. George laughs.
And he is going back to the penitentiary to spend eigh-
teen of the most wonderful years of his life !
I can't stand it. I go out in the garden and gaze up at
the stars. It is a wonderful night and a glorious moon is
OFF TO EUROPE 17
shining down. I wish there was something I could do for
George. I wonder if he is right or wrong.
Before long George joins me. He is sad and reflective,
with a sadness of beauty, not of regret. He looks at the
moon, the stars. He confides, how stupid is the party, any
party, compared with the loveliness of the night. The
silence that is a universal gift — how few of us enjoy it.
Perhaps because it cannot be bought. Rich men buy noise.
Souls irevel in nature's silences. They cannot be denied
those who seek them.
We talk of George's future. Not of his past nor of his
offense. Can't he escape? I try to make him think logically
toward regaining his freedom. I want to pledge my help.
He doesn't understand, or pretends not to. He has not lost
anything. Bars cannot imprison his spirit.
I beg him to give himself and his life a better chance.
"Don't bother about me, Charlie. You have your work.
Go on making the world laugh. Yours is a great task and
a splendid one. Don't bother about me."
We are silent. I am choked up. I feel a sort of pent-up
helplessness. I want relief. It comes.
The tears roll down my cheeks and George embraces me.
There are tears in both our eyes.
What a party. Its noise disgusts me now. I call my car.
I go back to the Ritz.
George goes back to the "pen."
Chuck Reisner, who played the big bully in "The Kid,"
called the next day. He wants to go to Europe. Why?
He doesn't know. He is emotional and sensational. He is
a pugilist and a song writer. A civil soldier of fortune. He
doesn't like New York and thinks he wants to get back to
California at once.
We have breakfast together. It is a delightful meal
because it is so different from my usual lonely breakfast.
i8 MY TRIP ABROAD
Chuck goes on at a great rate and succeeds in working up
his own emotions until there are tears in his eyes.
I promise him all sorts of things to get rid of him. He
knows it and tells me so. We understand each other very
well. I promise him an engagement. Tell him he can
always get a job with me if he doesn't want too much money.
He is indignant at some press notices that have appeared
about me and wants to go down to newspaper row and kill
a few reporters. He always has a chip on his shoulders
wherever I am concerned. He fathers, mothers me in his
We talk about everybody's ingratitude for what he and
I have done for people. We have a mutual-admiration
convention. Why aren't we appreciated more? We are
both sour on the world and its hypocrisies. It's a great
little game panning the world so long as you don't let your
sessions get too long or too serious. I chased Chuck before
I had a luncheon engagement at the Coffee House Club
with Frank Crowninshield, and we talked over the arrange-
ments of a dinner which I am giving to a few intimate friends.
Frank is my social mentor, though I care little about society
in the general acceptance of the term. We arranged for a
table at the Elysee Cafe and it was to be a mixed party.
Among the guests were Max Eastman, Harrison Rhodes,
Edward Knobloch, Mme. Maeterlinck, Alexander Woolcott,
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary, Heywood Broun, Rita
Weiman, and Neysa McMein, a most charming girl for whom
I am posing.
Frank Harris and Waldo Frank were invited, but were
unable to attend. Perhaps there were others, but I can't
remember, and I am sure they will forgive me if I have
neglected to mention them. I am always confused about
parties and arrangements.
The last minute sets me wild. I am a very bad organizer.
I am always leaving everything until the last minute, and
as a rule no one shows up.
OFF TO EUROPE 19
This was the exception. For on this occasion everybody
did turn up. And it started off Hke most parties; every-
body was stiff and formal ; I felt a terrible failure as a
host. But in spite of Mr. Volstead there was a bit of "golden
water" to be had, and it saved the day. What a blessing
I had been worried since sending the invitations. I
wondered how Max Eastman would mix with the others,
but I was soon put at my ease, because Max is clever and
is just as desirous of having a good time as anyone, in spite
of intellectual differences. That night he seemed the
necessary ingredient to make the party.
The fizz water must have something of the sort of thing
that old Ponce de Leon sought. Certainly it made us feel
very young. Back to children we leaped for the night.
There were games, music, dancing. And no wall flowers.
We began playing charades, and Doug and Mary showed
us some clever acting. They both got on top of a table
and made believe he was the conductor of a trolley car and
she was a passenger. After an orgy of calling out stations
en route the conductor came along to the passenger and
collected her fare. Then they both began dancing around
the floor, explaining that they were a couple of fairies
dancing along the side of a brook, picking flowers. Soon
Mary fell in and Douglas plunged in after her and pulled
her up on the banks of the brook.
That was their problem, and, guess though we would, we
could not solve it. They gave the answer finally. It was
Then we sang, and in Italian — at least it passed for that.
I acted with Mme. Maeterlinck. We played a burlesque
on the great dying scene of "Camille." But we gave it a
touch that Dumas overlooked.
When she coughed, I got the disease immediately, and was
soon taken with convulsions and died instead of Camille.
We sang some more, we danced, we got up and made
20 MY TRIP ABROAD
impromptu speeches on any given subject. None were
about the party, but on subjects like "poHtical economy,"
"the fur trade," "feminism."
Each one would try to talk intelligently and seriously
on a given subject for one minute. My subject was the
I prefaced my talk by references to cats, rabbits, etc.,
and finished up by diagnosing the political situation in
For me the party was a great success. I succeeded in
forgetting myself for a while. I hope the rest of them
managed to do the same thing. From the cafe the party
went over to a little girl's house — she was a friend of Mr.
Woolcott — and again we burst forth in music and dancing.
We made a complete evening of it and I went to bed tired
and exhausted about five in the morning.
I want a long sleep, but am awakened by my lawyer at
nine. He has packages of legal documents and papers for
me to sign, my orders about certain personal things of
great importance. I have a splitting headache. My boat
is sailing at noon, and altogether, with a lawyer for a com-
panion, it is a hideous day.
All through the morning the telephone bell is ringing.
Reporters. I listen several times, but it never varies.
"Mr. Chaplin, why are you going to Europe?"
"To get rid of interviews," I finally shout, and hang up
the phone. Somehow, with invaluable assistance, we get
away from the hotel and are on our way to the dock. My
lawyer meets me there. He has come to see me off. I
tremble, though, for fear he has more business with me.
I am criticized by my lawyer for talking so sharply the
first thing in the morning. That's just it. He always sees
me the first thing in the morning. That's what makes me
But it is too big a moment. Something is stirring within
me. I am anxious and reluctant about leaving. My emo-
tions are all mixed.
OFF TO EUROPE 21
It is a beautiful morning. New York looks much finer
and nicer because I am leaving it. I am terribly troubled
about passports and the usual procedure about declaring
income tax, but my lawyer reassures me that he has fixed
everything O. K. and that my name will work a lot of influ-
ence with the American officials; but I am very dubious
about it when I am met by the American officials at the
I am terrified by American officials. I am extra nice to
the officials, and to my amazement they are extra nice to
me. Everything passes off very easily.
As usual, my lawyer was right. He had fixed everything.
He is a good lawyer.
We could be such intimate friends if he wasn't.
But I am too thrilled to give much time to pitying lawyers.
I am going to Europe.
The crowds, reporters, photographers, all sorts of traffic,
pushing, shoving, opening passports, vises O. K.'d, stamped,
in perfect, almost clocklike precision, I am shoved aboard.
The newspaper battery pictorial and reportorial. There
is no original note.
"Mr, Chaplin, why are you going to Europe?"
I feel that in this last moment I should be a bit more
tolerant and pleasant, no matter how difficult. I bring
forth the "prop" smile again.
"For a vacation," I answer.
Then they go through the standard interview form and I
try to be obliging.
Mrs. John Carpenter is on the boat — was also invited to
my party, but couldn't attend — with her charming daughter,
who has the face of an angel. Also Mr. Edward Knobloch.
We are all photographed. Doug and Mary are there. Lots
of people to see me off. Somehow I don't seem interested
in them very much. My mind is pretty well occupied. I
am trying to make conversation, but am more interested in
the people and the boat and those who are going to travel
52 MY TRIP ABROAD
Many of the passengers on the boat are bringing their
children that I may be introduced. I don't mind children.
"I have seen you so many times in the pictures." I
find myself smiling at them graciously and pleasantly,
especially the children.
I doubt if I am really sincere in this, as it is too early
in the morning. Despite the fact that I love children, I
find them difficult to meet. I feel rather inferior to them.
Most of them have assurance, have not yet been cursed
And one has to be very much on his best behavior with
children because they detect our insincerity. I find there
are quite a lot of children on board.
Everyone is so pleasant, especially those left behind.
Handkerchiefs are Waving. The boat is off. We start to
move, the waters are churning. Am feeling very sad,
rather regretful — think what a nice man my lawyer is.
We turn around the bend and get into the channel. The
crowds are but little flies now. In this fleeting dramatic
moment there comes the feeling of leaving something very
The camera man and many of his brothers are aboard.
I discover him as I turn around. I did not want to discover
anyone just then. I wanted to be alone with sky and water.
But I am still Charlie Chaplin. I must be photographed —
We are passing the Statue of Liberty. He asks me to wave
and throw kisses, which rather annoys me.
The thing is too obvious. It offends my sense of sincerity.
The Statue of Liberty is thrilling, dramatic, a glorious
symbol. I would feel self-conscious and cheap in deliber-
ately waving and throwing kisses at it. I will be myself.
The incident of the photographic seeker before the Statue
of Liberty upset me. I felt that he was trying to capitalize
the statue. His request was deliberate, insincere. It
offended me. It would have been like calling an audience
OFF TO EUROPE 23
to witness the placing of flowers upon a grave. Patriotism
is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photo-
graph. Why are attempts made to parade such emotions?
I feel glad that I have the courage to refuse.
As I turn from the photographer I feel a sense of relief. I
am to have a reprieve from such annoyances. Reporters for
the while are left behind. It is a delicious sense of security.
I am ready for the new adjustment. I am in a new
world, a little city of its own, where there are new people
— people who may be either pleasant or unpleasant, and
mine is the interesting job of placing them in their proper
category. I want to explore new lands and I feel that I
shall have ample opportunity on such an immense ship.
The Olympic is enormous and I conjure up all sorts of
pleasure to be had in its different rooms — Turkish baths,
gymnasium, music rooms — its Ritz-Carlton restaurant,
where everything is elaborate and of ornate splendor. I
find myself looking forward to my evening meal.
We go to the Ritz grill to dine. Everyone is pleasant.
I seem to sense the feel of England immediately. Foreign
food — a change of system — the different bill of fare, with
money in terms of pounds, shillings, and pence. And the
dishes — pheasant, grouse, and wild duck. For the first
time I feel the elegant gentleman, the man of means.
I ask questions and discover that there are really some
very interesting people aboard. But I resent anyone telling
me about them. I want to discover them myself. I almost
shout when some one tries to read me a passenger list.
This is my desert island — I am going to explore it myself.
The prospect is intriguing. I am three thousand miles from
Hollywood and three thousand miles from Europe. For
the moment I belong to neither.
God be praised, I am myself.
It is my little moment of happiness, the glorious "to-day "
that is sandwiched in between the exhausting "yesterday"
of Los Angeles and the portentous "to-morrow" of Europe.
For th^ mQment I ajn content,
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD
I NOTICE a thoughtful-looking, studious sort of man
seated across from us. He is reading a book, a different
sort of book, if covers mean anything. It looks formidable,
a sort of intellectual fodder. I wonder who he is. I weave
all sorts of romance about him. I place him in all sorts of
intellectual undertakings, though he may be a college pro-
fessor. I would love to know him. I feel that he is inter-
ested in us. I mention it to Knobloch. He keeps looking
at us. Knobloch tells me he is Gillette, the safety-razor
man. I feel like romancing about him more than ever.
I wonder what he is reading? I would love to know him.
It is our loss, I believe. And I never learned what the book
was that he was reading.
There are very few pretty girls aboard. I never have any
luck that way. And it is a weakness of mine. I feel that it
would be awfully pleasant to cross the ocean with a number
of nice girls who were pretty and who would take me as I
am. We listened to the music and retired early, this because
of a promise to myself that I would do lots of reading aboard.
I have a copy of Max Eastman's poems, colors, of life, a
volume of treasures. I try to read them, but am too nervous.
The type passes in parade, but I assimilate nothing, so I
prepare to sleep and be in good shape for the morning.
But that is also impossible.
I am beyond sleep to-night now. I am in something new,
something pregnant with expectation. The immediate future
is too alluring for sleep.
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD 25
How shall I be received in England? What sort of a trip
shall I have ? Whom shall I meet on board ? The thoughts
chased one another round my brain and back again, all
running into one another in their rambling.
I get up at one o'clock. Decide to read again. This time
H. G. Wells's Outline of History. Impossible! It doesn't
register. I try to force it by reading aloud. It can't be done.
The tongue can't cheat the brain, and right now reading
is out of the question.
I get up and go to see if Knobloch is in. He sleeps audibly
and convincingly. He is not making his debut.
I go back to my room. I rather feel sorry for me. If
only the Turkish baths were open I could while a few hours
of time away until morning. Thus I meditate. The last
thing I remember it is four o'clock in the morning and the
next thing eleven-thirty. I can hear a great bit of excite-
ment going on outside my cabin door. There are a lot of
little children there with autograph books. I tell them that
I will sign them later and have them leave the books with
my secretary, Tom Harrington.
There is a composite squeal of pleasure at this and a
sickening fear comes over me. I call Tom. He enters amid
a raft of autograph books. I start to sign, then postpone it
until after breakfast.
Knobloch comes in all refreshed and with that radiant
sort of cheerfulness that I resent in the morning. Am I
going to get up for lunch or will I have it in my cabin?
There is a pleading lethargy that says, "Take it in bed,"
but I cannot overcome the desire to explore and the feeling
of expectancy of something about to happen — I was to see
somebody or meet somebody — so I decide to have luncheon
in the dining room. I am giving myself the emotional
stimulus. Nothing comes off. We meet nobody.
After lunch a bit of exercise. We run around the deck for
a couple of miles. It brings back thoughts of the days
when I ran in Marathon races. I feel rather self-conscious,
however, as I am being pointed out by passengers. With
26 MY TRIP ABROAD
each lap it gets worse. If there was only a place where I
could run with nobody looking. We finally stop and lean
against the rail.
All the stewards are curious. They are trying to pick me
out. I notice it and pretend not to notice it. I go up into
the gymnasium and look around. There is every contrivance
to give joy to healthy bodies. And best of all, nobody else
is there. Wonderful!
I try the weights, the rowing machine, the traveling
rings, punch the bag a bit, swing some Indian clubs, and leap
to the trapeze. Suddenly the place is packed. News travels
quickly aboard ship. Some come for the purpose of exer-
cising, like myself; others out of curiosity to watch me per-
form. I grow careless. I don't care to go through with it.
I put on my coat and hat and go to my room, finding that
the old once-discarded "prop" smile is useful as I make my
way through the crowd.
At four o'clock we have tea. I decide that the people
are interesting. I love to meet so many. Perhaps they are
the same ones I hated to see come into the gym, but I feel
no sense of being paradoxical. The gymnasium belongs to
individuals. The tea room suggests and invites social inter-
course. Somehow there are barriers and conventionalities
that one cannot break, for all the vaunted "freedom of
shipboard.". I feel it's a sort of awkward situation. How
is it possible to meet people on the same footing? I hear
of it, I read of it, but somehow I cannot meet people
myself and stay myself.
I immediately shift any blame from myself and decide
that the first-class passengers are all snobs. I resolve to
try the second-class or the third-class. Somehow I can't
meet these people. I get irritable and decide deliberately
to seek the other classes of passengers and the boat crew.
Another walk around the deck. The salt air makes me
feel good in spite of my mental bothers. I look over the rail
and see other passengers, second or third class, and in one
large group the ship's firemen and stokers. They are the'
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD 27
night force come on deck for a breath of air between working
their shifts in the hellish heat below.
They see and recognize me. To their coal-blackened
faces come smiles. They shout ' ' Hooray ! " " Hello, Charlie ! ' '
Ah, I am discovered. But I tingle all over with pleasure.
As those leathery faces crack into lines through the dust
I sense sincerity. There is a friendly feeling. I warm to
There is a game of cricket going on. That's intriguing.
I love cricket. Wish I could try my hand at it. Wish there
was enough spontaneity about first-cabin passengers to
start a game. I wish I wasn't so darn self-conscious. They
must have read my thoughts. I am invited timidly, then
vociferously, to play a game. Their invitation cheers me.
I feel one of them. A spirit of adventure beckons. I leap
over the rail and right into the midst of it.
I carry with me into the steerage just a bit of self -con-
sciousness — there are so many trying to play upon me.
I am looked upon as a celebrity, not a cricket player. But
I do my part and try and we get into the game. Suddenly
a motion-picture camera man bobs up from somewhere.
What leeches! He snaps a picture. This gets sickening.
One of the crew has hurriedly made himself up as " Charley
Chaplin." He causes great excitement. This also impresses
me. I find myself acting a part, looking surprised and in-
terested. I am conscious of the fact that this thing has
been done many times before. Then on second thought I
realize it is all new to them and that they mean well, so I
try to enter into the spirit of the thing. There comes a
pause in the cricket game. Nobody is very much interested
in it. '
I find that I have been resurrected again in character and
am the center of attraction. There are calls, "What have
you done with your mustache?" I look up with a grin and
ready to answer anything they ask, these chaps who labor
hard and must play the same way. But I see that hun-
dreds of first-class passengers are looking down over the
28 MY TRIP ABROAD
rail as though at a side show. This affects my pride, though
I dare say I am supersensitive. I have an idea that they
think I am "Chariie" performing for them. This irritates
me. I throw up my hands and say, "See you to-morrow."
One of the bystanders presents himself. "Chariie, don't
you remember me? " I have a vague recollection of his face,
but cannot place him.
Now I have it, of course; we worked in some show to-
gether. Yes, I can actually place him. He has a negative
personality. I remernber that he played a small part, a
chorus man or something of the sort. This brings back
all sorts of reminiscences, some depressing and others inter-
esting. I wonder what his life has been. I remember him
now very plainly. He was a bad actor, poor chap. I never
knew him very well even when we worked in the same
company. And now he is stoking in the hold of a ship.
I think I know what his emotions are and understand
the reasons. I wonder whether he understands mine.
I try to be nice, even though I discover the incident is
not overinteresting. But I try to make it so — try harder
just because he never meant a great deal before. But now
it seems to take on a greater significance, the meeting with
this chap, and I find myself being extra nice to him, or at
least trying to be.
Darn it all, the first-class passengers are looking on
again, and I will not perform for them. They arouse pride,
indignation. I have decided to become very exclusive on
board. That's the way to treat them.
It is five o'clock. I decide to take a Turkish bath^ Ah,
what a difference traveling first class after the experience
in the steerage!
There is nothing like money. It does make life so easy.
These thoughts come easily in the luxury of a warm bath.
I feel a little more kindly disposed toward the first-cabin
passengers. After all, I am an emotional cuss.
Discover that there are some very nice people on board.
I get into conversation with two or three. They have the
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD 29
same ideas about lots of things that I have. This discovery-
gives me a fit of introspection and I discover that I am,
indeed, a narrow-minded Httle pinhead.
What peculiar sights one sees in a Turkish bath. The
two extremes, fat and thin, and so seldom a perfect physique.
I am a discovered man — even in my nakedness. One man
will insist upon showing me how to do a hand balance in
the hot room. Also a somersault and a back flip. It chal-
lenges my nimbleness. Can I do them? Good heavens —
no! I'm not an acrobat, I'm an actor. I am indignant.
Then he points out the value of regular exercise, outlining
for my benefit a daily course for me to do aboard. I don't
want any daily course and I tell him so.
"But," says he, "if you keep this up for a week you may
be able to do the stunts I do."
But I can't see it even with that prospect ahead, because
to save my life I can't think of any use I would have for
the hand balance, somersault, or the back flip.
I meet another man who has maneuvered until he has me
pinned in a comer. He shows a vital interest in Theda
Bara. Do I know her? What sort of a person is she?
Does she "vamp" in real life? Do I know Louise Glaum?
He sort of runs to the vampish ladies. Do I know any of
the old-timers? So his conversation goes depressingly on,
with me answering mostly in the negative.
They must think I am very dull. Why, anyone should
know the answers to the questions, they figure. There are
grave doubts as to whether I am Charlie Chaplin or not.
I wish they would decide that I am not. I confess that I
have never met Theda Bara. They return to motion
pictures of my own. How do I think up my funny stunts?
It is too much. Considerably against my wishes I have to
retreat from the hot room. I want to get away from this
terrible, strenuous experience. But retreat is not so easy.
A little rotund individual, smiling, lets me know that he
has seen a number of my pictures. He says:
"I have seen you so much in 'reel' life that I wanted
30 MY TRIP ABROAD
to talk to you in 'real' life." He laughs at this bright little
sally of his and I dare say he thinks it original. The first
time I heard it I choked on my milk bottle.
But I grinned. I always do. He asked what I was taking
a Turkish bath for, and I told him I was afraid of acquiring
a bit of a stomach. I was speaking his language. He knew
the last word in taking down stomachs. He went through
all the stomach-reducing routine. He rolled, he slapped,
he stretched across a couch on his stomach while he breathed
deeply and counted a hundred. He had several other stunts,
but I stopped him. He had given me enough ideas for a
beginning. He got up panting, and I noticed that the
most prominent thing about him was his stomach and that
he had the largest stomach in the room. But he admitted
that the exercise had fixed him O. K.
Eventually he glanced down at my feet. "Good heavens!
I always thought you had big feet. Have you got them
insured?" I can stand it no longer. I burst through the
door into the cooling room and on to the slab.
At last I am where I can relax. The masseur is an Eng-
lishman and has seen most of my pictures. He talks about
"Shoulder Arms." He mentions things in my pictures
that I never remembered putting there. He had always
thought I was a pretty muscular guy, but was sadly dis-
"How do you do your funny falls?" He is surprised that
I am not covered with bruises. Do I know Clara Kimball
Young? Are most of the people in pictures immoral?
I make pretenses. I am asleep. I am very tired. An
audience has drifted in and I hear a remark about my feet.
I am manhandled and punched and then handed on into
At last I can relax. I am about to fall asleep when one
of the passengers asks if I would mind signing my autograph
for him. But I conquer them. Patience wins and I fall
asleep to be awakened at seven o'clock and told to get out
of the bath.
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD 31
I dress for dinner. We go into the smoking room. I
meet the demon camera man. I do not know him, as he
is dressed up Uke a regular person. We get into conversa-
tion. Well, hardly conversation. He talks.
"Listen, Charlie, I am very sorry, but I've been assigned
to photograph you on this trip. Now we might as well
get to know each other and make it easy for both of us, so
the best thing to do is to let's do it fully and get it over
with. Now, let's see, I'll take to-morrow and part of the
next day. I want to photograph you with the third-class
passengers, then the second-class, and have you shown
playing games on deck. If you have your make-up and
your mustache, hat, shoes, and cane,.it will be all the better."
I call for help. He will have to see my personal repre-
sentative, Mr. Robinson.
He says, "I won't take no for an answer."
And I let him know that the only thing he isn't going to
do on the trip is to photograph me. I explain that it would
be a violation of contract with the First National exhibitors.
"I have been assigned to photograph you and I'm going
to photograph you," he says. And then he told me of his
other camera conquests, of his various experiences with
politicians who did not want to be photographed.
"I had to break through the palace walls to photograph
the King of England, but I got him. Also had quite a time
with Foch, but I have his face in celluloid now." And he
smiled as he deprecatingly looked up and down my some-
what small and slight figure.
This is the last straw. I defy him to photograph me.
For from now on I have made up my mind that I am going
to lock myself in my cabin — I'll fool him.
But my whole evening is spoiled. I go to bed cursing
the motion-picture industry, the makers of film, and those
responsible for camera men. Why did I take the trip?
What is it all for? It has gotten beyond me already and
it is my trip, my vacation.
It is early, and I decide to read a bit. I pick up a booklet
32 MY TRIP ABROAD
of poems by Clause McKay, a young negro poet who is
writing splendid verse of the inspired sort. Reading a few
of his gems, my own annoyances seem puny and almost
The Tropics of New York
Bananas ripe and green, and ginger root,
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grapefruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs.
See in the windows, bringing memories
Of fruit trees, laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns and mystical blue skies
In benediction over nimlike hills.
Mine eyes grow dim and ,1 could no more gaze.
A wave of longing through my body swept.
And a hunger for the old, familiar ways;
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.
I read again:
Lovely, dainty Spanish Needle,
With your yellow flower and white;
Dew-bedecked and softly sleeping;
Do you think of me to-night?
Shadowed by the spreading mango
Nodding o'er the rippling stream.
Tell me, dear plant, of my childhood,
Do you of the exile dream?
Do you see me by the brook's side,
Catching grayfish 'neath the stone,
As you did the day you whispered:
"Leave the harmless dears alone?"
Do you see me in the meadow,
Coming from the woodland spring,
With a bamboo on my shoulder
And a pail slung from a string?
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD 33
Do you see me, all expectant,
Lying in an orange grove,
While the swee-swees sing above me
Waiting for my elf -eyed love?
Lovely, dainty Spanish Needle;
Source to me of sweet delight,
In your far-off sunny southland
Do you dream of me to-night?
I am passing this along because I don't believe it is pub-
lished in this country, and I feel as though I am extending
a rare treat. They brought me better rest that night — a
Next morning there were more autograph books and
several wireless messages from intimate friends wishing
me bon voyage. They are all very interesting.
Also there are about two htmdred ship postcards. Would
I mind signing them for the stewards? I am feeling very
good-natured and I enjoy signing anything this morning.
I pass the forenoon till lunch time.
I really feel as though I haven't met anybody. They
say that barriers are lowered aboard ship, but not for me.
Ed Knobloch and I keep very much to ourselves. But
all the time I have been sort of wondering what became
of the beautiful opera singer who came aboard and was
photographed with me. I wonder if being photographed
together constitutes an introduction? I have not seen her
since the picture.
We get seats in deck chairs. Knobloch and myself.
Ed is busy reading Economic Democracy by some one im-
portant. I have splendid intentions of reading Wells's
Outline of History. My intentions falter after a few para-
graphs. I look at the sea, at people passing all around the
ship. Every once in a while I glance at Knobloch, hoping
that he is overcome by his book and that he will look up,
but Knobloch apparently has no such intention.
Suddenly I notice, about twenty chairs away, the beauti-
ful singer. I don't know why I always have this peculiar
34 MY TRIP ABROAD
embarrassment that grips me now. I am trying to make up
my mind to go over and make myself known. No, such an
ordeal would be too terrific. The business of making one-
self known is a problem. Here she is within almost speaking
distance and I am not sure whether I shall meet her or not.
I glance away again. She is looking in my direction. I
pretend not to see her and quickly turn my head and get
into conversation with Knobloch, who thinks I have suddenly
"Isn't that lady the opera singer?" I ask.
That about expresses his interest.
"Shouldn't we go over and make ourselves known?" I
"By all means, if you wish it." And he is up and off
almost before I can catch my breath.
We get up and walk around the deck. I just do not know
how to meet people. At last the moment comes in the
smoking room, where they are having "log auction." She
is with two gentlemen. We meet. She introduces one as
her husband, the other as a friend'.
She reprimands me for not speaking to her sooner. I
try to pretend that I had not seen her. This amuses her
mightily and she becomes charming. We become fast
friends. Both she and her husband join us at dinner the
following night. We recall mutual friends. Discover that
there are quite a lot of nice people aboard. She is Mme.
Namara and in private life Mrs. Guy Bolton, wife of the
author of "Sally." They are on their way to London, where
he is to witness the English opening of "Sally." We have
a delightful evening at dinner and then later in their cabin.
HELLO I ENGLAND
EVERYTHING sails along smoothly and delightfully
until the night of the concert for the seaman's fund.
This entertainment is customary on all liners and usually
is held on the last night out. The passengers provide the
I am requested to perform. The thought scares me. It
is a great tragedy, and, much as I would like to do some-
thing, I am too exhausted and tired. I beg to be excused,
I never like making appearances in public. I find that they
are always disappointing.
I give all manner of reasons for not appearing — one that
I have no particular thing to do, nothing arranged for,
that it is against my principles because it spoils illusion —
especially for the children. When they see me minus my
hat, cane, and shoes, it is like taking the whiskers off Santa
Claus. And not having my equipment with me, I feel very-
conscious of this. I am always self-conscious when meeting
children without my make-up for that very reason. I must
say the officers were very sympathetic and understood my
reasons for not wanting to appear, and I can assure you that
the concert was a distinct success without me. There were
music and recitations and singing and dancing, and one
passenger did a whistling act, imitating various birds and
animals, also the sawing of wood, with the screeching sound
made when the saw strikes a knot. It was very effective.
I watched and enjoyed the concert immensely until near
36 MY TRIP ABROAD
the end, when the entertainment chairman announced that
I was there and that if the audience urged strongly enough
I might do something for them. This was very discon-
certing, and after I had explained that I was physically
exhausted and had nothing prepared I am sure the audience
understood. The chairman, however, announced that it
did not matter, as they could see Charlie Chaplin at any
time for a nickel — and that's that.
The next day is to be the last aboard. We are approaching
land. I have got used to the boat and everybody has got
used to me. I have ceased to be a curiosity. They have
taken me at my face value — face without mustache and
kindred make-up. We have exchanged addresses, cards,
invitations; have made new friends, met a lot of charming
people, names too numerous to mention.
The lighter is coming out. The top deck is black with
men. Somebody tells me they are French and British
camera men coming to welcome me. I am up on the top
deck, saying good-by to Mme. Namara and her husband.
They are getting off at Cherbourg. We are staying aboard.
Suddenly there is an avalanche. All sorts and conditions
of men armed with pads, pencils, motion-picture cameras,
still cameras. There is an embarrassing pause. They are
looking for Charlie Chaplin. Some have recognized me.
I see them searching among our little group. Eventually
I am pointed out.
"Why, here he is!"
My friends suddenly become frightened and desert me.
I feel very much alone, the victim. Square-headed gentle-
men with manners different — they are raising their hats.
"Do I speak French?" Some are speaking in French to
me. It means nothing. I am bewildered. Others English.
They all seem too curious to even do their own business.
I find that they are personally interested. Camera men
are forgetting to shoot their pictures.
But they recover themselves after their curiosity has
been gratified. Then the deluge:
HELLO! ENGLAND 37
"Are you visiting in London?"
"Why did you come over?"
"Did you bring your make-up?"
"Are you going to make pictures over here?"
Then from Frenchmen :
"Will I visit France?"
"Am I going to Russia?"
I try to answer them all.
"Will you visit Ireland?"
"I don't expect to do so."
"What do you think of the Irish question?"
"It requires too much thought."
"Are you a Bolshevik?"
"I am an artist, not a politician."
"Why do you want to visit Russia?"
"Because I am interested in any new idea."
"What do you think of Lenin?"
"I think him a very remarkable man."
"Because he is expressing a new idea."
"Do you believe in Bolshevism?"
"I am not a politician."
Others ask me to give them a message to France. A
message to London. What have I to say to the people of
Manchester? Will I meet Bernard Shaw? Will I meet
H. G. Wells? Is it true that I am going to be knighted?
How would I solve the unemployment problem?
In the midst of all this a rather mysterious gentleman
pulls me to one side and tells me that he knew my father
intimately and acted as agent for him in his music-hall
engagements. Did I anticipate working? If so, he could
get me an engagement. Would I give him the first oppor-
tunity? Anyway, he was very pleased to meet me. If I
wanted a nice quiet rest I could come down to his place and
spend a few days with my kind of people, the people I liked.
I am rescued by my secretaries, who insist that I go to
my cabin and lie down. Anything the newspaper men
38 MY TRIP ABROAD
have to ask they will answer for me. I am dragged away
Is this what I came six thousand miles for? Is this rest?
Where is that vacation that I pictured so vividly?
I lie down and nap until dinner time. I have dinner in
my cabin. Now comes another great problem.
Tipping. One has the feeling that if you are looked at
you should tip. One thing that I believe in, though —
tipping. It gets you good service. It is money well spent.
But when and how to tip — that is the question. It is a
great problem on shipboard.
There's the bedroom steward, the waiter, the head waiter,
the hallboy, the deck steward, boots, bathroom steward,
Turkish bath attendants, gymnasium instructor, smoking-
room steward, lounge-room steward, page boys, elevator
boys, barber. It is depressing. I am harassed as to
whether to tip the doctor and the captain.
I am all excited now; full of expectancy. Wonder what's
going to happen. After my first encounter with fifty news-
paper men at Cherbourg, somehow I do not resent it. Rather
like it, in fact. Being a personage is not so bad. I am pre-
pared for the fray. It is exciting. I am advancing on
Europe. One o'clock. I am in my cabin. We are to dock
in the morning.
I look out the porthole. I hear voices. They are along-
side the dock. Am very emotional now. The mystery of
it out there in blackness envelops me. I revel in it — its
promise. We are at Southampton. We are in England.
To-morrow! I go to bed thinking of it. To-morrow!
I try to sleep, childishly reasoning that in sleeping I will
make the time pass more quickly. My reasoning was sound,
perhaps, but somewhere in my anatomy there slipped a
cog. I could not sleep. I rolled and tossed, counted sheep,
closed my eyes and lay perfectly still, but it was no go.
Somewhere within me there stirred a sort of Christmas
Eve feeling. To-morrow was too portentous.
I look at my watch. It is two o'clock in the morning. I
HELLO! ENGLAND 39
look through the porthole. It is pitch dark outside. I try-
to pierce the darkness, but can't. Off in the distance I
hear voices coming out of the night. That and the lapping
of the waves against the side of the boat.
Then I hear my name mentioned once, twice, three
times. I am thrilled. I tingle with expectancy and varying
emotions. It is all so peculiar and mysterious. I try to
throw off the feeling. I can't.
There seems to be no one awake except a couple of men
who are pacing the deck. Longshoremen, probably. Every
once in a while I hear the mystic "Charlie Chaplin" men-
tioned. I peer through the porthole. It is starting to rain.
This adds to the spell. I turn out the lights and get back
in bed and try to sleep. I get up again and look out.
I call Robinson. "Can you sleep?" I ask.
"No. Let's get up and dress." It's got him, too.
We get up and walk around the top deck. There is a
curious mixture of feelings all at once. I am thrilled and
depressed. I cannot understand the depression. We keep
walking around the deck, looking over the side. People
are looking up, but they don't recognize me in the night.
I feel myself speculating, wondering if it is going to be the
welcome I am expecting.
Scores of messages have been arriving all day.
"Will you accept engagements?" "Will you dine with
us?" "How about a few days in the country?" I cannot
possibly answer them all. Not receiving replies, they send
wireless messages to the captain.
"Mr. Lathom, is Mr. Chaplin on board?" "Has my
message been delivered?"
I have never received so many messages. "Will you
appear on Tuesday?" "Will you dine here?" "Will you
join a revue?" "Are you open for engagements?" "I am
the greatest agent in the world."
One of the messages is from the mayor of Southampton,
welcoming me to that city. Others from heads of the
motion-picture industry in Europe. This is a source of
40 MY TRIP ABROAD
great worriment. Welcomed by the mayor. It will prob-
ably mean a speech. I hate speeches, I can't make them.
This is the worst specter of the night.
In my sleeplessness I go back to my cabin and try to
write down what I shall say, trying to anticipate what the
mayor will say to me. I picture his speech of welcome.
A masterpiece of oratory brought forth after much prepara-
tion by those who are always making speeches. It is their
game, this speechmaking, and I know I shall appear a
hopeless dub with my reply.
But I attack it valiantly. I write sentence after sentence
and then practice before the mirror.
"Mr. Mayor and the people of Southampton." The face
that peers back at me from the mirror looks rather silly.
I think of Los Angeles and wonder how they would take
my speech there. But I persevere. I write more. I over-
come that face in the looking-glass to such an extent that
I want a wider audience.
I call Carl Robinson. I make him sit still and listen.
I make my speech several times. He is kind the first time
and the second time, but after that he begins to get fidgety.
He makes suggestions. I take out some lines and put in
others. I decide that it is prepared and leave it. I am to
meet the mayor in the morning at eight o'clock.
Eventually I get to bed and asleep, a fitful, tossing
sleep. They wake me in the morning. People are outside
my door. Carl comes in.
"The mayor is upstairs waiting for you." I am twenty
minutes late. This adds to my inefficiency.
I am pushed and tumbled into my clothes, then taken
by the arm, as if I were about to be arrested, and led from
my cabin. Good Lord! I've forgotten my slip — my speech,
my answer to the mayor, with its platform gestures that I
had labored with during the long night. I believed that I
had created some new gestures never before attempted on
platform, or in pulpit, but I was lost without my copy.
But there is little time for regrets. It doesn't take long
HELLO! ENGLAND 41
to reach any place when that place is holding something
fearful for you. I was before the mayor long before I was
ready to see him.
This mayor wasn't true to type. He was more like a
schoolmaster. Very pleasant and concise, with tortoise-
shell rims to his glasses and with none of the ornaments of
chain and plush that I had anticipated as part of the
regalia of his office. This was somewhat of a relief.
There are lots of men, women, and children gathered
about. I am introduced to the children. I am whirled
around into the crowd, and when I turn back I can't quite
make out who is the niayor. There seems to be a roomful
of mayors. Eventually I am dug from behind. I turn.
I am whirled back by friendly or official assistance. Ah,
here is the mayor.
I stand bewildered, twirling my thumbs, quite at a loss
as to what is expected of me.
The mayor begins. I have been warned that it is going
to be very formal.
"Mr. Chaplin, on behalf of the citizens of Southampton — "
Nothing like I had anticipated. I am trying to think.
Trying to hear precisely what he says. I think I have
him so far. But it is nothing like I had anticipated. My
speech doesn't seem to fit what he is saying. I can't help
it. I will use it anyhow, at least as much as I can recall.
It is over. I mumble some inane appreciation. Nothing
like I had written, with nary a gesture so laboriously
There comes interruptions of excited mothers with their
"This is my little girl."
I am shaking hands mechanically with everybody. From
all sides autograph albums are being shoved under my
nose. Carl is warding them off, protecting me as much
I am aware that the mayor is still standing there. I am
trying to think of something more to say. All visions of
42 MY TRIP ABROAD
language seem to have left me. I find myself mumbling,
"This is nice of you" and "I am very glad to meet you all."
Somebody whispers in my ear, "Say something about
the English cinema." "Say a word of welcome to the
English." I try to and can't utter a word, but the same
excitement that had bothered me now comes forward to
The formal handshaking is on.
The mayor introduces his wife. After shaking hands
with her I decide that it is all a conspiracy to introduce
me to his whole family.
"This is my niece, my nephew, his wife, their children,
my father-in-law," and dozens of others. I could quite
understand why he was the mayor. They were all relatives.
He had the vote of the city tied up in his family tree.
The whole thing is bewildering and thrilling and I find
that I am pleased with it all.
But now strange faces seem to fade out and familiar ones
take their places. There is Tom Geraghty, who used to
be Doug Fairbanks's scenario writer. He wrote "When the
Clouds Roll By" and "The Mollycoddle." Tom is a great
friend of mine and we have spent many a pleasant hour in
Doug's home in Los Angeles. There is Donald Crisp, who
played Battling Burrows in "Broken Blossoms," a club-
mate in the Los Angeles Athletic Club. My cousin, Aubrey
Chaplin, a rather dignified gentleman, but with all the
earmarks of a Chaplin, greets me.
Heavens! I look something like him. I picture myself
in another five years. Aubrey has a saloon in quite a respec-
table part of London. I feel that Aubrey is a nice simple
soul and quite desirous of taking me in hand.
Then Abe Breman, manager of the United Artists' affairs
in England. And there is "Sonny," a friend in the days
when I was on the stage. I have not heard from him in
ten years. It makes me happy and interested, the thought
of reviving the old friendship.
We talk of all sorts of subjects. Sonny is prosperous
HELLO! ENGLAND 43
and doing well. He tells me everything in jerky asides, as
we are hustled about amidst the baggage and bundled into
a compartment that somebody has arranged.
Somehow the crowds here are not so large as I had antici-
pated. I am a little shocked. What if they don't turn up?
Everyone has tried to impress upon me the size of the recep-
tion I am to get. There is a tinge of disappointment, but
then I am informed that, the boat being a day late, the
crowd expected had no way of knowing when I would
This explanation relieves me tremendously, though it is
not so much for myself that I feel this, but for my com-
panions and my friends, who expect so much. I feel that
the whole thing should go off with a bang for their sake.
Yes, I do.
But I am in England. There is freshness. There is glow.
There is nature in its most benevolent mood. The trains,
those little toy trains with the funny little wheels like those
on a child's toy. There are strange noises. They come
from the engine — snorting, explosive sounds, as though it
was clamoring for attention.
I am in another world. Southampton, though I have
been there before, is absolutely strange to me. There is
nothing familiar. I feel as though I am in a foreign country.
Crowds, increasing with every minute. What lovely women,
different from American women. How, why, I cannot tell.
There is a beautiful girl peering at me, a lovely English
type. She comes to the carriage and in a beautiful, musical
voice says, "May I have your signature, Mr. Chaplin?"
This is thrilling. Aren't English girls charming? She is
just the type you see in pictures, something like Hall Caine's
Gloria in The Christian — beautiful auburn hair, about
Seventeen ! What an age ! I was that once — and here, in
England. It seems very long ago.
Tom Geraghty and the bunch, we are all so excited we
don't know just what to do or how to act. We cannot
44 MY TRIP ABROAD
collect ourselves. Bursting with pent-up questions of years
of gathering, overflowing with important messages for one
another, we are talking about the most commonplace
things. I find that I am not listening to them, nor they
to me. I am just taking it all in, eyes and ears.
An English "bobby." Everything is different. Taking
the tickets. The whole thing is upside down. The locking
us in our compartment. I look at the crowds. The same
old "prop" smile is working. They smile. They cheer.
I wave my hat. I feel silly, but it seems that they like it.
Will the train never start ? I want to see something outside
I want to see the country. They are all saying things. I
do not know what they all think of me, my friends. I wish
they were not here. I would love to be alone so that I could
get it all.
We are moving. I sit forward as though to make the train
go faster. I want a sight of Old England. I want more
than a sight.
Now I see the English country. New houses going up
everywhere. New types for laboring men. More new
houses. I have never seen Old England in such a frenzy of
building. The brush fields are rather burned up. This is
sc>mething new for England, for it is always so green. It
is not as green as it used to be. But it is England, and I am
loving every mile of it.
I discover that everything is Los Angeles in my compart-
ment, with the exception of my cousin and Sonny. Here I
am in the midst of Hollywood. I have traveled six thousand
miles to get away from Hollywood. Motion pictures are
universal. You can't run away from them. But I am not
bothering much, because I am cannily figuring on shaking
the whole lot of them after the usual dinner and getting off
And I am getting new thrills every minute. There are
people waiting all along the line, at small stations, waiting
for the train to pass. I know they are waiting to see me.
HELLO! ENGLAND 45
It's a wonderful sensation — everybody so affectionate. Gee !
I am wondering what's going to happen in London?
Aubrey and the bunch are talking about making a strong-
arm squad around me for protection. I intimately feel that
it is not going to be necessary. They say: "Ah, you don't
know, my boy. Wait until you get to London."
Secretly, I am hoping it is true. But I have my doubts.
Everybody is nice. They suggest that I should sleep awhile,
as I look tired. I feel that I am being pampered and spoiled.
But I like it. And they all seem to understand.
My cousin interests me. He warns me what to talk about.
At first I felt a little conscious in his presence. A little sen-
sitive. His personality — how it mixes with my American
friends. I sense that I am shocking him with my American
points of view.
He has not seen me in ten years. I know that I am altered.
I sort of want to pose before him a little. I want to shock
him; no, not exactly shock him, but surprise him. I find
myself deliberately posing and just for him. I want to be
different, and I want him to know that I am a different
person. This is having its effect.
Aubrey is bewildered. I am sure that he doesn't know
me. I feel that I am not acting according to his schedule.
It encourages me.
I become radical in my ideas. Against his conservatism.
But I am beginning not to like this performing for him.
One feels so conscious. I am wondering whether he will
understand. There are lots of other people I have got to
meet. I won't be able to devote all my time to him. I
shall have a long talk with Aubrey later and explain every-
thing. I doze off for a while.
But just for a moment. We are coming to the outskirts
of London. I hear nothing, I see nothing, but I know it is
so and I awake. Now I am all expectancy. We are entering
the suburbs of the city.
I ARRIVE IN LONDON
LONDON ! There are familiar buildings. This is thrilling.
The same buildings. They have not altered. I ex-
pected that England would be altered. It isn't. It's the
same. The same as I left it, in spite of the war. I see no
change, not even in the manner of the people.
There's Dalton's Potteries! And look, there's the Queen's
Head! Public house that my cousin used to own. I point
it out to him decidedly, but he reminds me that he has a
much better place now. Now we are coming into the cut.
Can it be true ? I can see two or three familiar stores. This
train is going too fast. I want more time with these dis-
coveries. I find my emotions almost too much for me. I
have more sentiment about the buildings than I have the
The recognition of these localities! There is a lump
rising in my throat from somewhere. It is something inex-
plicable. They are there, thank God !
If I could only be alone with it all. With it as it is, and
with it as I would people it with ghosts of yesterday. I
wish these people weren't in the compartment. I am afraid
of my emotions.
The dear old cut. We are getting into it now. Here we
are. There are all conceivable kinds of noises, whistles,
etc. Crowds, throngs lined up on the platforms. Here
comes a police sergeant looking for a culprit. He looks
straight at me. Good Lord! I am going to be arrested!
But no, he smiles.
I ARRIVE IN LONDON 47
A shout, "There he is!"
Previous to this we had made resolutions. ' ' Don't forget
we are all to lock arms, Knobloch, my cousin, Robinson,
Geraghty, and myself."
Immediately I get out of the train, however, we somehow
get disorganized and our campaign maneuver is lost. Police-
men take me by each arm. There are motion-picture men,
still-camera men. I see a sign announcing that motion
pictures of my trip on board ship will be shown that night
at a picture theater. That dogged photographer of the boat
must have gotten something in spite of me.
I am walking along quite the center of things. I feel like
royalty. I find I am smiling. A regular smile. I distinguish
distant faces among those who crowd about me. There are
voices at the end of the platform.
"Here he is. He is there, he is. That's him." My step
is lightning gay. I am enjoying each moment. I am in
Waterloo station, London.
The policemen are very excited. It is going to be a ter-
rible ordeal for them. Thousands are outside. This also
thrills me. Everything is beyond my expectations. I revel
in it secretly. They all stop to applaud as I come to the
gate. Some of them say :
"Well done, Charlie." I wonder if they mean my present
stunt between the bobbies. It is too much for me.
What have I done? I feel like a cricketer who has made
a hundred and is going to the stand. There is real warm
affection. Do I deserve even a part of it?
A young girl rushes out, breaks the line, makes one leap,
and smothers me with a kiss. Thank God, she is pretty.
There seem to be others ready to follow her, and I find my-
self hesitating a bit on my way. It is a signal. The barriers
They are coming on all sides. Policemen are elbowing
and pushing. Girls are shrieking.
"Charlie! Charlie! There he is! Good luck to you,
Charlie. God bless you." Old men, old women, girls, boys.
48 MY TRIP ABROAD
all in one excited thrill. My friends are missing. We are
fighting our way through the crowd. I do not mind it at all.
I am being carried on the crest of a wave. Everybody is
working but me. There seems to be no effort. I am enjoying
it — lovely.
Eventually we get through to the street. It is worse
here. "Hooray!" "Here he is!" "Good luck, Charlie!"
' ' Well done, Chariie ! " " God bless you. God love you ! "
"Good luck, Charlie!" Bells are ringing. Handkerchiefs
are waving. Some are raising their hats. I have lost mine.
I am bewildered, at a loss, wondering where it is all leading
to, but I don't care. I love to stay in it.
Suddenly there is a terrific crash. Various currents of
the crowd are battling against one another. I find that now
I am concerned about my friends. Where's Tom? Where's
So-and-so? Where's Carl? Where's my cousin? I'm asking
it all aloud, on all sides, of anyone who will listen to me.
I am answered with smiles.
I am being pushed toward an automobile.
"Where's my cousin?" Another push.
Policemen on all sides. I am pushed and lifted and
almost dumped into the limousine. My hat is thrown in
behind me. There are three policemen on each side of the
car, standing on the running board. I can't get out. They
are telling the chauffeur to drive on. He seems to be driving
right over the people. Occasionally a head, a smiling face,
a hand, a hat flashes by the door of the car. I ask and keep
asking, "Where's my cousin?"
But I regain myself, straighten my clothes, cool off a bit,
and look round. There is a perfect stranger in the limousine
with me. I seem to take him for granted for the moment.
He is also cut up and bleeding. Evidently he is somebody.
He must be on the schedule to do something. He looks
bewildered and confused.
I say, "Well — I have missed my cousin."
He says, ' ' I beg your pardon, I have not been introduced
I ARRIVE IN LONDON 49
"Do you know where we are going?" I ask.
He says, "No."
"Well, what are you doing — Who are you?" 1 splutter.
"No one in particular," he answers. "I have been pushed
in here against my will. I think it was the second time you
cried for your cousin. One of the cops picked me, but I
don't believe there is any relationship."
We laugh. That helps. We pull up and he is politely
let off at the corner. As quickly as possible he is shut out.
Crowds are around on both sides, raising their hats English
fashion, as though they were meeting a lady. The mounted
policemen leave us. I am left alone with my thoughts.
If I could only do something. Solve the unemployment
problem or make some grand gesture, in answer to all this.
I look through the window in the back of the car. There
are a string of taxis following behind. In the lead, seated
on top of the cab, is a young and pretty girl all dressed
in scarlet. She is waving to me as she chases. What a
picture she makes! I think what good fun it would be
to get on top of the cab with her and race around through
I feel like doing something big. What an opportunity
for a politician to say something and do something big!
I never felt such affection. We are going down York Road.
I see placards, "Charlie Arrives." Crowds standing on the
corner, all lined up along my way to the hotel. I am begin-
ning to wonder what it's all about.
Am feeling a bit reflective, after all; thinking over what
I have done, it has not been very much. Nothing to call
forth all this. "Shoulder Arms" was pretty good, perhaps,
but all this clamor over a moving-picture actor!
Now we are passing over Westminster Bridge. There are
double-decked street cars. There's one marked "Kenn-
I want to get out and get on it — I want to go to Kenn-
ington. The bridge is so small; I always thought it was
much wider. We are held up by traffic. The driver tells
50 MY TRIP ABROAD
the bobby that CharHe ChapHn is inside. There is a change
in the expression of the cop.
"On your way."
By this time the policemen have dropped off the side of
the car and are on their way back. Once more I am a private
citizen. I am just a bit sad at this. Being a celebrity has
its nice points.
There is an auto with a motion-picture camera on top of
it photographing our car. I tell the driver to put down the
top. Why didn't we do this before? I wanted to let the
people see. It seemed a shame to hide in this way. I wanted
to be seen. There are little crowds on the street corners
Ah yes, and Big Ben. It looks so small now. It was so
big before I went away. We are turning up the Haymarket.
People are looking and waving from their windows. I wave
back. Crowded streets. We are nearing the Ritz, where I
am to stop.
The crowds are much denser here. I am at a loss. I don't
know what to do, what to say. I stand up. I wave and
bow at them, smile at them, and go through the motions of
shaking hands, using my own hands. Should I say some-
thing? Can I say anything? I feel the genuineness of it
all, a real warmth. It is very touching. This is almost
too much for me. I am afraid I am going to make a
I stand up. The crowd comes to a hush. It is attentive.
They see I am about to say something. I am surprised at
my own voice. I can hear it. It is quite clear and distinct,
saying something about its being a great moment, etc. But
tame and stupid as it is, they like it.
There is a " Hooray ! " " Good boy, Charlie ! "
Now the problem is how am I going to get out of this?
The police are there, pushing and shoving people aside to
make way, but they are outnumbered. There are motion-
picture cameras, cameras on the steps. The crowds close
in. Then I step out. They close in. I am still smiling.
L ilLJBi'/'TA r^^^HI
H^KU^^ill^K'-lv^ ' i-irt f''^
1 ARRIVE IN LONDON 51
I try to think of something useful, learned from my experi-
ence at the New York opening of "The Three Musketeers."
But I am not much help to my comrades.
Then as we approach, the tide comes in toward the gates
of the hotel. They have been kept locked to prevent the
crowd from demolishing the building. I can see one intrepid
motion-picture-camera fan at the door as the crowd starts
to swarm. He begins to edge in, and starts grinding his
camera frantically as he is lifted into the whirlpool of human-
ity. But he keeps turning, and his camera and himself are
gradually turned up to the sky, and his lens is registering
nothing but clouds as he goes down turning — the most hon-
orable fall a camera man can have, to go down grinding. I
wonder if he really got any pictures.
In some way my body has been pushed, carried, lifted, and
projected into the hotel. I can assure you that through no
action of mine was this accomplished. I am immediately
introduced to some English nobleman. The air is electric.
I feel now I am free. Everybody is smiling. Everybody is
interested. I am shown to a suite of rooms.
I like the hotel lobby. It is grand. I am raced to my room.
There are bouquets of flowers from two or three English
friends whom I had forgotten. There come cards. I want to
welcome them all. Do not mind in the least. Am out for
the whole day of it. The crowds are outside. The manager
presents himself. Everything has been spread to make my
stay as happy as possible.
The crowd outside is cheering. What is the thing to do?
I had better go to the window. I raise my hands again. I
pantomime, shake hands with myself, throw them kisses.
I see a bouquet of roses in the room. I grab it and start
tossing the flowers into the crowd. There is a mad scramble
for the souvenirs. In a moment the chief of police bursts
into my room.
"Please, Mr. Chaplin, it is very fine, but don't throw any-
thing. You will cause an accident. They will be crushed
and killed. Anything but that, don't throw anything. If
52 MY TRIP ABROAD
you don't mind, kindly refrain from throwing anything."
Excitedly he repeats his message over and over again.
Of course I don't mind; the flowers are all gone, anyway.
But I am theatrically concerned. "Ah, really I am so sorry.
Has anything happened?" I feel that everything is all
The rest of my friends arrive all bruised and cut up.
Now that the excitement has died down, what are we going
to do ? For no reason at all we order a meal. Nobody is
hungry. I want to get out again. Wish I could.
I feel that everybody ought to leave immediately. I want
to be alone. I want to get out and escape from all crowds.
I want to get over London, over to Kennington, all by my-
self. I want to see some familiar sights. Here baskets of
fruit keep pouring in, fresh bouquets, presents, trays full of
cards, some of them titles, some well-known names — all
paying their respects. Now I am muddled. I don't know
what to do first. There is too much waiting. I have too
much of a choice.
But I must get over to Kennington, and to-day. I am
nervous, overstrung, tense. Crowds are still outside. I
must go again and bow and wave my hands. I am used to
it, am doing it mechanically; it has no effect. Lunch is
ordered for everybody. Newspaper men are outside, visitors
are outside. I tell Carl to get them to put it off until
to-morrow. He tells them that I aim tired, need a rest,
for them to call to-morrow and they will be given an
The bishop of something presents his compliments. He
is in the room when I arrive. I can't hear what he is saying.
I say yes, I shall be delighted. We sit down to lunch. What
a crowd there is eating with me! I am not quite sure I
know them all.
Everyone is making plans for me. This irritates me. My
cousin, Tom Geraghty, Knobloch — would I spend two or
three days in the country and get a rest ? No. I don't want
to rest. Will you see somebody? I don't want to see any-
I ARRIVE IN LONDON 53
body. I want to be left entirely alone. I've just got to
have my whim.
I make a pretense at lunch. I whisper to Carl, "You ex-
plain everything to them — tell them that I am going out
immediately after lunch." I am merely taking the lunch to
I look out the window. The crowds are still there. What
a problem ! How am I going to get out without being recog-
nized? Shall I openly suggest going out, so I can get away?
I hate disappointing them. But I must go out.
Tom Geraghty, Donald Crisp, and myself suggest taking
a walk. I do not tell them my plans, merely suggest taking
the walk. We go through the back way and escape. I am
sure that everything is all right, and that no one will recog-
nize me. I cannot stand the strain any longer. I tell Don-
ald and Tom — they really must leave me alone. I want to
be alone and want to visit alone. They understand. Tom
is a good sort and so is Donald. I do not want to ride, but
just for a quicker means of getting away I call a taxicab.
I tell him to drive to Lambeth. He is a good driver, and
an old one. He has not recognized me, thank heaven!
But he is going too fast. I tell him to drive slower, to
take his time. I sit back now. I am passing Westminster
Bridge again. I see it better. Things are more familiar.
On the other side is the new London County Council Build-
ing. They have been building it for years. They started
it before I left.
The Westminster Road has become very dilapidated, but
perhaps it is because I am riding in an automobile. I used
to travel across it another way. It doesn't seem so long ago,
My God! Look! Under the bridge! There's the old
blind man. I stop the driver and drive back. We pull up
outside the Canterbury.
"You wait there, or do you want me to pay you off?"
He will wait. I walk back.
There he is, the same old figure, the same olci blind man
54 MY TRIP ABROAD
I used to see as a child of five, with the same old earmuffs,
with his back against the wall and the same stream of
greasy water trickling down the stone behind his back.
The same old clothes, a bit greener with age, and the
irregular bush of whiskers colored almost in a rainbow
array, but with a dirty gray predominant.
What a symbol from which to count the years that I
had been away. A little more green to his clothes. A bit
more gray in his matted beard.
He has that same stark look in his eyes that used to make
me sick as a child. Everything exactly the same, only a bit
No. There is a change. The dirty little mat for the
unhealthy-looking pup with the watering eyes that used to
be with him — that is gone. I would like to hear the story
of the missing pup.
Did its passing make much difference to the lonely derelict ?
Was its ending a tragic one, dramatic, or had it just passed
The old man is laboriously reading the same chapter from
his old, greasy, and bethumbed embossed bible. His lips
move, but silently, as his fingers travel over the letters. I
wonder if he gets comfort there ? Or does he need comfort ?
To me it is all too horrible. He is the personification of
poverty at its worst, sunk in that inertia that comes of lost
hope. It is too terrible.
THE HAUNTS OF MY CHILDHOOD
r JUMP into the automobile again and we drive along
■■• past Christ Church. There's Baxter Hall, where we used
to see magic-lantern slides for a penny. The forerunner of
the movie of to-day. I see significance in everything around
me. You could get a cup of coffee and a piece of cake there
and see the crucifixion of Christ all at the same time.
We are passing the police station. A drear place to youth.
Kennington Road is more intimate. It has grown beautiful
in its decay. There is something fascinating about it.
Sleepy people seem to be living in the streets more than
they used to when I played there. Kennington Baths, the
reason for many a day's hookey. You could go swimming
there, second class, for threepence (if you brought your own
Through Brook Street to the upper Bohemian quarter,
where third-rate music-hall artists appear. All the same, a
little more decayed, perhaps. And yet it is not just the
I am seeing it through other eyes. Age trying to look
back through the eyes of youth. A common pursuit, though
a futile one.
It is bringing home to me that I am a different person.
It takes the form of art; it is beautiful. I am very imper-
sonal about it. It is another world, and yet in it I recognize
something, as though in a dream.
We pass the Kennington "pub," Kennington Cross,
56 MY TRIP ABROAD
Chester Street, where I used to sleep. The same, but, Hke
its brother landmarks, a bit more dilapidated. There is the
old tub outside the stables where I used to wash. The same
old tub, a little more twisted.
I tell the driver to pull up again. "Wait a moment." I
do not know why, but I want to get out and walk. An
automobile has no place in this setting. I have no particu-
lar place to go. I just walk along down Chester Street.
Children are playing, lovely children. I see myself among
them back there in the past. I wonder if any of them will
come back some day and look around enviously at other
Somehow they seem different from those children with
whom I used to play. Sweeter, more dainty were these
little, begrimed kids with their arms entwined around one
another's waists. Others, little girls mostly, sitting on the
doorsteps, with dolls, with sewing, all playing at that uni-
versal game of "mothers."
For some reason I feel choking up. As I pass they look
up. Frankly and without embarrassment they look at the
stranger with their beautiful, kindly eyes. They smile at
me. I smile back. Oh, if I could only do something for
them. These waifs with scarcely any chance at all.
Now a woman passes with a can of beer. With a white
skirt hanging down, trailing at the back. She treads on it.
There, she has done it again. I want to shriek with laughter
at the joy of being in this same old familiar Kennington.
I love it. •
It is all so soft, so musical; there is so much affection in
the voices. They seem to talk from their souls. There are
the inflections that carry meanings, even if words were not
understood. I think of Americans and myself. Our speech
is hard, monotonous, except where excitement makes it
There is a barber shop where I used to be the lather boy.
I wonder if the same old barber is still there? I look. No,
he is gone. I see two or three kiddies playing on the porch.
THE HAUNTS OF MY CHILDHOOD 57
Foolishly, I give them something. It creates attention. I
am about to be discovered.
I leap into the taxi again and ride on. We drive around
until I have escaped from the neighborhood where suspicion
has been planted and come to the beginning of Lambeth
Walk. I get out and walk along among the crowds.
People are shopping. How lovely the cockneys are ! How
romantic the figures, how sad, how fascinating! Their
lovely eyes. How patient they are! Nothing conscious
about them. No affectation, just themselves, their beauti-
fully gay selves, serene in their limitations, perfect in their
I am the wrong note in this picture that nature has con-
centrated here. My clothes are a bit conspicuous in this
setting, no matter how unobtrusive my thoughts and actions.
Dressed as I am, one never strolls along Lambeth Walk.
I- feel the attention I am attracting. I put my handker-
chief to my face. People are looking at me, at first slyly,
then insistently. Who am I? For a moment I am caught
A girl comes up — thin, narrow-chested, but with an eager-
ness in her eyes that lifts her above any physical defects.
"Charlie, don't you know me?"
Of course I know her. She is all excited, out of breath.
I can almost feel her heart thumping with emotion as her
narrow chest heaves with her hurried breathing. Her face
is ghastly white, a girl about twenty-eight. She has a little
girl with her.
This girl was a little servant girl who used to wait on us
at the cheap lodging house where I lived. I remembered
that she had left in disgrace. There was tragedy in it. But
I could detect a certain savage gloriousness in her. She was
carrying on with all odds against her. Hers is the supreme
battle of our age. May she and all others of her kind meet a
With pent-up feelings we talk about the most common-
SS MY TRIP ABROAt)
"Well, how are you, Charlie?"
"Fine." I point to the little girl. "Is she your little
She says, "Yes."
That's all, but there doesn't seem to be much need of con-
versation. We just look and smile at each other and we both
weave the other's story hurriedly through our own minds
by way of the heart. Perhaps in our weaving we miss a
detail or two, but substantially we are right. There is
warmth in the renewed acquaintance. I feel that in this
moment I know her better than I ever did in the many
months I used to see her in the old days. And right now I
feel that she is worth knowing.
There's a crowd gathering. It's come. I am discovered,
with no chance for escape. I give the girl some money to
buy something for the child, and hurry on my way. She
understands and smiles. Crowds are following. I am dis-
covered in Lambeth Walk.
But they are so charming about it. I walk along and they
keep behind at an almost standard distance. I can feel
rather than hear their shuffling footsteps as they follow
along, getting no closer, losing no ground. It reminds me
of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."
All these people just about five yards away, all timid,
thrilled, excited at hearing my name, but not having the
courage to shout it under this spell.
"There he is." "That's 'im." All in whispers hoarse
with excitement and carrying for great distance, but at the
same time repressed by the effort of whispering. What man-
ners these cockneys have! The crowds accumulate. I
am getting very much concerned. Sooner or later they are
going to come up, and I am alone, defenseless. What folly
this going out alone, and along Lambeth Walk!
Eventually I see a bobby, a sergeant — or, rather, I think
him one, he looks so immaculate in his uniform. I go to
him for protection.
"Do you mind?" I say. "I find I have been discovered.
THE HAUNTS OF MY CHILDHOOD 59
I am Charlie Chaplin. Would you mind seeing me to a
"That's all right, Charlie. These people won't hurt you.
They are the best people in the world. I have been with them
for fifteen years." He speaks with a conviction that makes
me feel silly and deservedly rebuked.
I say, "I know it; they are perfectly charming."
"That's just it," he answers. "They are charming and
They had hesitated to break in upon my solitude, but
now, sensing that I have protection, they speak out.
"Hello, Charlie!" "God bless you, Charlie!" "Good
luck to you, lad!" As each flings his or her greetings they
smile and self-consciously back away into the group, bring-
ing others to the fore for their greeting. All of them have a
word — old women, men, children. I am almost overcome
with the sincerity of their welcome.
We are moving along and come to a street comer and into
Kennington Road again. The crowds continue following as
though I were their leader, with nobody daring to approach
within a certain radius. The little cockney children circle
around me to get a view from all sides.
I see myself among them. I, too, had followed celebrities
in my time in Kennington. I, too, had pushed, edged, and
fought my way to the front rank of crowds, led by curiosity.
They are in rags, the same rags, only more ragged.
They are looking into my face and smiling, showing their
blackened teeth. Good God! English children's teeth are
terrible! Something can and should be done about it. But
Soulful eyes with such a wonderful expression. I see a
young girl glance slyly at her beau. What a beautiful look
she gives him! I find myself wondering if he is worthy, if
he realizes the treasure that is his. What a lovely people!
We are waiting. The policeman is busy hailing a taxi.
I just stand there self-conscious. Nobody asks any ques-
tions. They are content to look. Their steadfast watching
6o MY TRIP ABROAD
is so impressing. I feel small — like a cheat. This worship
does not belong to me. God, if I could only do something
for all of them !
But there are too many — too many. Good impulses so
often die before this "too many."
I am in the taxi.
"Good-by, Charlie! God bless you!" I am on my way.
The taxi is going up Kennington Road along Kennington
Park. Kennington Park. How depressing Kennington
Park is! How depressing to me are all parks! The loneli-
ness of them. One never goes to a park unless one is lone-
some. And lonesomeness is sad. The symbol of sadness,
that's a park.
But I am fascinated now with it. I am lonesome and want
to be. I want to commune with myself and the years that
are gone. The years that were passed in the shadow of this
same Kennington Park. T want to sit on its benches again
in spite of their treacherous bleakness, in spite of the
But I am in a taxi. And taxis move fast. The park is
out of sight. Its alluring spell is dismissed with its passing.
I did not sit on the bench. We are driving toward Kenning-
Kennington Gate. That has its memories. Sad, sweet,
rapidly recurring memories.
'Twas here, my first appointment with Hetty (Sonny's
sister). How I was dolled up in niy little, tight-fitting frock
coat, hat, and cane! I was quite the dude as I watched
every street car until four o'clock, waiting for Hetty to step
off, smiling as she saw me waiting.
I get out and stand there for a few moments at Kenning-
ton Gate. My taxi driver thinks I am mad. But I am for-
getting taxi drivers. I am seeing a lad of nineteen, dressed
to the pink, with fluttering heart, waiting, waiting for the
moment of the day when he and happiness walked along
the road. The road is so alluring now. It beckons for
another walk, and as I hear a street car approaching I turn
THE HAUNTS OF MY CHILDHOOD 6i
eagerly, for the moment almost expecting to see the same
trim Hetty step off, smiling.
The car stops. A couple of men get off. An old woman.
Some children. But no Hetty.
Hetty is gone. So is the lad with the frock coat and cane.
Back into the cab, we drive up Brixton Road. We pass
Glenshore Mansions — a more prosperous neighborhood.
Glenshore Mansions, which meant a step upward to me,
where I had my Turkish carpets and my red lights in the
beginning of my prosperity.
We pull up at the Horns for a drink. The same Horns.
Used to adjoin the saloon bar. It has changed. Its arrange-
ment is different. I do not recognize the keeper. I feel very
much the foreigner now; do not know what to order. I am
out of place. There's a barmaid.
How strange, this lady with the coiffured hair and neat
"What can I do for you, sir?"
I am swept off my feet. Impressed. I want to feel very
much the foreigner. I find myself acting.
"What have you got?"
She looks surprised.
' ' Ah, give me ginger beer. ' ' I find myself becoming a little
bit affected. I refuse to understand the money — the shill-
ings and the pence. It is thoroughly explained to me as
each piece is counted before me. I go over each one sepa-
rately and then leave it all on the table.
There are two women seated at a near-by table. One is
whispering to the other. I am recognized.
"That's 'im; I tell you 'tis."
"Ah, get out! And wot would 'e be a-doin' 'ere?"
I pretend not to hear, not to notice. But it is too ominous.
Suddenly a white funk comes over me and I rush out and
into the taxi again. It's closing time for a part of the after-
noon. Something different. I am surprised. It makes me
think it is Sunday. Then I learn that it is a new rule in
effect since the war.
62 MY TRIP ABROAD
I am driving down Kennington Road again. Passing
It was here that I first discovered music, or where I first
learned its rare beauty, a beauty that has gladdened and
haunted me from that moment. It all happened one night
while I was there, about midnight. I recall the whole thing
I was just a boy, and its beauty was like some sweet mys-
tery. I did not understand. I only knew I loved it and
I became reverent as the sounds carried themselves through
my brain via my heart.
I suddenly became aware of a harmonica and a clarinet
playing a weird, harmonious message. I learned later that
it was "The Honeysuckle and the Bee." It was played
with such feeling that I became conscious for the first time
of what melody really was. My first awakening to music.
I remembered how thrilled I was as the sweet sounds
pealed into the night. I learned the words the next day.
How I would love to hear it now, that same tune, that same
Conscious of it, yet defiant, I find myself singing the re-
frain softly to myself:
"You are the honey, honeysuckle. I am the bee;
I'd like to sip the honey, dear, from those red lips. You see »
I love you dearie, dearie, and I want you to love me —
You are my honey, honeysuckle. I am your bee."
Kennington Cross, where music first entered my soul.
Trivial, perhaps, but it was the first time.
There are a few stragglers left as I pass on my way along
Manchester Bridge at the Prince Road. They are still
watching me. I feel that Kennington Road is alive to the
fact that I am in it. I am hoping that they are feeling that I
have come back, not that I am a stranger in the public eye.
I am on my way back. Crossing Westminster Bridge. I
enter a new land. I go back to the Hay market, back to the
Ritz to dress for dinner.
I LOVE DOGS
A JOKE AND STILL ON THE GO
IN the evening I dined at the Ritz with Ed Knobloch, Miss
Forrest, and several other friends. The party was a very
congenial one and the dinner excellent. It did much to
lift me from the depression into which the afternoon in
Kennington had put me.
Following dinner we said "Good night" to Miss Forrest,
and the rest of us went around to Ed Knobloch's apartment
in the Albany. The Albany is the most interesting building
I have yet visited in London.
In a sort of dignified grandeui^ it stands swathed in an
atmosphere of tradition. It breathes the past, and such a
past! It has housed men like Shelley and Edmund Burke
and others whose fame is linked closely with the march of
Naturally, the building is very old. Ed's apartment com-
mands a wonderful view of London. It is beautifully and
artistically furnished, its high ceilings, its tapestries, and its
old Victorian windows giving it a quaintness rather startling
in this modern age.
We had a bit of supper, and about eleven-thirty it began
to rain, and later there was a considerable thunderstorm.
Conversation, languishing on general topics, turns to me,
the what and wherefore of my coming and going, my impres-
sions, plans, etc. I tell them as best I can.
Knobloch is anxious to get my views on England, on the
impression that London has made. We discuss the matter
64 MY TRIP ABROAD
and make comparisons. I feel that England has acquired a
sadness, something that is tragic and at the same time
We discuss my arrival. How wonderful it was. The
crowds, the reception. Knobloch thinks that it is the apex
of my career. I am inclined to agree with him.
Whereupon Tom Geraghty comes forward with a startling
thought. Tom suggests that I die immediately. He insists
that this is the only fitting thing to do, that to live after
such a reception and ovation would be an anticlimax. The
artistic thing to do would be to finish off my career with a
Tom had been drinking, thank heaven. But, neverthe-
less, everyone is shocked at his suggestion. But I agree
with Tom that it would be a great climax. We are all
becoming very sentimental; we insist to one another that
we must not think such thoughts, and the like.
The lightning is flashing fitfully outside. Knobloch, with
an inspiration, gathers all of us, except Tom Geraghty, into
a corner and suggests that on the next flash of lightning, just
for a joke, I pretend to be struck dead, to see what effect it
would have on Tom.
We make elaborate plans rapidly. Each is assigned to his
part in the impromptu tragedy. We feed Tom another
drink and start to talking about death and kindred things.
Then we all comment how the wind is shaking this old build-
ing, how its windows rattle and the weird effect that light-
ning has on its old tapestries and lonely candlesticks. Sur-
reptitiously, some one has turned out all but one light, but
old Tom does not suspect.
The atmosphere is perfect for our hoax and several of us
who are "in the know" feel sort of creepy as we wait for
the next flash. I prime myself for the bit of acting.
The flash comes, and with it I let forth a horrible shriek,
then stand up, stiffen, and fall flat on my face. I think I
did it rather well, and I am not sure but that others besides
Tom were frightened.
A JOKE AND STILL ON THE GO 65
Tom drops his whisky glass and exclaims: "My God! It's
happened!" and his voice is sober. But no one pays any
attention to him.
They all rush to me and I am carried feet first into the
bedroom, and the door closed on poor old Tom, who is try-
ing to follow me in. Tom just paces the floor, waiting for
some one to come from the bedroom and tell him what has
happened. He knocks on the door several times, but no
one will let him in.
Finally, Carl Robinson comes out of the room, looking
seriously intent, and Tom rushes to him,
"For God's sake, Carl, what's wrong?"
Carl brushes him aside and makes for the telephone.
"Is he — dead?" Tom puts the question huskily and
Carl pays no attention except: "Please don't bother me
now, Tom. This is too serious." Then he calls on the
telephone for the coroner. This has such an effect on
Geraghty that Knobloch comes forth from the bedroom
to pacify him.
"I am sure it will be all right," Knobloch says to Tom, at
the same time looking as though he were trying to keep
something secret. Everything is staged perfectly and poor
old Tom just stands and looks bewildered, and every few
moments tries to break into the bedroom, but is told to stay
out, that he is in no condition to be mixing up in anything
The chief of police is called, doctors are urged to rush
there in all haste with pulmotors, and with each call Tom's
suffering increases. We keep up the joke until it has reached
the point of artistry, and then I ente;r from the bedroom in
a flowing sheet for a gown and a pillow slip on each arm to
represent wings, and I proceed to be an angel for a moment.
But the effect has been too great on Tom, and even the
travesty at the finish does not get a laugh from him. But
he is the soberest one in the party by this time.
We laughed and talked about the stunt for a while and
66 MY TRIP ABROAD
Tom was asked what he would have done if it had been true
and I had been hit by the Hghtning.
Tom made me feel very cheap and sorry that I had played
the trick on him when he said that he would have jumped
out of the window himself, as he would have no desire to
live if I were dead.
But we soon got away from serious things and ended the
party merrily and went home about five in the morning.
Which meant that we would sleep very late that day.
Three o'clock in the afternoon found me awakened by
the news that there was a delegation of reporters waiting to
see me. They were all ushered in and the whole thirty -five
of them started firing questions at me in a bunch. And I
answered them all, for by this time I was quite proficient
with reporters, and as they all asked the same questions
that I had answered before it was not hard.
In fact, we all had luncheon or tea together, though for
me it was breakfast, and I enjoyed them immensely. They
are real, sincere, and intelligent, and not hero worshipers.
Along about five o'clock Ed Knobloch came in with the
suggestion that we go out for a ride together and call around
to see Bernard Shaw. This did sound like a real treat.
Knobloch knows Shaw very well and he felt sure that Shaw
and I would like each other.
First, though, I propose that we take a ride about London,
and Ed leads the way to some very interesting spots, the
spots that the tourist rarely sees as he races his way through
the buildings listed in guide books.
He takes me to the back of the Strand Theater, where
there are beautiful gardens and courts suggesting palaces
and armor and the days when knights were bold. These
houses were the homes of private people during the reign of
King Charles and even farther back. They abound in secret
passages and tunnels leading up to the royal palace. There
is an air about them that is aped and copied, but it is not
hard to distinguish the real from the imitation. History is
written on every stone; not the history of the battlefield
A JOKE AND STILL ON THE GO 67
that is laid bare for the historians, but that more intimate
history, that of the drawing-room, where, after all, the real
ashes of empires are sifted.
Now we are in Adelphia Terrace, where Bernard Shaw and
Sir James Barrie live. What a lovely place the terrace is!
And its arches underneath leading to the river. And at this
hour, six-thirty, there comes the first fall of evening and
London with its soft light is at its best.
I can quite understand why Whistler was so crazy about
it. Its lighting is perfect — so beautiful and soft. Perhaps
there are those who complain that it is poorly lighted and
who would install many modem torches of electricity to
remedy the defect, but give me London as it is. Do not
paint the lily.
We make for Shaw's house, which overlooks the Thames
Embankment. As we approach I feel that this is a momen-
tous occasion. I am to meet Shaw. We reach the house.
I notice on the door a little brass name plate with the in-
scription, "Bernard Shaw." I wonder if there is anything
significant about Shaw's name being engraved in brass.
The thought pleases me. But we are here, and Knobloch is
about to lift the knocker.
And then I seem to remember reading somewhere about
dozens of movie actors going abroad, and how "they invari-
ably visited Shaw. Good Lord ! the man must be weary of
them. And why should he be singled out and imposed upon ?
And I do not desire to ape others. And I want to be indi-
vidual and different. And I want Bernard Shaw to like me.
And I don't want to force myself upon hin;.
And all this is occurring very rapidly, and I am getting
fussed, and we are almost before him, and I say to Knob-
loch, "No, I don't want to meet him."
Ed is annoyed and surprised and thinks I am crazy and
everything. He asks why, and I suddenly become embar-
rassed and shy. "Some other time," I beg. "We won't
call to-day." I don't know why, but suddenly I feel self-
conscious and silly —
68 MY TRIP ABROAD
Would I care to see Barrie? He lives just across the
"No, I don't want to see any of them to-day." I am too
tired. I find that it would be too much effort.
So I go home, after drinking in all the beauties of the
evening, the twilight, and the loveliness of Adelphia Ter-
race. This requires no effort. I can just drift along on my
own, let thoughts come and go as they will, and never have
to think about being polite and wondering if I am holding
my own in intelligent discussion that is sure to arise when
one meets great minds. I wasted the evening just then.
Some other time, I know, I am going to want Shaw and
I drift along with the sight and am carried back a hun-
dred years, two hundred, a thousand. I seem to see the
ghosts of King Charles and others of old England with the
tombstones epitaphed in Old English and dating back even
to the eleventh century.
It is all fragrant and too fleeting. We must get back to
the hotel to dress for dinner.
Then Knobloch, Sonny, Geraghty, and a few others dine
with me at the Embassy Club, but Knobloch, who is tired,
leaves after dinner. Along about ten o'clock Sonny, Ger-
aghty, Donald Crist, Carl Robinson, and myself decide to
take a ride. We make toward Lambeth, I want to show
them Lambeth. I feel as if it is mine — a choice discovery
and possession that I wish to display.
I recall an old photographer's shop in the Westminster
Bridge Road just before you come to the bridge. I want
to see it again. We get out there. I remember having seen
a picture framed in that window when I was a boy — a pic-
ture of Dan Leno, who was an idol of mine in those days.
The picture was still there, so is the photographer — the
name "Sharp" is still on the shop. I tell my friends that
I had my picture taken here about fifteen years ago, and
we went inside to see if we could get one of the photos.
"My name is Chaplin," I told the person behind the
A JOKE AND STILL ON THE GO 69
counter. "You photographed me fifteen years ago. I want
to buy some copies,"
"Oh, we've destroyed the negative long ago" ; the person
behind the counter thus dismisses me.
"Have you destroyed Mr. Leno's negative?" I ask him.
"No," was the reply, "but Mr. Leno is a famous come-
Such is fame. Here I had been patting myself on the back,
thinking I was some pumpkins as a comedian, and my nega-
tive destroyed. However, there is balm in Gilead. I tell
him I am Charlie Chaplin and he wants to turn the place
upside down to get some new pictures of me; but we haven't
the time, and, besides, I want to get out, because I am hear-
ing suppressed snickers from my friends, before whom I
was going to show off.
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON
SO we wandered along through South London by Kenn-
ington Cross and Kennington Gate, Newington Butts,
Lambeth Walk, and the Clapham Road, and all through the
neighborhood. Almost every step brought back memories,
most of them of a tender sort. I was right here in the
midst of my youth, but somehow I seemed apart from it.
I felt as though I was viewing it under a glass. It could be
seen all too plainly, but when I reached to touch it it was
not thei;e — only the glass could be felt, this glass that had
been glazed by the years since I left.
If I could only get through the glass and touch the real
live thing that had called me back to London. But I
A man cannot go back. He thinks he can, but other things
have happened to his life. He has new ideas, new friends,
new attachments. He doesn't belong to his past, except
that the past has, perhaps, made marks on him.
My friends and I continue our stroll — a stroll so pregnant
with interest to me at times that I forget that I have com-
pany and wander along alone.
Who is that old derelict there against the cart? Another
landmark. I look at him closely. He is the same — only
more so. Well do I remember him, the old tomato man.
I was about twelve when I first saw him, and he is still here
in the same old spot, plying the same old trade, while I —
I can picture him as he first appeared to me standing
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON 71
beside his round cart heaped with tomatoes, his greasy
clothes shiny in their unkemptness, the rather glassy single
eye that had looked from one side of his face staring at
nothing in particular, but giving you the feeling that it was
seeing all, the bottled nose with the network of veins spell-
I remember how I used to stand around and wait for him
to shout his wares. His method never varied. There was a
sudden twitching convulsion, and he leaned to one side,
trying to straighten out the other as he did so, and then,
taking into his one good lung all the air it would stand, he
would let forth a clattering, gargling, asthmatic, high-
pitched wheeze, a series of sounds which defied interpreta-
tion. Somewhere in the explosion there could be detected
"ripe tomatoes." Any other part of his message was lost.
And he was still here. Through summer suns and winter
snows he had stood and was standing. Only a bit more
decrepit, a bit older, more dyspeptic, his clothes greasier,
his shoulder rounder, his one eye rather filmy and not so
all-seeing as it once was. And I waited. But he did not
shout his wares any more. Even the good lung was failing.
He just stood there inert in his aging. And somehow the
tomatoes did not look so good as they once were.
We get into a cab and drive back toward Brixton to the
Elephant and Castle, where we pull up at a coffee store. The
same old London coffee store, with its bad coffee and tea.
There are a few pink-cheeked roues around and a couple
of old derelicts. Then there are a lot of painted ladies,
many of them with young men and the rest of them looking
for young men. Some of the young fellows are minus arms
and many of them carry various ribbons of military honor.
They are living and eloquent evidence of the war and its
effects. There are a number of stragglers. The whole scene
to me is depressing. What a sad London this is! People
with tired, worn faces after four years of war !
Some one suggests that we go up and see George Fitz-
maurice, who lives in Park Lane. There we can get a drink
72 MY TRIP ABROAD
and then go to bed. We jump in a cab and are soon there.
What a difference! Park Lane is another world after the
Elephant and Castle. Here are the homes of the million-
aires and the prosperous.
Fitzmaurice is quite a successful moving-picture director.
We find a lot of friends at his house, and over whiskies-and-
sodas we discuss our trip. Our trip through Kennington
suggests Limehouse and conversation turns toward that dis-
trict and Thomas Burke.
I get their impressions of Limehouse. It is not as tough
as it has been pictured. I rather lost my temper through
One of those in the party, an actor, spoke very sneeringly
of that romantic district and its people.
"Talk about Limehouse nights. I thought they were
tough down there. Why, they are like a lot of larks!" said
this big-muscled leading man.
And then he tells of a visit to the Limehouse district — a
visit made solely for the purpose of finding trouble. How
he had read of the tough characters there and how he had
decided to go down to find out how tough they were.
"I went right down there into their joints," he said, "and
told them that I was looking for somebody that was tough,
the tougher the better, and I went up to a big mandarin
wearing a feather and said: 'Give me the toughest you've
got. You fellows are supposed to be tough down here, so
let's see how tough you are.' And I couldn't get a rise out
of any of them," he concluded.
This was enough for me. It annoyed.
I told him that it was very fine for well-fed, overpaid
actors flaunting toughness at these deprived people, who are
gentle and nice and, if ever tough, only so because of en-
vironment. I asked him just how tough he would be if he
were living the life that some of these unfortunate families
must live. How easy for him, with five meals a day beneath
that thrust-out chest with his muscles trained and perfect,
trying to start something with these people. Of course they
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON 73
were not tough, but when it comes to four years of war,
when it comes to losing an arm or a leg, then they are tough.
But they are not going around looking for fights unless there
is a reason.
It rather broke up the party, but I was feeling so dis-
gusted that I did not care.
We meander along, walking from Park Lane to the Ritz.
On our way we are stopped by two or three young girls.
They are stamped plainly and there is no subtlety about
their "Hello boys! You are not going home so early?"
They salute us. We wait a moment. They pause and then
wave their hands to us and we beckon them.
"How is it you are up so late?" They are plainly em-
barrassed at this question. Perhaps it has been a long time
since they were given the benefit of the doubt. They are
not just sure what to say. We are different. Their usual
method of attack or caress does not seem in order, so they
Here is life in its elemental rawness. I feel very kindly
disposed toward them, particularly after my bout with the
well-fed actor who got his entertainment from the frailties
of others. But it is rather hard for us to mix. There is a
rather awkward silence.
Then one of the girls asks if we have a cigarette. Robin-
son gives them a package, which they share between the
three of them. This breaks the ice. They feel easier. The
meeting is beginning to run along the parliamentary rules
that they know.
Do we know where they can get a drink ?
"No." This is a temporary setback, but they ask if we
mind their walking along a bit with us. We don't and we
walk along toward the Ritz. They are giggling, and before
long I am recognized. They are embarrassed.
They look down at their shabby little feet where ill-fitting
shoes run over at the heels. Their cheap little cotton suits
class them even low in their profession, though their youth
is a big factor toward their potential rise when they have
74 MY TRIP ABROAD
become hardened and their mental faculties have become
sharpened in their eternal battles with men. Then men will
come to them.
Knowing my identity, they are on their good behavior.
No longer are we prospects. We are true adventure for
them this night. Their intimacy has left them and in its
place there appears a reserve which is attractive even in its
The conversation becomes somewhat formal. And we
are nearing the hotel, where we must leave them. They are
very nice and charming now and are as timid and reserved
as though they had just left a convent.
They talk haltingly of the pictures they have seen, shyly
telling how they loved me in "Shoulder Arms," while one
of them told how she wept when she saw ' ' The Kid " and how
she had that night sent some money home to a little kid
brother who was in school and staying there through her
efforts in London.
The difference in them seems so marked when they call
me Mr. Chaplin and I recall how they had hailed us as
"Hello, boys." Somehow I rather resent the change. I
wish they would be more intimate in their conversation. I
would like to get their viewpoint. I want to talk to them
freely. They are so much more interesting than most of
the people I meet.
But there is a barrier. Their reserve stays. I told them
that I was sure they were tired and gave them cab fare.
One of their number speaks for the trio.
"Thanks, Mr. Chaplin, very much. I could do with this,
really. I was broke, honest. Really, this comes in very
They could not quite understand our being nice and
They were used to being treated in the jocular way of
street comradery. Finer qualities came forward under the
respectful attention we gave them, something rather nice
that had been buried beneath the veneer of their trade.
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON 75
Their thanks are profuse, yet awkward. They are not
used to giving thanks. They usually pay, and pay dearly,
for anything handed them. We bid them "good night."
They smile and walk away.
We watch them for a bit as they go on their way. At
first they are strolling along, chattering about their adven-
ture. Then, as if on a signal, they straighten up as though
bracing themselves, and with quickened steps they move
toward Piccadilly, where a haze of light is reflected against
the murky sky.
It is the beacon light from their battleground, and as we
follow them with our eyes these butterflies of the night
make for the lights where there is laughter and gayety.
As we go along to the Ritz we are all sobered by the
encounter with the three little girls. I think blessed is the
ignorance that enables them to go on without the mental
torture that would come from knowing the inevitable that
As we go up the steps of the hotel we see a number of
derelicts huddled asleep against the outside of the building,
sitting under the arches and doors, men and women, old and
young, underfed, deprived, helpless, so much so that the
imprint of helplessness is woven into their brain and brings
on an unconsciousness that is a blessing.
We wake them up and hand them each money. "Here,
get yourself a bed."
They are too numbed. They thank us mechanically,
accepting what we give them, but their reaction and thanks
are more physical than mental.
There was one old woman about seventy. I gave her
something. She woke up, or stirred in her sleep, took the
money without a word of thanks — took it as though it was
her ration from the bread line and no thanks were expected,
huddled herself up in a tighter knot than before, and con-
tinued her slumber. The inertia of poverty had long since
We rang the night bell at the Ritz, for they are not like
76 MY TRIP ABROAD
our American hotels, where guests are in the habit of
coming in at all hours of the night. The Ritz closes its
doors at midnight, and after that hour you must ring
But the night was not quite over. As we were ringing the
bell we noticed a wagon in the street about a block away,
with the horse slipping and the driver out behind the wagon
with his shoulder to the wheel and urging the horse along
with cheery words.
We walked to the wagon and found it was loaded with
apples and on its way to the market. The streets were so
slippery that the horse could not negotiate the hill. I could
not help but think how different from the usual driver this
He did not belay the tired animal with a whip and curse
and swear at him in his helplessness. He saw that the animal
was up against it, and instead of beating him he got out and
put his shoulder to the wheel, never for the moment doubt-
ing that the horse was doing his best.
We all went out into the street and put our shoulders
against the wagon along with the driver. He thanked us,
and as we finally got the momentum necessary to carry it
over the hill he said:
"These darn roads are so slippery that the darn horse
even can't pull it."
It was a source of wonder to him that he should come upon
something too much for his horse. And the horse was so
well fed and well kept. I could not help but notice how
much better the animal looked than his master. The eve-
ning was over and I don't know but that the incident of the
apple wagon was a fitting finale.
The next morning for the first time I am made to give my
attention to the mail that has been arriving. We have been
obliged to have another room added to our suite in order to
have some place in which to keep the numerous sacks that
are being brought to us at all hours.
The pile is becoming so mountainous that we are com-
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON 77
pelled to engage half a dozen stenographers just for the pur-
pose of reading and classifying them.
We found that there were 73,000 letters or cards addressed
to me during the first three days in London, and of this
number more than 28,000 were begging letters — letters
begging anywhere from £1 to £100,000.
Countless and varied were the reasons set forth. Some
were ridiculous. Some were amusing. Some were pathetic.
Some were insulting. All of them in earnest.
I discovered from the mail that there are 671 relatives of
mine in England that I knew nothing about. The greater
part of these were cousins and they gave very detailed family-
tree tracings in support of their claims. All of them wished
to be set up in business or to get into the movies.
But the cousins did not have a monopoly on the relation-
ships. There were brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles
and there were nine claiming to be my mother, telling won-
drous adventure stories about my being stolen by gypsies
when a baby or being left on doorsteps, until I began to
think my youth had been a very hectic affair. But I did
not worry much about these last, as I had left a perfectly
good mother back in California, and so far I have been
pretty much satisfied with her.
There were letters addressed just to Charles Chaplin,
some to King Charles, some to the "King of Mirth"; on
some there was drawn the picture of a battered derby;
some carried a reproduction of my shoes and cane; and in
some there was stuck a white feather with the question as
to what I was doing during the war.
Would I visit such and such institutions ? Would I appear
for such and such charity? Would I kick off the football
season or attend some particular socker game? Then there
were letters of welcome and one inclosing an iron cross
inscribed, "For your services in the great war," and "Where
were you when England was fighting?"
Then there were others thanking me for happiness given
the senders. These came by the thousand. One young
78 MY TRIP ABROAD
soldier sent me four medals he had gotten during the big
war. He said that he was sending them because I had never
been properly recognized. His part was so small and mine
so big, he said, that he wanted me to have his Croix de Guerre,
his regimental and other medals.
Some of the letters were most interesting. Here are a
Dear Mr. Chaplin, — You are a leader in your line and I am a leader
in mine. Your specialty is moving pictures and custard pies. My specialty
I know more about windmills than any man in the world. I have
studied the winds all over the world and am now in a position to invent a
windmill that will be the standard mill of the world, and it will be made
so it can be adapted to the winds of the tropics and the winds of the
I am going to let you in on this in an advantageous way. You have
only to furnish the money. I have the brains and in a few years I will
make you rich and famous. You had better phone me for quick action.
Dear Mr. Chaplin, — Won't you please let me have enough money
to send little Oscar to college? Little Oscar is twelve and the neighbors all
say that he is the brightest little boy they have ever seen. And he can
imitate you so well that we don't have to go to the movies any more.
[This is dangerous. Oscar is a real competitor, ruining my business.]
And so if you can't send the little fellow to college won't you take him in
the movies with you like you did Jackie Coogan?
Dear Mr. Chaplin, — My brother is a sailor and he is the only man
in the world who knows where Capt. Kidd's gold is buried. He has
charts and maps and everything necessary, including a pick and shovel.
But he cannot pay for the boat.
Will you pay for the boat and half the gold is yours. All you need do
is say yes to me in a letter and I will go out and look for John as he is off
somewhere on a bat, being a what you might call a drinking man when
ashore. But I am sure that I can find him, as he and I drink in the same
places. Your shipmate.
Dear Charlie, — Have you ever thought of the money to be made in
peanuts? I know the peanut industry, but I am not telling any of my
business in a letter. If you are interested in becoming a peanut king,
then I'm yotir man. Just address me as Snapper Dodge, above address.
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON 79
Dear Mr. Chaplin, — My daughter has been helping me about my
boarding house now for several years, and I may say that she understands
the art of catering to the public as wishes to stay in quarters. But she
has such high-toned ideas, like as putting up curtains in the bathroom
and such that at times I think she is too good for the boarding house
business and should be having her own hotel to run.
If you could see your way to buy a hotel in London or New York for
Drusilla, I am sure that before long your name and Drusilla's would be
linked together all over the world because of what Drusilla would do to
the hotel business. And she would save money because she could make
all the beds and cook herself and at nights could invent the touches like
what I have mentioned. Drusilla is waiting for you to call her.
Dear Mr. Chaplin, — I am inclosing pawn checks for grandma's false
teeth and our silver water pitcher, also a rent bill showing that our rent
was due yesterday. Of course, we would rather have you pay our rent
first, but if you could spare it, grandma's teeth would be acceptable, and
we can't hold our heads up among the neighbors since father hocked our
silver pitcher to get some beer.
I MEET THE IMMORTALS
HERE are more extracts from a number of the letters
selected at random from the mountain of mail awaiting
me at the hotel:
" wishes Mr. Chaplin a hearty welcome and begs
him to give him the honor of shaving him on Sunday,
Sept. II, any time which he thinks suitable."
A West End money lender has forwarded his business
card, which states: "Should you require temporary cash
accommodation, I am prepared to advance you £50 to
£10,000 on note of hand alone, without fees or delay. All
communications strictly private and confidential."
A man living in Lexington Street, Goldensquare, W.,
writes: "My son, in the endeavor to get a flower thrown
by you from the Ritz Hotel, lost his hat, the bill for which
I inclose, 7 shillings and 6 pence."
A Liverpool scalp specialist gathers that Mr. Chaplin
is much concerned regarding the appearance of gray hairs
in his head. "I claim to be," he adds, "the only man in
Britain who can and does restore the color of gray hair.
You may visit Liverpool, and if you will call I shall be
pleased to examine your scalp and give you a candid
opinion. If nothing can be done I will state so frankly."
' ' Is there any chance," writes Mrs. Violet Pain, of 8 Angell-
road, Brixton, "of you requiring for your films the services
of twin small boys nearly four years old and nearly indis-
tinguishable? An American agent has recently been in this
I MEET THE IMMORTALS 8i
neighborhood and secured a contract with two such small
girls (twins), which points to at least a demand for such
on American films."
A widow of 62 writes: "I have a half dozen china tea
set of the late Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, and it
occurred to me that you might like to possess it. If you
would call or allow me to take it anywhere for you to see,
I would gladly do so. I have had it twenty-four years, and
would like to raise money on it."
A South London picture dealer writes: "If ever you
should be passing this way when you are taking your quiet
strolls around London, I would like you to drop in and see
a picture that I think might interest you. It is the Strand
by night, painted by Arthur Grimshaw in 1887. I hope you
won't think I have taken too much of a liberty — but I
knew your mother when I was in Kate Paradise's troupe,
and I think she would remember me if ever you were to
mention Clara Symonds of that troupe. It is a little link
with the past."
" Dear Old Friend, — Some months ago I wrote to you
and no doubt you will remember me. I was in 'Casey's
court,' and, as you know, we had Mr. Murray for our boss.
You have indeed got on well. I myself have only this month
come home from being in Turkey for eight years. Dear old
boy, I should like to see you when you come to London —
that is, if you do not mind mixing with one of the Casey's
A Billingshurst (Sussex) mother writes: "Would you
grant a few moments' interview to a little girl of nine (small
for her years) whom I am anxious to start on the films?
She has much in her favor, being not only bright and clever,
but unusually attractive in appearance, receiving unlimited
attention wherever she goes, as she is really quite out of
A disengaged actress writes: "If you should take a film
in England it would be a great kindness to employ some
of the hundreds of actresses out of work now and with no
82 MY TRIP ABROAD
prospects of getting any, A walk-on would be a very wel-
come change to many of us, to say nothing of a part."
A Bridgewater resident owning, a new six-cylinder car
writes: "A friend of mine has a very old-time spot right
here in Somerset, with the peacocks wandering across the
well-kept grounds and three lovely trout ponds, where last
night I brought home five very fine rainbow trout each weigh-
ing about one and a half pounds. You will be tired of the
crowds. Slip away down to me and I will give you ten days
or more of the best time you can get. There will be no side
or style and your oldest clothes will be the thing."
"My husband and I should consider it an honor if during
your visit to South London you would call and take a homely
cup of tea with us. I read in the paper of your intention to
stay at an old-fashioned inn, and should like to recommend
the White Horse inn at Sheen, which, I believe, is the oldest
in Surrey. It certainly corresponds with your ideal. Wel-
come to your home town. — ^Jean D. Deschamps."
"When you are really tired of the rush of London there
is a very nice little place called Seaford, not very far from
London, just a small place where you can have a real rest.
No dressing up, etc., and then fishing, golf and tennis if
you care for the same. You could put up at an hotel or
here. There will be no one to worry you. Don't forget
to drop us a line. Yours sincerely, E. M. W."
A London clubman, in offering hospitality, says: "I do
not know you. You do not know me, and probably don't
want to. But just think it over and come and have a bit
of lunch with, me one day. This between ourselves — no
"Saint Pancras Municipal Officers' Swimming Club would
be greatly honored by your presiding at our annual swimming
gala to be held at the St. Pancras public baths."
Dorothy Cochrane, Upper North Street, Poplar, asks:
"Dear Mr. Charlie Chaplin, if you have a pair of old boots
at home will you throw them at me for luck?"
An aspirant for the position of secretary writes: "I am
I MEET THE IMMORTALS 83
a musical comedy artist by profession, but am at present out
of work. I am six feet two inches in height and 27 years
of age. If there is any capacity in which you can use my
services I shall be very thankful. Hoping you will have an
enjoyable stay in your home country."
A Barnes man writes: "If you have time we should be
very proud if you could spare an afternoon to come to tea.
We should love to give you a real old-fashioned Scotch tea,
if you would care to come. We know you will be fdted,
and everyone will want you, but if you feel tired and want
a wee rest come out quietly to us. If it wasn't for your
dear funny ways bn the screen during the war we would
all have gone under."
"Dear Charles," writes an 11 -year-old, "I'd like to meet
you very, very much. I'd like to meet you just to say thank
you for all the times you've cheered me up when I've felt
down and miserable. I've. never met you and I don't sup-
pose I ever will, but you will always be my friend and helper.
I'd love your photograph signed by you! Are you likely
to come to Harrowgate? I wish you would. Perhaps you
could come and see me. Couldn't you try?"
I wish I could read them all, for in every one there is
human feeling, and I wish it were possible that I could
accept some of the invitations, especially those inviting me
to quietness and solitude. But there are thousands too
many. Most of them will have to be answered by my sec-
retaries, but all of them will be answered, and we are taking
trunkfuls of the letters back to California in order that as
many of the requests as possible shall receive attention.
During the afternoon there came Donald Crisp, Tom
Geraghty and the bunch, and before long my apartment
in the London Ritz might just as well be home in Los
Angeles. I realize that I am getting nowhere, meeting
nobody and still playing in Hollywood.
I have traveled 6,000 miles and find I have not shaken
the dust of Hollywood from my shoes. I resent this. I tell
Knobloch I must meet other people besides Geraghty and
84 MY TRIP ABROAD
the Hollywood bunch. I have seen as much as I want to
see of it. Now I want to meet people.
Knobloch smiles, but he is too kind to remind me of my
retreat before the name plate of Bernard Shaw. He and I
go shopping and I am measured for some clothes; then to
lunch with E. V. Lucas.
Lucas is the editor of Punch, England's foremost humorous
publication. A very charming man, sympathetic and sincere.
He has writen a number of very good novels. It is arranged
to give me a party that night at the Garrick Club.
After luncheon we visit StoU's Theater, where "Shoulder
Arms" and Mary Pickford's picture, "Suds," are being
shown. This is my first experience in an English cinema.
The opera house is one that was built by Steinhouse and then
turned into a movie theater.
It is strange and odd to see the English audience drinking
tea and eating pastry while watching the performance. I
find very little difference in their appreciation of the picture.
All the points get over just the same as in America. I get
out without being recognized and am very thankful for that.
Back to the hotel and rest for the evening before my
dinner at the Garrick Club.
The thought of dining at the Garrick Club brought up
before me the mental picture that I have always carried of
that famous old meeting place in London, where art is most
dignified. And the club itself reahzed my picture to the
Tradition and custom are so deep rooted there that I
believe its routine would go on through sheer mechanics
of spirit, even if its various employees should forget to show
up some day. The corners seem almost peopled with the
ghosts of Henry Irving and his comrades. There is one
end of the gloomy old room is a chair in which David Gar-
rick himself sat.
All those at the dinner were well known in art circles —
E. V. Lucas, Walter Hackett, George Frampton, J. M.
Barrie, Herbert Hammil, Edward Knobloch, Harrv Graham.
I MEET THE IMMORTALS 85
N. Nicholas, Nicholas D. Davies, Squire Bancroft and a
number of others whose names I do not remember.
What an interesting character is Squire Bancroft. I am
told that he is England's oldest living actor, and he is now
retired. He does not look as though he should retire.
I am late and that adds to an embarrassment which started
as soon as I knew I was to meet Barrie and so many other
There is Barrie. He is pointed out to me just about the
time I recognize him myself. This is my primary reason
for coming. To meet Barrie. He is a small man, with a
dark mustache and a deeply marked, sad face, with heavily
shadowed eyes. But I detect lines of humor lurking around
his mouth. Cynical? Not exactly.
I catch his eye and make motions for us to sit together,
and then find that the party had been planned that way
anyhow. There is the inevitable hush for introductions.
How I hate it. Names are the bane of my existence. Per-
sonalities, that's the thing.
But everyone seems jovial except Barrie. His eyes
look sad and tired. But he brightens as though all along
there had been that hidden smile behind the mask. I
wonder if they are all friendly toward me, or if I am just the
curiosity of the moment.
There is an embarrassing pause, after we have filed into
the dining room, which E. V. Lucas breaks.
' ' Gentlemen, be seated. ' '
I felt almost like a minstrel man and the guests took
their seats as simultaneously as though rehearsed for it.
I feel very uncomfortable mentally. I cough. What
shall I say to Barrie? Why hadn't I given it some thought?
I am aware that Squire Bancroft is seated at my other
side. I feel as though I am in a vise with its jaws closing
as the clock ticks. Why did I come? The atmosphere is
so heavy, yet I am sure they all feel most hospitable toward
I steal a look at Squire Bancroft. The old tragedian
86 MY TRIP ABROAD
looks every bit the eminent old-school actor. The dignity
and tradition of the English stage is written into every
line in his face. I remember Nicholson having said that the
squire would not go to a "movie," that he regarded his
stand as a principle. Then why is he here? He is going
to be difficult, I fear.
He breaks the ice with the announcement that he had
been to a movie that day ! Coming from him it was almost
"Mr. Chaplin, the reading of the letter in 'Shoulder
Arms* was the high spot of the picture." This serious
consideration from the man who would not go to the
I wanted to kiss him. Then I learn that he had told
everyone not to say anything about his not having been
to a movie for fear that it would offend me. He leans over
and whispers his age and tells me he is the oldest member
of the club. He doesn't look within ten years of his age.
I find myself muttering inanities in answering him.
Then Barrie tells me that he is looking for some one to
play Peter Pan and says he wants me to play it. He bowls
me over completely. To think that I was avoiding and afraid
to meet such a man! But I am afraid to discuss it with
him seriously, am on my guard because he may decide that
I know nothing about it and change his mind.
Just imagine, Barrie has asked me to play Peter Pan. It
is too big and grand to risk spoiling it by some chance wit-
less observation, so I change the subject and let this golden
opportunity pass. I have failed completely in my first
skirmish with Barrie.
There are labored jokes going the rounds of the table and
everyone seems to feel conscious of some duty that is resting
on his shoulders imgracefuUy.
One ruddy gentleman whose occupation is a most serious
one, I am told, that of building a giant memorial in White
Hall to the dead of the late war, is reacting to the situation
most flippantly. His conversation, which has risen to a
1 MEET THE IMMORTALS 87
pitch of almost hysterical volume, is most ridiculously comic.
He is a delightful buffoon.
Everyone is laughing at his chatter, but nothing seems
to be penetrating my stupidity, though I am carrying with
me a wide mechanical grin, which I broaden and narrow
with the nuances of the table laughing. I feel utterly
out of the picture, that I don't belong, that there must
be something significant in the badinage that is bandied
about the board.
Barrie is speaking again about moving pictures. I must
understand. I summon all of my scattered faculties to bear
upon what he is saying. What a peculiarly shaped head
He is speaking of "The Kid," and I feel that he is trying
to flatter me. But how he does it! He is criticizing the
He is very severe. He declares that the "heaven" scene
was entirely unnecessary, and why did I give it so much
attention ? And why so much of the mother in the picture,
and why the meeting of the mother and the father? All of
these things he is discussing analytically and profoundly,
so much so that I find that my feeling of self-consciousness
is rapidly leaving me.
I find myself giving my side of the argument without
hesitation, because I am not so sure that Barrie is right,
and I had reasons, good reasons, for wanting all those things
in the picture. But I am thrilled at his interest and ap-
preciation and it is borne in upon me that by discussing
dramatic construction with me he is paying a very gracious
and subtle compliment. It is sweet of him. It relieves me
of the last vestige of my embarrassment.
"But, Sir James," I am saying, "I cannot agree with
you — " Imagine the metamorphosis. And our discussion
continues easily and pleasantly. I am aware of his age as
he talks and I get more of his spirit of whimsicality.
The food is being served and I find that E. V. Lucas has
provided a treacle pudding, a particular weakness of mine,
88 . MY TRIP ABROAD
to which I do justice. I am wondering if Barrie resents
age, he who is so youthful in spirit.
There seems to be lots of fun in the general buffoonery
that is going on around the table, but despite all efforts to
the contrary I am serving a diet of silence. I feel very color-
less, that the whole conversation that is being shouted is
I am a good audience. I laugh at anything and dare not
speak. Why can't I be witty? Are they trying to draw
me out? Is it phony? Maybe I am wrong and there is a
purpose behind this buffoonery. But I hardly know whether
to retaliate in kind, or just grin.
I am dying for something to happen. Lucas is rising.
We all feel the tension. Why are parties like that ? It ends.
Barrie is whispering, "Let's go to my apartment for a
drink and a quiet talk," and I begin to feel that things are
most worth while. Knobloch and I walk with him to
Adelphia Terrace, where his apartment overlooks the
Somehow this apartment seems just like him, but I cannot
convey the resemblance in a description of it. The first
thing you see is a writing desk in a huge room beautifully
furnished, and with dark-wood paneling. Simplicity and
comfort are written everywhere. There is a large Dutch
fireplace in the right side of the room, but the outstanding
piece of furniture is a tiny kitchen stove in one comer. It
is polished to such a point that it takes the aspect of the
ornamental rather than the useful. He explains that on
this he makes his tea when servants are away. Such a touch,
perhaps, just the touch to suggest Barrie.
Our talk drifts to the movies and Barrie tells me of the
plans for filming "Peter Pan." We are on very friendly
ground in this discussion and I find myself giving Barrie
ideas for plays while he is giving me ideas for movies,
many of them suggestions that I can use in comedies. It
is a great chatfest.
There is a knock at the door. Gerald du Maurier is
I MEET THE IMMORTALS 89
calling. He is one of England's greatest actors and the son
of the man who wrote "Trilby." Our party lasts far into
the night, until about three in the morning. I notice that
Barrie looks rather tired and worn, so we leave, walking
with Du Maurier up the Strand. He tells us that Barrie is
not himself since his nephew was drowned, that he has aged
We walk slowly back to the hotel and to bed.
Next day there is a card from Bruce Bairnsfather,
England's famous cartoonist, whose work during the war
brought him international success, inviting me to tea. He
carries me out into the country, where I have a lovely time.
His wife tells me that he is just a bundle of nerves and that
he never knows when to stop working. I ask what H. G.
Wells is like and Bruce tells me that he is like "Wells"
and no one else.
When I get back to the hotel there is a letter from Wells.
"Do come over. I've just discovered that you are in
town. Do you want to meet Shaw ? He is really very charm-
ing out of the limelight. I suppose you are overwhelmed
with invitations, but if there is a chance to get hold of you
for a talk, I will be charmed. How about a week-end
with me at Easton, free from publicity and with harmless,
human people. No phones in the house."
I lost no time in accepting such an invitation.
There is a big luncheon party on among my friends and
I am told that a party has been arranged to go through
the Limehouse district with Thomas Burke, who wrote
"Limehouse Nights." I resent it exceedingly and refuse to
go with a crowd to meet Burke. I revolt against the con-
stant crowding. I hate crowds.
London and its experiences are telling on me and I am
nervous and unstrung. I must see Burke and go with him
alone. He is the one man who sees London through the same
kind of glasses as myself. I am told that Burke will be
disappointing because he is so silent, but I do not believe
that I will be disappointed in him.
90 MY TRIP ABROAD
Robinson tells the crowd of my feelings and how much
I have planned on this night alone with Burke, and the party
is called off. We phone Burke and I make an engagement
to meet him at his home that evening at ten o'clock. We
are to spend the night together in Limehouse. What a
That night I was at Thomas Burke's ahead of time. The
prospect of a night spent in the Limehouse district with the
author of "Limehouse Nights" was as alluring as Christmas
morning to a child.
Burke is so different from what I expected. ' * Limehouse
Nights" had led me to look for some one physically, as well
as mentally, big, though I had always pictured him as
mild-mannered and tremendously human and sympathetic.
I notice even as we are introduced that Burke looks tired
and it is hard to think that this little man with the thin,
peaked face and sensitive features is the same one who has
blazed into literature such elemental lusts, passions and
emotions as characterize his short stories.
I am told that he doesn't give out much. I wonder just
who he is like. He is very curious. Doesn't seem to be
noticing anything that goes on about him. He just sits
with his arm to his face, leaning on his hand and gazing
into the fire. As he sits there, apparently unperturbed
and indifferent, I am warming up to him considerably. I
feel a sort of master of the situation. It's a comfortable
feeling. Is his reticence real or is this some wonderful
trick of his, this making his guest feel superior?
His tired-looking, sensitive eyes at first seem rather severe
and serious, but suddenly I am aware of something keen,
quick and twinkling in them. His wife has arrived. A
very young lady of great charm, who makes you feel in-
stantly her artistic capabilities even in ordinary conver-
Shortly after his wife comes in Burke and I leave, I
feeling very much the tourist in the hands of the supercity
I MEET THE IMMORTALS 91
"What, where — anything particular that I want to see?"
This rather scares me, but I take it as a challenge and
make up my mind that I will know him. He is difficult,
and, somehow, I don't believe that he cares for movie actors.
Maybe I am only possible copy to him?
He seems to be doing me a kindness and I find myself
feeling rather stiff and on my best behavior, but I resolve
that before the evening is through I will make him open up
and like me, for I am sure that his interest is well worth
I have nothing to suggest except that we ramble along
with nothing deliberate in view. I feel that this pleases
him, for a light of interest comes into his eyes, chasing one
of responsibility. We are just going to stroll along.
I MEET THOMAS BURKE AND H. G. WELLS
AS Burke and I ramble along toward no place in
particular, I talk about his book. I have read "Lime-
house Nights" as he wrote it. There is nothing I could
see half so effective. We discuss the fact that realities
such as he has kept alive seldom happen in a stroll, but
I am satisfied. I don't want to see. It could not be
more beautiful than the book. There is no reaction to my
flattery. I must watch good taste.
Passing up my obvious back-patting, I feel that he is
very intelligent, and I am silent for quite a while as we
stroll along toward Stepney. There is a greenish mist hang-
ing about everything and we seem to be in a labyrinth of
narrow alleyways, now turning into streets and then merging
into squares. He is silent and we merely walk.
And then I awaken. I see his purpose. I can do my own
story — he is merely lending me the tools. And what tools
they are! I feel that I have served an ample apprentice-
ship in their use, through merely reading his stories. I
It is so easy now. He has given me the stories before.
Now he is telling them over in pictures. The very shadows
take on life and romance. The skulking, strutting, mincing,
hurrying forms that pass us and fade out into the night
are now becoming characters. The curtain has risen on
"Limehouse Nights," dramatized with the original cast.
There is a tang of the east in the air and I am tinglingly
MEETING BURKE AND WELLS 93
aware of something vital, living, moving, in this murky-
atmosphere that is more intense even for the occasional dim
light that peers out into the soft gloom from attic windows
and storerooms, or municipal lights that gleam on the street
Here is a little slice of God's fashioning, where love runs
hand in hand with death, where poetry sings in withered
Mongolian hearts, even as knives are buried in snow-white
breasts and swarthy necks. ~ Here hearts are broken cas-
ually, but at the same time there comes just as often to this
lotus land the pity, terror, and wonder of first love, and who
shall say which is predominant ?
Behind each of those tiny garret windows lurks life — life
in its most elemental costume. There is no time, thought,
or preparation for anything but the elemental passions, and
songs of joy, hope, and laughter are written into each exist-
ence, even as the killings go on, surely, swiftly.
There must be a magic wand forever doing a pendulum
swing over this land, for the point of view often changes from
the beastly to the beautiful, and in one short moment the
innocent frequently gather the sophistication of the aged.
These creatures of life's game run blithely along their course,
ignorant of the past, joyful in the present, and careless of
the future, while their tiny lightened windows seem to wink
deliberately as they make pinpricks of light through the
On the other side of the street there is stepping a little
lady whose cheap cotton clothes are cut with Parisian cun-
ning, and as we cross and pass her we discern beauty, en-
hanced many fold by youth and vitality, but hardened with
premature knowledge. I can't help but think of little Gracie
Goodnight, the little lady who resented the touch of a
"Chink," so much so that she filled the fire extinguishers
in his place with oil, and when he was trapped in the blazing
building, calmly, and with a baby smile upon her face,
poured the contents of the extinguisher over him and his
94 MY TRIP ABROAD
There is the Queen's Theater, bringing forward a mental
picture of Httle Gina of Chinatown, who stopped a panic
in the fire-frightened audience of the playhouse as her debut
offering on the stage. Little Gina, who brought the whole
neighborhood to her feet in her joyous dancing delight.
Little Gina, who at fourteen had lived, laughed, and loved,
and who met death with a smile, carrying the secret of him
Every once in a while Burke merely lifts his stick and
points. His gesture needs no comment. He has located
and made clear without language the only one object he
could possibly mean, and, strangely, it is always something
particularly interesting to me. He is most unusual.
What a guide he is! He is not showing rne Main Street,
not the obvious, not even the sight-seer's landmarks, but in
this rambling I am getting the heart, the soul, the feeling.
I feel that he has gauged me quickly — that he knows I love
feelings rather than details, that he is unconsciously flatter-
ing to my subtlety, after two miles through black, though
Now he is picking the spots where lights are shining from
the fish shops. He knows their locations, knows their lights
because he has studied them well. There are forms slinking
gracefully, as though on location and with rehearsed move-
ment. What an effect for a camera!
This is rugged. Here are 'the robust of the slums. People
act more quickly here than in Lambeth. And suddenly we
are back where we started. In a car we go to Huxton, the
old Britannia Huxton, rather reluctantly.
There is a glaring moving-picture palace. What a pity!
I resent its obtrusion. We go along toward the East Indian
Rocks — to Shadwell. And I am feeling creepy with the
horror of his stories of Shadwell. I could hear a child
screaming behind a shuttered window and I wondered and
imagined, but we did not stop anywhere.
We meandered along with just an occasional gesture from
him, all that was necessary to make his point. To Stanhope
MEETING BURKE AND WELLS 95
Road and Highgate, Bethnal Green, Spitalfields, RatcHffe,
Soho, Nottingdale, and Camdentown.
And through it all I have the feeling that things trivial,
portentous, beautiful, sordid, cringing, glorious, simple,
epochal, hateful, lovable things, are happening behind closed
doors. I people all those shacks with girls, boys, murders,
shrieks, life, beauty.
As we go back to Highgate we talk of life in the world
outside this adventurous Utopia. He tells me that he has
never been outside of London, not even to Paris. This is
very curious to me, but it doesn't seenvso as he says it. He
tells me of another book that he has ready and of a play
that he is working on for early production. We talked until
three in the morning and I went back to my hotel with the
same sort of feelings that I had at twelve when I sat up all
night reading Stevenson's Treasure Island.
The next day I did some shopping, going through the
Burlington Arcade, where I was measured for boots. How
different is shopping here! A graceful ceremony that is
pleasing even to a man. The sole advertisement I see in
the shop is "Patrons to His Majesty." It is all said in that
And the same methods have been in vogue at this boot-
maker's for centuries. My foot is placed on a piece of
paper and the outline drawn. Then measurements are taken
of the instep, ankle and calf, as I want riding boots. Old-
fashioned they will probably continue until the end of time,
yet somehow I sort of felt that if that old shop had a tongue
to put in its cheek, there it would be parked, because tradi-
tion, as an aid to the cash register, is no novelty.
In the evening I dined at the Embassy Club with Sonny,
and was made an honorary member of the club.
It is amazing how much Europe is aping America, par-
ticularly with its dance music. In cafes you hear all the
popular airs that are being played on Broadway. The
American influence has been felt to such an extent that
King Jazz is a imiversal potentate. Sonny and I go to the
96 MY TRIP ABROAD
theater and see a part of the "League of Notions," but we
leave early and I run in to say hello to Constance Collier,
who is playing in London.
The next day is exciting. Through the invitation of a
third party I am to meet H. G. Wells at Stoll's office to view
the first showing of Wells's picture, "Mr. Kipps."
In the morning the telephone rings and I hear some one
in the parlor say that the Prince of Wales is calling. I get
in a blue funk, as does everyone else in the apartment,
and I hear them rush toward the phone. But Ed Knobloch,
claiming to be versed in the proper method of handling such
a situation, convinces everyone that he is the one to do the
talking and I relapse back into bed, but wider awake than
I ever was in my life.
Knobloch on the phone:
"Are you there? . . . Yes. . . . Oh, yes . . . to-night. . . .
Kjiobloch turning from the phone announces, very for-
mally, "The Prince of Wales wishes Charlie to dine with him
to-night, ' ' and he starts toward my bedroom door. (Through
all of this I have been in the bedroom, and the others are in
the parlor confident, with the confidence of custom, that I
am still asleep.)
As Knobloch starts for my bedroom door my very Amer-
ican secretary, in the very routine voice he has trained for
such occurrences, says:
"Don't wake him. Tell him to call later. Not before
Knobloch : * * Good God, man ! This is the Prince of Wales, ' '
and he launches into a monologue regarding the traditions
of England and the customs of court and what a momentous
occasion this is, contemptuously observing that I am in
bed and my secretary wants him to tell the Prince to call
later! He cannot get the American viewpoint.
Knobloch's sincere indignation wins, and the secretary
backs away from the bedroom as I plunge under the covers
and feign sleep. Ejtiobloch comes in very dignified and,
MEETING BURKE AND WELLS 97
trying to keep his voice in the most casual tone, announces,
"Keep to-night open to dine with the Prince of Wales."
I try to enter into it properly, but I feel rather stiff so
early in the morning. I try to remonstrate with him for
having made the engagement. I have another engagement
with H. G. Wells, but I am thrilled at the thought of dining
with the Prince in Buckingham Palace. I can't do it. What
must I do?
Knobloch takes me in hand. He repeats the message.
I think some one is spoofing and tell him so. I am very
suspicious, and the thrill leaves me as I remember that the
Prince is in Scotland, shooting. How could he get back?
But Knobloch is practical. This must go through. And
I think he is a bit sore at me for my lack of appreciation.
He would go to the palace himself and find out everything.
He goes to the palace to verify.
I can't tell his part of it^ — he was very vague — but I
gathered that when he reached there he found all the fur-
niture under covers, and I can hear that butler now saying :
' ' His Highness the Prince will not be back for several days,
Poor Ed ! It was quite a blow for him, and, on the level,
I was a bit disappointed myself.
But I lost no time mooning over my lost chance to dine
with royalty, for that afternoon I was going to rneet Wells.
Going to Stoll's, I was eagerly looking forward to a quiet
little party where I could get off somewhere with Wells and
have a long talk.
As I drew near the office, however, I noticed crowds,
the same sort of crowds that I had been dodging since my
exit from Los Angeles. It was a dense mass of humanity
packed around the entire front of the building, waiting for
something that had been promised them. And then I knew
that it was an arranged affair and that, so far as a chat was
concerned, Wells and I were just among those present, even
though we were the guests of honor.
I remember keenly the crush in the elevator, a tiny little
98 MY TRIP ABROAD
affair built for about six people and carrying nearer sixty.
I get the viewpoint of a sardine quite easily. Upstairs it
is not so bad, and I am swept into a room where there are
only a few people, and the door is then closed. I look all
around, trying to spot Wells. There he is.
I notice his beautiful, dark-blue eyes first. Keen and
kindly they are, twinkling just now as though he were in-
wardly smiling, perhaps at my very apparent embarrassment.
Before we can get together, however, there comes forward
the camera brigade with its flashlight ammunition. Would
we pose together ? Wells looks hopeless. I must show that
before cameras I am very much of a person, and I take the
initiative with the lens peepers.
We are photoed, sitting, standing, hats on and off, and
in every other stereotyped position known to camera men.
We sign a number of photos, I in my large, .sweeping,
sprawling hand — I remember handling the pen in a dashing,
swashbuckling manner — ^then Wells, in his small, hardly
discernible style. I am very conscious of this difference,
and I feel as though I had started to sing aloud before a
group of grand-opera stars.
Then there is a quick-sketch artist for whom we pose.
He does his work rapidly, however, and while he is drawing
Wells leans over and whispers in my ear.
"We are the goats," he tells me. "I was invited here to
meet you and you were probably invited here to meet me."
He had called the turn perfectly, and when we had both
accepted the invitation our double acceptance had been used
to make the showing an important event. I don't think that
Wells liked it.
Wells and I go into the dark projection room and I sit
with Wells. I feel on my mettle almost immediately, sitting
at his side, and I feel rather glad that we are spending our
first moments in an atmosphere where I am at home. In
his presence I feel critical and analytical and I decide to tell
the truth about the picture at all costs. I feel that Wells
would do the same thing about one of mine.
MEETING BURKE AND WELLS 99
As the picture is reeling off I whisper to him my likes and
dislikes, principally the faulty photography, though occa-
sionally I detect bad direction. Wells remains perfectly
silent and I begin to feel that I am not breaking the ice. It
is impossible to get acquainted under these conditions.
Thank God, I can keep silent, because there is the picture
to watch and that saves the day.
Then Wells whispers, "Don't you think the boy is good?"
The boy in question is right here on the other side of me,
watching his first picture, I look at him. Just starting out
on a new career, vibrant with ambition, eager to make good,
and his first attempt being shown before such an audience.
As I watch he is almost in tears, nervous and anxious.
The picture ends. There is a mob clustering about.
Directors and officials look at me. They want my opinion
of the picture. I shall be truthful. Shall I criticize ? Wells
nudges me and whispers, "Say something nice about the
boy." And I look at the boy and see what Wells has already
seen and then I say the nice things about him. Wells's
kindness and consideration mean so much more than a mere
Wells is leaving and we are to meet for dinner, and I am
left alone to work my way through the crush to the taxi
and back to the hotel, where I snatch a bit of a nap. I
want to be in form for Wells.
There comes a little message from Wells :
Don't forget the dinner. You can wrap up in a cloak if you deem it
advisable, and slip in about 7.30 and we can dine in peace.
H. G. Wells.
Whitehall Court, Entrance 4.
We talk of Russia and I find no embarrassment in airing
my views, but I soon find myself merely the questioner.
Wells talks ; and, though he sees with the vision of a dreamer,
he brings to his views the practical. As he talks he appears
very much like an American. He seems very yoimg and
full of "p^."
100 MY TRIP ABROAD
There is the general feeling that conditions will right
themselves in some way. Organization is needed, he says,
and is just as important as disarmament. Education is the
only salvation, not only of Russia, but of the rest of the
world. Socialism of the right sort will come through proper
education. We discuss my prospects of getting into Russia.
I want to see it. Wells tells me that I am at the wrong time
of the year, that the cold weather coming on would make
the trip most inadvisable.
I talk about going to Spain, and he seems surprised to
hear that I want to see a bull fight. He asks, "Why?"
I don't know, except that there is something so nakedly
elemental about it. There is a picturesque technic about it
that must appeal to any artist. Perhaps Frank Harris's
"Matador" gave me the impulse, together with my per-
petual quest far a new experience. He says it is too cruel
to the horses.
I relax as the evening goes on and I find that I am liking
him even more than I expected. About midnight we go out
on a balcony just off his library, and in the light of a full
moon we get a gorgeous view of London. Lying before us
in the soft, mellow rays of the moon, London looks as though
human, and I feel that we are rather in the Peeping Tom
I exclaim, "The indecent moon."
He picks me up. ' * That's good. Where did you get that ? ' '
I have to admit that it is not original — that it belongs to
Wells comments on my dappemess as he helps me on with
my coat. "I see you have a cane with you." I was also
wearing a silk hat. I wonder what Los Angeles and Holly-
wood would say if I paraded there in this costume ?
Wells tries on my hat, then takes my cane and twirls it.
The effect is ridiculous, especially as just at the moment
I notice the two yolumes of the Outline of History on his
Strutting stagily, he chants, "You're quite the fellow,
MEETING BURKE AND WELLS loi
doncher know." We both laugh. Another virtue for Wells.
I try to explain my dress. Tell him that it is my other
self, a reaction from the everyday Chaplin, I have always
desired to look natty and I have spurts of primness. Every-
thing about me and my work is so sensational that I must
get reaction. My dress is a part of it. I feel that it is a
poor explanation of the paradox, but Wells thinks other-
He says I notice things. That I am an observer and an
analyst. I am pleased. I tell him that the only way I
notice things is on the run. Whatever keenness of percep-
tion I have is momentary, fleeting. I observe all in ten
minutes or not at all.
What a pleasant evening it is ! But as I walk along toward
the hotel I feel that I have not met Wells yet.
And I am going to have another opportunity. I am going
to have a week-end with him at his home in Easton, a week-
end with Wells at home, with just his family. That alone
is worth the entire trip from Los Angeles to Europe.
OFF TO FRANCE
THE hotel next day is teeming with activity. My secre-
taries are immersed in mail and, despite the assistance
of six girls whom they have added temporarily to our forces,
the mail bags are piling up and keeping ahead of us.
In a fit of generosity or ennui or something I pitch in and
help. It seems to be the most interesting thing I have
attempted on the trip. Why didn't I think of it sooner?
Here is drama. Here is life in abundance. Each letter I
read brings forth new settings, new characters, new prob-
lems. I find myself picking out many letters asking for
charity. I lay these aside.
I have made up my mind to go to France immediately.
I call Carl Robinson. I tell him that we are going to
France, to Paris, at once. Carl is not surprised. He has
been with me for a long time. We decide that we tell no-
body and perhaps we can escape ceremonies. We will keep
the apartment at the Ritz and keep the stenographers work-
ing, so that callers will think that we are hiding about
We are going to leave on Sunday and our plans are per-
fected in rapid-fire order. We plunge about in a terrible
rush as we try to arrange everything at the last minute
without giving the appearance of arranging anything.
And in spite of everything, there is a mob at the station
to see us off and autograph books are thrown at me from all
sides. I sign for as many as I can and upon the others I
IN PARIS WITH SIR PHILIP BASSOON AND GEORGES CARPENTIER
OFF TO FRANCE 103
bestow my "prop" grin. Wonder if I look like Doug when
I do this?
We meet the skipper. What does one ask skippers? Oh
yes, how does it look to-day for crossing? As I ask, I cast
my weather eye out into the Channel and it looks decidedly
rough to me.
But the skipper's "just a bit choppy" disarms me.
I am eager to get on the boat, and the first person I meet
is Baron Long, owner of a hotel in San Diego. Good heav-
ens! Can't I ever get away from Hollywood? I am glad to
see him, but not now. He is very clever, however. He senses
the situation, smiles quick "hellos," and then makes himself
scarce. In fact, I think he wanted to get away himself.
Maybe he was as anxious for a holiday as I.
I am approached on the boat by two very charming girls.
They want my autograph. Ah, this is nice ! I never enjoyed
writing my name more.
How I wish that I had learned French. I feel hopelessly
sunk, because after about three sentences in French I am a
total loss so far as conversation is concerned. One girl
promises to give me a French lesson. This promises to be a
I am told that in France they call me Chariot. We are
by this time strolling about the boat and bowing every other
minute. It is getting rough and I find myself saying I rather
like it that way. Liar.
She is speaking. I smile. She smiles. She is talking in
French. I am getting about every eighth word. I can't seem
to concentrate. French is so difficult. Maybe it's the boat.
I am dying rapidly. I feel like a dead weight on her arm.
I can almost feel myself get pale as I try to say something,
anything. I am weak and perspiring. I blurt out, "I beg
pardon," and then I rush off to my cabin and lie down. Oh,
why did I leave England? Something smells horrible. I
look up. My head is near a new pigskin bag. Yes, that's
it, that awful leathery smell. But I have company. Robin-
son is in the cabin with me and we are matching ailments.
104 MY TRIP ABROAD
Thus we spent the trip from Dover to Calais and I was
as glad to get to the French coast as the Kaiser would have
been had he kept that dinner engagement in Paris.
Nearing France, I am almost forgetting my sickness.
There is something in the atmosphere. Something vibrant.
The tempo of life is faster. The springs in its mechanism
are wound taut. I feel as if I would like to take it apart
and look at those springs.
I am met by the chief of police, which surprised me,
because I was confident that I had been canny enough to
make a getaway this time. But no. The boat enters the
quay and I see the dock crowded with people. Some treach-
ery. Hats are waving, kisses are being thrown, and there
are cheers. Cheers that I can only get through the expres-
sion, because they are in French and I am notoriously
deficient in that language.
''Vive le Chariot!" "Bravo, Chariot!"
I am * ' Charioted ' ' all over the place. Strange, this foreign
tongue. Wonder why a universal language isn't practicable ?
They are crowding about me, asking for autographs. Or
at least I think they are, because they are pushing books in
my face, though for the life of me I can't make out a word
of their chatter. But I smile. God bless that old "prop"
grin, because they seem to like it.
Twice I was kissed. I was afraid to look around to see
who did it, because I knew I was in France. And you've got
to give me the benefit of the doubt. I am hoping that both
kisses came from pretty girls, though I do think that at
least one of those girls should shave.
They examine my signature closely. They seem puzzled.
I look. It is spelled right. Oh, I see! They expected
"Chariot." And I write some more with "Chariot."
I am being bundled along to a funny little French train.
It seems like a toy. But I am enjoying the difference.
Everything is all changed. The new money, the new lan-
guage, the new faces, the new architecture — it's a grown- ap
three-ring circus to me. The crowd gives a concerted cheef
OFF TO FRANCE 105
as the train pulls out and a few intrepid ones run alongside
until distanced by steam and steel.
We go into the diner and here is a fresh surprise. The
dinner is table d'hote and three waiters are serving it. Every-
one is served at once, and as one man is taking up the soup
plates another is serving the next course. Here is French
economy — economy that seems very sensible as they have
perfected it. It seems so different from America, where
waiters always seem to be falling over one another in diners.
And wines with the meal ! And the check ; it did not resem-
ble in size the national debt, as dinner checks usually do in
It has started to rain as we arrive in Paris, which adds to
my state of excitement, and a reportorial avalanche falls
upon me. I am about overcome. How did reporters know
I was coming? The crowd outside the station is almost as
large as the one in London.
I am still feeling the effects of my seasickness. I am not
equal to speaking nor answering questions. We go to the
customs house and one journalist, finding us, suggests and
points another way out. I am sick. I must disappoint the
crowd, and I leap into a taxi and am driven to Claridge's
"Out of the frying pan." Here are more reporters. And
they speak nothing but French. The hubbub is awful. We
talk to one another. We shout at one another. We talk
slowly. We spell. We do everything to make Frenchmen
understand English, and Englishmen understand French,
but it is no use. One of them manages to ask me what I
think of Paris.
I answer that I never saw so many Frenchmen in my
life. I am looking forward eagerly to meeting Cami, the
famous French cartoonist. We have been corresponding
for several years, he sending me many drawings and I
sending him still photos from pictures. We had built
up quite a friendship and I have been looking forward
to a meeting. I see him.
io6 MY TRIP ABROAD
He is coming to me and we are both smiling broadly as
we open our arms to each other.
Otir greeting is most effusive. And then something goes
wrong. He is talking in French, a blue streak, with the
rapidity of a machine gun. I can feel my smile fading into
blankness. Then I get an inspiration. I start talking in
English just as rapidly. Then we both talk at once. It's
the old story of the irresistible force and the immovable
body. We get nowhere.
Then I try talking slowly, extremely slow.
* * Do — ^you — understand ? "
It means nothing. We both realize at the same time
what a hopeless thing our interview is. We are sad a bit,
then we smile at the absurdity of it. He is still Cami and
I am still Chariot, so we grin and have a good time, anyhow.
He stays to dinner, which is a hectic meal, for through it
all I am tasting this Paris, this Paris that is waiting for me.
We go out and to the Folies Bergere. Paris does not seem
as light as I expected it to be.
And the Folies Bergere seems shabbier. I remember hav-
ing played here once myself with a pantomime act. How
grand it looked then. Rather antiquated now. Somehow
it saddened me, this bit of memory that was chased up
Next day there is a luncheon with Dudley Field M alone
and Waldo Frank. It is a brisk and vivacious meal except
when it is broken up by a visit from the American newspaper
"Mr. Chaplin, why did you come to Europe?"
"Are you going to Russia?"
"Did you call on Shaw?"
They must have cabled over a set of questions. I went
all over the catechism for them and managed to keep the
"prop" grin at work. I wouldn't let them spoil Paris
I MKET LADY ROCK-SAVAGE AND SIR PHILIP SASSOON, THE POET
OFF TO FRANCE 107
We escape after a bit, and back at the hotel I notice an
air of formality creeping into the atmosphere as I hear
voices in the parlor of my suite. Then my secretary comes
in and announces that a very important personage is calling
and would speak with me.
He enters, an attractive-looking gentleman, and he speaks
"Mr. Chaplin, that I am to you talk of greetings from the
heart of the people with France, that you make laugh.
Cannot you forego to make showing of yourself with charity
sometime for devastated France? On its behalf, I say to
I tell him that I will take it up later.
He smiles, "Ah, you are boozy."
"Oh no. I haven't had a drink for several days," I hasten
to inform him. "I am busy and want to get to bed early
But Malone butts in with, "Oh yes, he's very boozy."
And I get a bit indignant until Malone tells me that the
Frenchman means "busy."
Then I am told that there is one young journalist still
waiting who has been here all day, refusing to go until I
have seen him. And I tell them to bring him in. He comes
in smiling in triumph.
And he can't speak English.
After his hours of waiting we cannot talk.
I feel rather sorry for him and we do our best. Finally,
with the aid of about everyone in the hotel he manages to
"Do you like France?"
"Yes," I answer.
He is satisfied.
Waldo Frank and I sit on a bench in the Champs Elysees
and watch the wagons going to market in the early morning.
Paris seems most beautiful to me just at this time.
What a city! What is the force that has made it what
it is? Could anyone conceive such a creation, such a land
io8 MY TRIP ABROAD
of continuous gayety? It is a masterpiece among cities, the
last word in pleasure. Yet I feel that something has hap-
pened to it, something that they are trying to cover by
heightened plunges into song and laughter.
We stroll along the boulevard and it is growing light. I
am recognized and we are being followed. We are passing
a church. There is an old woman asleep on the steps, but
she does not seem worn and haggard. There is almost a
smile on her face as she sleeps. She typifies Paris to me.
Hides her poverty behind a smile.
Sir Philip Sassoon, who is the confidential secretary to
Lloyd George, calls the next day with Georges Carpentier,
the pugilistic idol of France, and we are photographed many
times, the three of us together, and separately.
I am quite surprised that Sir Philip is such a young man.
I had pictured the secretary of Lloyd George as rather a
dignified and aged person. He makes an appointment for
me to dine with Lord and Lady Rock-Savage the next day.
Lady Rock-Savage is his sister.
I also lunch with them the next day, and then to a very
fashionable modiste's for some shopping. This is my first
offense of this sort. I meet Lady Astor, who is shopping
It was quite a treat for me, watching the models in this
huge, elaborate institution that was really a palace in ap-
pointments. In fact, it greatly resembled the palace at
I felt very meek when tall, suave creatures strolled out
and swept past me, some imperious, some contemptuous.
It was a studied air, but they did it well. I wonder what
effect it has on^the girl's mind as she parades herself before
the high-born ladies and gentlemen.
But I catch the imperfection in their schooling. It is
very amusing to watch them strut about until their display
is made, and then, their stint done, slouch back into the
dressing-rooms sans carriage and manner.
And then, too, I am discovered- This also causes a break
OFF TO FRANCE 109
in the spell of their queenly stroll. They are laughing and
at the same time trying to maintain the dignity due the
gowns they are wearing. They become self-conscious and
the effect is ludicrous. I am demoralizing the institution,
so we get away. I would like to talk to some of the models,
but it can't be done very well.
From there we go to a candy store, where I lay in a supply
of chocolates and preserved fruits for my trip into Germany
the next day. I am invited by Sir Philip to visit him at his
country home in Lympe, Kent, on my return from Germany.
That evening I go with a party of Dudley Field Malone's
to the Palais Royale in the Montmartre district. This is a
novelty. Different. Seems several steps ahead of America.
And it has atmosphere, something entirely its own, that you
feel so much more than the tangible things about you.
There is a woman wearing a monocle. A simple touch,
but how it changes ! The fashions here proclaim themselves
even without comparison and expert opinion. The music is
simple, exotic, neurotic. Its simplicity demands attention.
It reaches inside you instead of affecting your feet.
They are dancing a tango. It is entertainment just to
watch them. The pauses in the music, its dreamy cadences,
its insinuation, its suggestiveness, its whining, almost mo-
notonous swing. It is tropical yet, this Paris. And I
realize that Paris is at a high pitch. Paris has not yet
had relief from the cloddy numbness brought on with
the war. I wonder will relief come easily or will there
be a conflagration.
I meet Doughie, the correspondent. We recall our first
meeting in the kitchen of Christine's in Greenwich Village.
It is soon noised about that I am here and our table takes
on the atmosphere of a reception. What a medley !
Strangely garbed artists, long-haired poets, news-sheet
and flower vendors, sight -seers, students, children, and co-
cottes. Presently came Miss Iris Tree, the poet, her lovely
golden hair gleaming in the tavern light, and she with the
air and figure of a mediaeval page.
no MY TRIP ABROAD
It is good to see her again and we fix up a bit of a party
and get into Dudley's petrol wagon, and as we bowl along
we sing songs, ancient songs of the music halls, "After the
Ball," "The Man that Broke the Bank of Monte Carlo,"
and many another which I had not thought of in years.
Presently the wagon becomes balky and will not continue.
So we all pile out and into a tavern near by, where we call
And Dudley played upon the tin-pan-sounding piano.
There came one, a tall, strange, pale youth, who asked if we
would like to go to the haunt of the Agile Rabbit. Thence
uphill and into a cavernous place. When the patron came
the youth ordered wine for us. Somehow I think he sensed
the fact that I wanted to remain incognito.
The patron was such a perfect host. Ancient and white
bearded, he served us with a finesse that was pure artistry.
Then at his command one named Rene Chedecal, with a
sad, haunted face, played upon the violin.
That little house sheltered music that night. He played
as if from his soul, a me-ssage yearning, passionate, sad, gay,
and we were speechless before the emotional beauty and
mystery of it.
I was overcome. I wanted to express my appreciation,
but could do no more than grasp his hand. Genius breeds
in strange places and humble.
And then the bearded one sang a song that he said the fol-
lowers of Lafayette had sung before they left France for
America. And all of us joined in the chorus, singing "Apris
de ma blonde" lustily.
Then a young chap did two songs from Verlaine, and a
poet with considerable skill recited from his own poems.
How effective for the creator of a thought to interpret it.
And afterward the violin player gave us another selection of
great beauty, one of his own compositions.
Then the old patron asked me to put my name in his
ledger, which contained many names of both humble and
famous. I drew a picture of my hat, cane, and boots, which
OFF TO FRANCE in
is my favorite autograph. I wrote, "I would sooner be a
gypsy than a movie man," and signed my name.
Home in the petrol wagon, which by this time had become,
manageable again. An evening of rareness. Beauty, excite-
ment, sadness and contact with human, lovable personalities.
Waldo Frank called the next day, bringing with him
Jacques Copeau, one of the foremost dramatists and actors
in France, who manages and directs in his own theater. We
go to the circus together and I never saw so many sad-faced
clowns. We dine together, and late that night I have sup-
per with Copeau's company in a cafe in the Latin Quarter.
It is a gay evening, lasting until about three in the morning.
Frank and I set out to walk home together, but the section
is too fascinating. Along about four o'clock we drift into
another cafe, dimly lit but well attended. We sit there for
some time, studying the various occupants.
Over in one corner a young girl has just leaned over and
kissed her sailor companion. No one seems to notice. All
the girls here seem young, but their actions stamp their
vocations. Music, stimulating, exotic, and for the dance, is
being played. The girls are very much alive. They are
putting their hats on the men's heads.
There are three peasant farmer boys, in all probability.
They seem very much embarrassed as three tiny girls, bright
eyed and red lipped, join them for a drink. I can see fire
smoldering in their dull faces in spite of their awkwardness
in welcoming the girls.
An interesting figure, Corsican, I should say, is very con-
spicuous. A gentleman by his bearing, debonair and grace-
ful, he looks the very picture of an impecunious count. He
is visiting all the tables in the cafe. At most of them he
calls the girls by their first names.
He is taking up a collection for the musicians. Everyone
is contributing liberally. With each tinkle of a coin in the
hat the Corsican bows elaborately and extends thanks. He
finishes the collection.
"On with the dance," he shouts. "Don't let the music
112 MY TRIP ABROAD
stop," as he rattles the money. Then he puts his hand in
his pocket and draws forth a single centime piece. It is
very small, but his manner is that of a philanthropist.
"I give something, no matter how small; you notice,
ladies and gentlemen, that I give something," and he drops
his coin in the hat and bows.
The party progresses rapidly. They have started singing
and have had just enough drink to make them matidlin.
MY VISIT TO GERMANY
THE train to Germany left so late in the evening that it
was impossible for me to see devastated France even
though we passed through a considerable portion of it. Our
compartment on the train is very stuffy and smelly and the
train service is atrocious, food and sanitary conditions being
intolerable after American train service.
Again there is a crowd at the station to see me off, but I
am rather enjoying it. A beautiful French girl presents me
with a bouquet of flowers with a cute little speech, or at
least I suppose it was, because she looked very cute deliver-
ing it, and the pouts that the language gave to her red lips,
were most provocative. She tells me in delicious broken
English that I look tired and sad, and I find myself yielding
without a struggle to her suggestion.
We arrive at Joumont near the Belgian frontier along
about midnight, and, like a message from home, there is a
gang of American soldier boys at the station to greet me.
And they are not alone, for French, Belgian, and British
troops are also waving and cheering. I wanted to talk to the
Belgians, and we tried it, but it was no use. What a pity!
But one of them had a happy inspiration and saved the
"Glass of beer. Chariot?"
I nod, smiling. And to my surprise they bring me beer,
which I lift to my lips for politeness, and then drink it to
the last drop in pure pleasure. It is very good beer.
114 MY TRIP ABROAD
There is a group of charming Httle Belgian girls. They
are smiling at me shyly and I so want to say something to
them. But I can't. Ah, the bouquet! Each little girl gets
a rose and they are delighted.
"Merci, merci, monsieur." And they keep "merciing"
and bowing until the train pulls out of the station, which
emboldens them to join the soldiers in a cheer.
Through an opening between the railroad structures I
see a brilliant lighting display. It is universal, this sign.
Here is a movie in this tiny village. What a wonderful
medium, to reach such an obscure town.
On the train I am being told that my pictures have not
played in Germany, hence I am practically unknown there.
This rather pleases me because I feel that I can relax and be
away from crowds.
Everyone on the train is nice and there is no trouble.
Conductors struggle with English for my benefit, and the
customs officers make but little trouble. In fact, we cross
the border at three in the morning and I am asleep. Next
morning I find a note from the customs man saying : ' ' Good
luck, Charlie. You were sleeping so soundly that I did not
have the heart to wake you for inspection."
Germany is beautiful. Germany belies the war. There
are people crowding the fields, tilling the soil, working fever-
ishly all the time as our train rushes through. Men, women,
and children are all at work. They are facing their problem
and rebuilding. A great people, perverted for and by a few.
The different style of architecture here is interesting.
Factories are being built everywhere. Surely this isn't
conquered territory. I do not see much live stock in the
fields. This seems strange.
A dining car has been put on the train and the waiter
comes to our compartment to let us know that we may eat.
Here is a novelty. A seven-course dinner, with wine, soup,
meat, vegetables, salad, dessert, coffee, and bread for
twenty-eight cents. This is made possible by the low rate
MY VISIT TO GERMANY 115
We go to the Adlon Hotel in Berlin and find that hostelry
jammed, owing to the auto races which are being run off at
this time. A different atmosphere here. It seems hard for
me to relax and get the normal reaction to meeting people.
They don't know me here. I have never been heard of. It
interests me and I believe I resent it just a bit.
I notice how abrupt and polite the Germans are to for-
eigners, and I detect a tinge of bitterness, too. I am won-
dering about my pictures making their debut here. I ques-
tion the power of my personality without its background of
I am feeling more restful under this disinterested treat-
ment, but somehow I wish that my pictures had been
shown here. The people at the hotel are very courteous.
They have been told that I am the "white-headed boy and
quite the guy in my home town." Their reactions are amus-
ing. I am not very impressive-looking and they are finding
it hard to believe.
There is quite a crowd in the lobby and a number of
Americans and English. They are not long in finding me,
and a number of English, French, and American reporters
start making a fuss over me. The Geimans just stand and
look on, bewildered.
Carl von Weigand comes forward with the offer of the use
of his office while I am here. The Germans are impressed
with all this, but they show no enthusiasm. I am accepted
in an offhand way as some cae of importance and they let
it go at that.
The Scala Theater, where I spent the evening, is most
interesting, though I think a bit antiquated when compared
with English and American theatrical progress along the
same lines. It seats about five thousand, mostly on one
floor, with a very small balcony. It is of the variety, music-
hall type, showing mostly "dumb" acts. Acts that do not
talk or sing, like comic jugglers, acrobats, and dancers.
I am amused by a German comedian singing a song of
about twenty verses, but the audience is enthused and voices
Ii6 MY TRIP ABROAD
its approval at every verse. During the intermission we
have frankfurters and beer, which are served in the theater.
I notice the crowds. They go to the theater there as a fam-
ily. It is just that type of an affair.
I notice the different types of beauty, though beauty is
not very much in evidence here. Here and there are a few
pretty girls, but not many. It is interesting to watch the
people strolling during the intermission, drinking lager and
eating all sorts of food.
Leaving the theater, we visit the Scala Cafe, a sort of
impressionistic casino. The Scala is one of the largest cafes
in Berlin, where the modernist style in architecture has been
carried out fully.
The walls are deep mottled sea green, shading into light
verdigris and emerald, leaning outward at an angle, thereby
producing an effect of collapse and forward motion. The
junction of the walls and the ceiling is, broken into irregular
slabs of stone, like the strata of a cave. Behind these the
lights are hidden, the whole system of illumination being
based on reflection.
The immense dislocation of the planes and angles of the
vaultlike ceiling is focused on the central point, the huge
silver star or crystal bursting like an exploding bomb through
the roof. The whole effect is weird, almost ominous. The
shape of the room in its ground plan is itself irregular — the
impression is that of a frozen catastrophe. Yet this feeling
seems to be in accord with the mood of revelers in Germany
From there to the Palais Heinroth, the most expensive
place in Berlin and the high spot of night life. It is con-
spicuous in its brilliance, because Berlin as a city is so badly
lighted. At night the streets are dark and gloomy, and it
is then that one gets the effect of war and defeat.
At the Heinroth everybody was in evening dress. We
weren't. My appearance did not cause any excitement.
We check our hats and coats and ask for a table. The man-
ager shrugs his shoulders. There is one in the back, a most
MY VISIT TO GERMANY 117
obscure part of the room. This brings home forcibly the
absence of my reputation. It nettled me. Well, I wanted
rest. This was it.
We are about to accept humbly the isolated table, when I
hear a shriek and I am slapped on the back and there's a
It is Al Kaufman of the Lasky corporation and manager
of the Famous Players studio in Berlin.
* ' Come over to our table. Pola Negri wants to meet you. ' '
Again I come into my own. The Germans look on, won-
dering. I have created attention at last. I discover that
there is an American jazz band in the place. In the middle
of a number they stop playing and shout :
"Hooray for Charlie Chaplin!"
The proprietor shrugs his shoulders and the band resumes
playing. I learn that the musicians are former American
doughboys. I feel rather pleased that I have impressed the
Germans in the place.
In our party were Rita Kaufman, wife of Al, Pola Negri,
Carl Robinson, and myself.
Pola Negri is really beautiful. She is Polish and really
true to the type. Beautiful jet-black hair, white, even teeth
and wonderful coloring. I think it such a pity that such
coloring does not register on the screen.
She is the center of attraction here. I am introduced.
What a voice she has! Her mouth speaks so prettily the
German language. Her voice has a soft, mellow quality,
with charming inflections. Offered a drink, she clinks my
glass and offers her only English words, "Jazz boy Charlie."
Language again stumps me. What a pity ! But with the
aid of a third party we get along famously. Kaufman whis-
pers: "Charlie, you've made a hit. She just told me that
you are charming."
"You tell her that she's the loveliest thing I've seen in
Europe." These compliments keep up for some time, and
then I ask Kaufman how to say, "I think you are divine"
ii8 MY TRIP ABROAD
in German. He tells me something in German and I repeat
it to her.
She's startled and looks up and slaps my hand. " Naughty-
boy," she says.
The table roars. I sense that I have been double-crossed
by Kaufman. What have I said ? But Pola joins in the joke,
and there is no casualty. I learn later that I have said, "I
think you are terrible." I decided to go home and learn
As I am going out the proprietor approaches and very
formally addresses me: "I beg pardon, sir. I understand
that you are a great man in the United States. Accept my
apologies for not knowing, and the gates here are always
open to you." I accept them formally, though through it
all I feel very comic opera. I didn't like the proprietor.
I want to go through the German slums. I mention such
a trip to a German newspaper man. I am told that I am just
like every Londoner and New-Yorker who comes to Berlin
for the first time; that I want the Whitechapel district, the
Bowery of Berlin, and that there is no such district. Once
upon a time there were hovels in Berlin, but they have long
This to me is a real step toward civilization.
My newspaper friend tells me that he will give me the
next best thing to the slums, and we go to Krogel. What a
picture could be made here! I am fascinated as I wander
through houses mounted on shaky stilts and courts ancient
Then we drove to Acker Street and gazed into courts and
basements. In a cafe we talked to men and women and
drank beer. I almost launched a new war when, wishing to
pay a charge of one hundred and eighty marks, I pulled from
my pocket a roll of fifty one-thousand-mark notes.
My friend paid the check quickly with small change and
hustled me out, telling me of the hard faces and criminal
types who were watching. He's probably right, but I love
those poor, humble people.
MY VISIT TO GERMANY 119
We drove to the arbor colonies in the northern part of the
city, stopping at some of the arbors to talk to the people.
I feel that I would like to eat dinner here among these peo-
ple, but I haven't sufficient courage to persuade my com-
panion, who wouldn't think of it. Passing through the
northern part of Berlin, I found many beauties which, my
friend let me know, were not considered beautiful at all.
He even suggested that he show me something in contrast
with all I had seen. I told him no, that it would spoil my
It has been rather a restful experience, going through the
whole town without being recognized, but even as I am
thinking it a fashionable lady and her young daughter pass,
and by their smiles I know that I am again discovered.
And then we meet Fritz Kreisler and his wife, who are
just leaving for Munich. We have quite a chat and then
make tentative engagements to be carried out in Los Angeles
on his next trip there.
I notice that the Germans seem to be scrupulously honest,
or maybe this was all the more noticeable to me because of
genial and unsuspicious treatment by a taxi driver. We
left the cab many times and were gone as long as half an
hour at a time, and out of sight, yet he always waited and
never suggested that he be paid beforehand.
In the business section we pass many cripples with embit-
tered, sullen looks on their faces. They look as though they
had paid for something which they hadn't received. We are
approached by a legless soldier beggar in a faded German
uniform. Here was the war's mark. These sights you will
find on every side in Berlin.
I am presented with a police card to the Berliner Club,
which is evidently a technicality by which the law is cir-
cumvented. Berlin is full of such night-life clubs. They are
somewhat like the gatherings that prohibition has brought
There are no signs, however, from the outside of any
activity, and you are compelled to go up dark passages an4
I20 MY TRIP ABROAD
suddenly come upon gayly lit rooms very similar to Parisian
Dancing and popping corks are the first impression as I
enter. We are taken in hand by two girls and they order
drinks for us. The girls are very nervous. In fact, the whole
night life of this town seems to be nervous, neurotic, over-
The girls dance, but very badly. They do not seem to
enjoy it and treat it as part of the job. They are very much
interested in my friend, who seems to have the money for
the party. On these occasions my secretary always carries
the family roll, and they are paying much attention to him.
I sit here rather moody and quiet, though one of the girls
works hard to cheer me up. I hear her asking Robinson
what is the matter with me. I smile and become courteous.
But, her duty done, she turns again to Robinson.
I am piqued. Where is that personality of mine? I have
been told many times that I have it. But here it is con-
vincingly shown that personality has no chance against
But I am beginning to get so much attention from my
friends that one of the girls is noticing me. She senses that
I am some one important, but she can't quite make it out.
"Who is this guy, an English diplomat?" she whispers to
Robinson. He whispers back that I am a man of consider-
able importance in the diplomatic service. I smile benevo-
lently and they become more interested.
I am treating her rather paternally and am feeling philo-
sophical. I ask about her life. What is she doing with it?
What ambitions? She is a great reader, she tells me, and
likes Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. But she shrugs her
shoulders in an indifferent and tragic manner and says,
"What does it matter about life?
"You make it what it is," she says. "In your brain alone
it exists and effort is only necessary for physical comfort."
We are becoming closer friends as she tells me this.
But she must have some objective, there must be some
MY VISIT TO GERMANY 121
dreams of the future still alive within her. I am very anx-
ious to know what she really thinks.
I ask her about the defeat of Germany. She becomes dis-
creet at once. Blames it on the Kaiser. She hates war and
militarism. That's all I can get out of her, and it is getting
late and we must leave. Her future intrigues me, but does
not seem to worry her.
On the way home we stop in at Kaufman's apartment
and have quite a chat about pictures and things back in
Los Angeles. Los Angeles seems very far away.
I am invited to a formal dinner party for the next evening
at the home of Herr'Werthauer, one of the most prominent
lawyers in all Europe and a chief of the Kaiser during the
war. The occasion for the dinner was to celebrate the an-
nouncement of Werthauer's engagement to his third wife.
His is a wonderful home in the finest section of Berlin.
At the party there are a number of his personal friends, Pola
Negri, Al Kaufman, Mrs. Kaufman, Robinson, and myself.
There is a Russian band playing native music all through
the dinner and jazz music is also being dispensed by two
orchestras made up of American doughboys who have been
discharged, but have stayed on in Germany.
For no reason at all, I think of the story of Rasputin.
This seems the sort of house for elaborate murders. Perhaps
it is the Russian music that is having this effect on me.
There is a huge marble staircase whose cold austereness sug-
gests all sorts of things designed to send chills up the spine.
The servants are so impressive and the meal such a cere-
mony that I feel that I am in a palace. The Russian folk-
songs that are being dreamily whined from the strings of
their peculiar instruments have a very weird effect and I
find food and dining the least interesting things here.
There is a touch of mystery, of the exotic, something so
foreign though intangible, that I find myself searching
everything and everybody, trying to delve deeper into this
We are all introduced, but there are too many people
122 MY TRIP ABROAD
for me to try to remember names. There are herrs, frau-
leins, and fraus galore and I find it hard to keep even their
sex salutations correct. Some one is making a long, formal
speech in German, and everybody is watching him at-
The host arises and offers a toast to his bride-to-be.
Everyone rises and drinks to their happiness. The party is
very formal and I can make nothing from the talk going on
all about me. The host is talking and then all get up again
with their glasses. Why, I don't know, but I get up with
At this there is general laughter, and I wonder what
calamity has befallen me. I wonder if my clothes are all
Then I understand. The host is about to toast me. He
does it in very bad English, though his gestures and tone
make it most graceful. He is inclined to be somewhat
pedantic and whenever he cannot think of the proper Eng-
lish word he uses its German equivalent.
As the various courses come the toasts are many. I am
always about two bites late in getting to my feet with my
glass. After I have been toasted about four times, Mrs.
Kaufman leans over and whispers, "You should toast back
again to the host and say something nice about his bride-
I am almost gagged with the stage fright that grips me.
If is the custom to toast back to the host and here I have
been gulping down all kinds of toasts without a word. And
he had been sitting there waiting for me.
I rise and hesitate. "Mr. — "
I feel a kick on the shins and I hear Mrs. Kaufman whisper
I think she means the bride-to-be. "Mrs. — " No, she
isn't that yet. Heavens ! this is terrible.
I plunge in fast and furious. "My very best respects to
your future wife." As I speak I look at a young girl at the
MY VISIT TO GERMANY 123
head of the table whom I thought was the lucky woman. I
am all wrong. I sit, conscious of some horrible mistake.
He bows and thanks me. Mrs. Kaufman scowls and says :
"That's not the woman. It's the one on the other side."
I have a suppressed convulsion and almost die, and as she
points out the real bride-to-be I find myself laughing hys-
terically into my soup. Rita Kaufman is laughing with me.
Thank heaven for a sense of humor.
I am so weak and nervous that I am almost tempted to
leave at once. The bride-to-be is reaching for her glass to
return my salute, though unless she thinks I am cross-eyed
I don't see how she knows I said anything nice to her.
But she gets no chance to speak. There is launched a
long-winded pedantic speech from the host, who says that
on such rare occasions as this it is customary to uncork the
best in the cellar. This point gets over in great shape and
everybody is smiling.
I even feel myself growing radiant. I was under the im-
pression that the best had already been served. Didn't
know he was holding back anything. With the promise of
better wine I am tempted to trying another toast to the
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON
THE first night in Paris after our return from Germany
we dined at Pioccardi's, then walked up to the arches of
the old gates of Paris. Our intention was to visit the Louvre
and see the statue of Venus de Milo, but it only got as far
We drifted into the Montmartre district and stopped in
Le Rate Mort, one of its most famous restaurants. As it is
very early in the evening, there are very few people about,
one reason why I picked out this place, which later in the
night becomes the center of hectic revelry.
Passing our table is a striking-looking girl with bobbed
blond hair, shadowing beautiful, delicate features of pale
coloring and soft, strange eyes of a violet blue. Her passing
is momentary, but she is the most striking-looking girl I
have seen in Europe.
Although there are but few people here, I am soon recog-
nized. The French are so demonstrative. They wave,
I am indifferent. I smile mechanically. I am tired. I
shall go to bed early. I order champagne.
The bobbed-hair one is sitting at a table near us. She
interests me. But she doesn't turn so that I can see her
face. She is sitting facing her friend, a dark, Spanish-looking
J wish she'd turn. She has a beautiful profile, but I
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON 125
would like to see her full face again. She looked so lovely
when she passed me. I recall that ghost of a smile that
hovered near her mouth, showing just a bit of beautiful,
even, white teeth.
The orchestra is starting and dancers are swinging onto
the floor. The two girls rise and join the dance. I will
watch closely now and perhaps get another flash at her when
she whirls by.
There is something refined and distinguished about the
little girl. She is different. Doesn't belong here. I am
watching her very closely, though she has never once looked
my way. I like this touch of the unusual in Montmartre.
Still she may be just clever.
She is passing me in the dance and I get a full view of her
face. One of real beauty, with a sensitive mouth, smiling
at her friend and giving a complete view of the beautiful
teeth. Her face is most expressive. The music stops and
they sit at their table.
I notice that there is nothing on their table. They are
not drinking. This is strange, here. Nor are there sand-
wiches or coffee. I wonder who they are. That girl is some-
body. I know it.
She gets up as the orchestra plays a few strains of a plain-
tive Russian thing. She is singing the song. Fascinating!
An artist ! Why is she here ? I must know her.
The song itself is plaintive, elemental, with the insinuating
nuances that are vital to Russian music. The orchestra,
with the violins and cellos predominant, is playing haunt-
ingly, weaving a foreign exotic spell.
She has poise, grace, and is compelling attention even in
this place. There comes a bit of melancholy in the song
and she sings it as one possessed, giving it drama, pathos.
Suddenly there is a change. The music leaps to wild aban-
don. She is with it. She tosses her head like a wild Hun-
garian gypsy and gives fire to every note. But almost as
it began, the abandon is over. With wistful sweetness, she
is singing plaintively again.
126 MY TRIP ABROAD
She is touching every human emotion in her song. At
times she is tossing away care, then gently wooing, an
elusive strain that is almost fairylike, that crescendos into
tragedy, going into a crashing climax that diminishes into
an ending, searching, yearning and wistfully sad.
Her personality is written into every mood of the song.
She is at once fine, courageous, pathetic and wild. She
finished to an applause that reflected the indifference of the
place. In spots it was spontaneous and insistent. In others
little attention was paid to her. She is wasted here.
But she cares not. In her face you can see that she gets
her applause in the song itself. It was glorious, just to be
singing with heart, soul and voice. She smiles faintly, then
sits down modestly.
I knew it. She is Russian. She has everything to suggest
it. Full of temperament, talent and real emotional ability,
hidden away here in Le Rate Mort. What a sensation she
would be in America with a little advertising. This is just
a thought, but all sorts of schemes present themselves to me.
I can see her in "The Follies" with superb dressing and
doing just the song she had done then. I did not under-
stand a word of it, but I felt every syllable. Art is universal
and needs no language. She has everything from gentle-
ness to passion and a startling beauty. I am applauding
too much, but she looks and smiles, so I am repaid.
They dance again, and while they are gone I call the
waiter and have him explain to the manager that I would
like to be presented to her. The manager introduces her
and I invite her to my table. She sits there with us, while
her companion, the dark girl, does a solo dance.
She talks charmingly and without restraint. She speaks
three languages — Russian, French, and English. Her father
was a Russian general during the Czar's reign. I can see
now where she gets her imperious carriage.
"Are you a Bolshevik?"
She flushes as I ask it, and her lips pout prettily as she
struggles with English. She seems all afire.
MY FAVORITE CLOSE-UP
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON 127
"No, they are wicked. Bolshevik man, he's very bad."
Her eyes flash as she speaks.
"Then you are bourgeoisie?"
"No, but not a Bolshevik." Her voice suggests a tre-
mendous vitality, though her vocabulary is limited. "Bol-
.shevik good idea for the mind, but not for practice."
"Has it had a fair opportunity?" I ask her.
"Plenty. My father, my mother, my brother all in Rus-
sia and very poor. Mother is Bolshevik, father bourgeoisie.
Bolshevik man very impudent to me. I want to kill him.
He insult me. What can I do? I escape. Bolshevik good
idea, but no good for life."
"What of Lenin?"
"Very clever man. He tried hard for Bolshevik — but no
good for everybody — just in the head."
I learn that she was educated in a convent and that she
had lost all trace of her people. She earns her living singing
here. She has been to the movies, but has never seen me.
She "is go first chance because I am nice man."
I ask her if she would like to go into moving pictures.
Her eyes light up. "If I get opportunity I know I make
success. But " — she curls her mouth prettily — "it's difficult
to get opportunity."
She is just twenty years old and has been in the cafe for
two weeks, coming there from Turkey, to which country
she fled following her escape from Russia.
I explain that she must have photographic tests made and
that I will try^ to get her a position in America. She puts
everything into her eyes as she thanks me. She looks like
a combination of Mary Pickford and Pola Negri plus her
own distinctive beauty and personality. Her name is
"Skaya." I write her full name and address in my book
and promise to do all I can for her. And I mean to. We say
"Good night," and she says she feels that I will do what I
say. How has she kept hidden?
Due at Sir Philip Sassoon's for a garden party the next
day, I decide to go there in an airplane and I leave the Le
128 MY TRIP ABROAD
Bourget aerodrome in Paris in a plane of La Compagnie des
Messageries Aeriennes, and at special request the pilot
landed me at Lympe in Kent and I thereby avoided the
crowd that would have been on hand in London.
It was quite thrilling and I felt that I made a very effective
entrance to the party.
And what a delightful retreat ! All the charm of an Eng-
lish country home, and Sir Philip is a perfect host. I ^et
English food and treatment. I have a perfect rest, with no
duties, and entertainment as I desire it. A day and a half
that are most pleasant !
Next day there is to be a ceremonial in the schooUiouse,
when a memorial is to be unveiled. It is in honor of the
boys of the town who had fallen. There are mothers, fathers,
and many old people, some of them old in years, others aged
by the trials of the war.
The simple affair is most impressive and the streets are
crowded on our way. I was to blame for an unhappy con-
trast. Outside people were shouting, ' ' Hooray for Charlie ! "
while inside souls were hushed in grief.
Such a discordant note. I wished I had not been so promi-
nent. I wanted everyone to bow in respect to these dead.
The crowds did not belong outside.
And inside, on the little children's faces, I could see con-
flicting emotions. There is the reverence for the dead and
yet there is eagerness as they steal glances at me. I wish I
hadn't come. I feel that I am the disturbing element.
From the school Sir Philip and I went to the Star and
Garter hospital for wounded soldiers. Sheer tragedy was
Young men suffering from spinal wounds, some of them
with legs withered, some suffering from shell shock. No
hope for them, yet they smiled.
There was one whose hands were all twisted and he was
painting signs with a brush held between his teeth. I looked
at the signs. They were mottoes : "Never Saj'' Die." "Are
We Downhearted?" A superman.
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON 129
Here is a lad who must take an anaesthetic whenever his
nails are cut because of his twisted limbs. And he is smiling
and to all appearances happy. The capacity that God gives
for suffering is so tremendous, I marvel at their endurance.
I inquire about food and general conditions. , They sug-
gest that the food could be better. This is attended to.
We are received politely and with smiles from the crippled
lads who are crippled in flesh only. Their spirit is boisterous.
I feel a puny atom as they shout, "Good luck to you,
I can't talk. There is nothing for me to say. I merely
smile and nod and shake hands whenever this is possible.
I sign autographs for as many as ask and I ask them to give
me their autographs. I honestly want them.
One jovially says, "Sure, and Bill will give you one, too."
There is an uproar of laughter and BiU laughs just as loud
as the rest. Bill has no arms.
But he bests them. He will sign at that. And he does.
With his teeth. Such is their spirit. What is to become of
them? That is up to you and me.
Back to Sir Philip's, very tired and depressed. We dine
late and I go to my room and read Waldo Frank's Dark
Mothers. The next day there is tennis and music and in the
evening I leave for London, where I am to meet H. G.
Wells and go with him to his country home.
I am looking forward to this Saturday, Sunday, and
Monday as an intellectual holiday. I meet H. G. at White-
hall and he is driving his own car. He is a very good chauf-
We talk politics and discuss the Irish settlement and I
tell him of my trip to Germany. That leads to a discussion
of the depreciation in the value of the mark. What will be
the outcome? Wells thinks financial collapse. He thinks
that marks issued as they are in Germany will be worthless.
I am feeling more intimate and closer to him. There is
no strain in talking, though I am still a bit self-conscious
and find myself watching myself closely.
130 MY TRIP ABROAD
We are out in the country, near Lady Warwick's estate,
and H. G. tells me how the beautiful place is going to seed,
that parts of it are being divided into lots and sold.
The estate, with its live stock, is a show place. It is
breeding time for the deer and from the road we can hear
the stags bellowing. H. G. tells me they are dangerous at
this time of the year.
At the gate of the Wells estate a young lad of ten greets
us with a jovial twinkling of the eye and a brisk manner.
There is no mistaking him. He is H. G.'s son. There is the
same molding of the structure and the same rounded face
and eyes. H. G. must have looked that way at his age.
"Hello, dad," as he jumps on the running board.
"This is Charlie," H. G. introduces me.
He takes my grip. "How do?" and I make a bromide
about what a fine boy he is and all that sort of thing.
Mrs. Wells is a charming little lady with keen, soft eyes
that are always smiling and apparently searching and seek-
ing something. A real gentlewoman, soft voiced, also with
humorous lines playing around her mouth.
Everyone seems busy taking me into the house, and once
there H. G. takes me all over it, to my room, the dining room,
the sitting room and, an extra privilege, to his study. "My
workshop," he calls it.
"Here's where the great events in the history of the world
He smiles and says "yes." The Outline of History was
The room is not yet finished, and it is being decorated
around the fireplace by paintings made by himself and wife.
"I paint a bit," he explains. There is also some tapestry
woven by his mother.
"Here is a place if you want to escape when the strain is
too much for you. Come here and relax." I felt that this
was his greatest hospitality. But I never used the room.
I had a feeling about that, too.
The study is simple and very spare of furniture. There is
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON 131
an old-fashioned desk and I get the general impression of
books, but I can remember but one, the dictionary. Rare
observation on my part to notice nothing but a dictionary,
and this was so huge as it stood on his desk that I couldn't
There is a lovely view from the house of the countryside,
with wide stretches of land and lovely trees, where deer are
roaming around unafraid.
Mrs. Wells is getting lunch and we have it outdoors.
Junior is there, the boy — I call him that already. Their
conversation is rapid, flippant. Father and son have a
profound analytical discussion about the sting of a wasp as
one of the insects buzzed around the table.
It is a bit strange to me and I cannot get into the spirit
of it, though it is very funny. I just watch and smile. Junior
is very witty. He tops his father with jokes, but I sense the
fact that H. G. is playing up to him. There is a twinkle in
H. G.'s eye. He is proud of his boy. He should be.
After lunch we walk about the grounds and I doze most
of the afternoon in the summerhouse. They leave me alone
and I have my nap out.
A number of friends arrive later in the evening and we are
introduced all around. Most of these are literary, and the
discussion is learned. St. John Ervine, the dramatist and
author of John Ferguson, came in later in the evening.
Ervine discusses the possibility of synchronizing the voice
with motion pictures. He is very much interested. I ex-
plain that I don't think the voice is necessary, that it spoils
the art as much as painting statuary. I would as soon rouge
marble cheeks. Pictures are pantomimic art. We might
as well have the stage. There would be nothing left to the
Another son comes in. He is more like his mother. We
all decide to play charades and I am selected as one of the
actors. I play Orlando, the wrestler, getting a lot of fun
through using a coal hod as a helmet. Then Noah's Ark,
with Junior imitating the different animals going into the
132 MY TRIP ABROAD
ark, using walking sticks as horns for a stag, and putting a
hat on the end of the stick for a camel, and making elephants
and many other animals through adroit, quick changes. I
played old Noah and opened an umbrella and looked at the
sky. Then I went into the ark and they guessed.
Then H. G. Wells did a clog dance, and did it very well.
We talked far into the night, and I marveled at Wells's
vitality. We played many mental guessing games and Junior
took all honors.
I was awakened next morning by a chorus outside my door :
"We want Charlie Chaplin." This was repeated many
times. They had been waiting breakfast half an hour for me.
After breakfast we played a new game of H. G.'s own
invention. Everyone was in it and we played it in the bam.
It was a combination of handball and tennis, with rules
made by H. G. Very exciting and good fun.
Then a walk to Lady Warwick's estate. As I walk I recall
how dramatic it had sounded last night as I was in bed to
hear the stags bellowing, evidently their cry of battle.
The castle, with beautiful gardens going to seed, seemed
very sad, yet its ruins assumed a beauty for me. I liked it
better that way. Ruins are majestic.
H. G. explains that everyone about is land poor. It takes
on a fantastic beauty for me, this cultivation of centuries now
going to seed, beautiful in its very tragedy.
Home for tea, and in the evening I teach them baseball.
Here is my one chance to shine. It is funny to see H. G.
try to throw a curve and being caught at first base after
hitting a grounder to the pitcher. H. G. pitched, and his
son caught. As a baseball player H. G. is a great writer.
Dinner that night is perfect, made more enjoyable for our
strenuous exercise. As I retire that night I think of what
a wonderful holiday I am having.
Next day I must leave at 2.30 p.m., but in the morning
H. G. and I take a walk and visit an old country church
built in the eleventh century. A man is working on a tomb-
stone in the churchyard, engraving an epitaph.
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON 133
H. G. points out the influence of the different lords of the
manor on the art changes of different periods. Here the
famiHes of Lady Warwick and other notable people are
buried. The tombstones show the influence of the sculpture
of all periods.
We go to the top of the church and view the surrounding
country and then back home for lunch. My things are all
packed and H. G. and his son see me off. H. G. reminds
me not to forget another engagement to dine with him and
Chaliapin, the famous Russian barytone.
As I speed into town I am wondering if Wells wants to
know me or whether he wants me to know him. I am cer-
tain that now I have met Wells, really met him, more than
I've met anyone in Europe. It's so worth while.
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON
I HAD promised to attend the primiire showing of "The
Kid" in Paris, and I went back to the French capital as
I came, via airplane. The trip was uneventful, and on land-
ing and going to my hotel I find a message from Doug
Fairbanks. He and Mary had arrived in Paris and were
stopping at the Crillon, They asked me over for a chat
but I was too tired. Doug promised to attend the pre-
midre at the Trocadero Theater.
During the afternoon there came 250 souvenir programs
to be autographed. These were to be sold that night for
100 francs each.
In the evening I went to the theater via the back way,
but there was no escape. It was the biggest demonstration
I had yet seen. For several blocks around the crowds
were jammed in the streets and the gendarmes had their
Paris had declared a holiday for this occasion, and as the
proceeds of the entertainment were to be given to the fund
for devastated France the elite of the country were there.
I am introduced to Ambassador Herrick, then shown to
my box and introduced to the Ministers of the French
I do not attempt to remember names, but the following
list has been preserved for me by my secretary :
M. Menard, who attended on behalf of President Milla-
rand; M. Jusserand, M. Herbette, M. Careron, M. Loucheur,
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON ^135
Minister of the 'Liberated Regions; M. Hermite, Col. and
Mrs. H. H. Harjes, Miss Hope Harjes, Mr. and Mrs.Ridgeley
Carter, Mrs. Arthur James, Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt, Mrs.
Rutherford Stuyvesant, Walter Berry, M. de Errazu,
Marquis de Vallambrosa, Mile. Cecile Sorel, Robert
Hostetter, M. Byron-Kuhn, Mr. and Mrs. Charles G. Loeb,
Florence O'Neill, M. Henri Lettelier, M. Georges Carpentier,
Paul C. Otey, Mr. arid Mrs. George Kenneth End, Prince
George of Greece, Princess Xenia, Prince Christopher, Lady
Sarah Wilson, Mrs. Elsa Maxwell, Princess Sutzo, Vice-
Admiral and Mrs. Albert P. Niblack, Comte and Comtesse
Cardelli, Duchess de Talleyrand, Col. and Mrs. N. D.
Jay, Col. Bunau Varila, Marquise de Talleyrand-Perigord,
Marquis and Marquise de Chambrun, Miss Viola Cross,
Miss Elsie De Wolf, Marquis and Marquise de Dampierre,
and Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Rousseau.
My box is draped with American and British flags, and
the applause is so insistent that I find I am embarrassed.
But there is a delicious tingle to it and I am feeling now
what Doug felt when his "Three Musketeers" was shown.
The programs which I autographed during the afternoon
are sold immediately and the audience wants more. I auto-
graph as many more as possible,
I am photographed many times and I sit in a daze through
most of it, at one time going back stage, though I don't
know why, except that I was photoed back there, too.
The picture was shown, but I did not see much of it.
There was too much to be seen in that audience.
At the end of the picture there came a messenger from the
Minister: "Would I come to his box and be decorated?"
I almost fell out of my box.
I grew sick. What would I say? There was no chance
to prepare. I had visions of the all-night preparation for
my speech in Southampton. This would be infinitely worse.
I couldn't even think clearly. Why do I pick out stunts
like that? I might have known that something would
136 MY TRIP ABROAD
But the floor would not open up for me to sink through
and there was no one in this friendly audience who could
help me in my dilemma, and the messenger was waiting
politely, though I imagined just a bit impatiently, so, sum-
moning what courage I had, I went to the box with about
the same feeling as a man approaching the guillotine.
I am presented to everybody. He makes a speech. It
is translated for me, but very badly. While he was speaking
I tried to think of something neat and appropriate, but all
my thoughts seemed trite. I finally realized that he was
finished and I merely said, "Merci," which, after all, was
about as good as I could have done.
And believe me, I meant "Merci" both in French and in
But the applause is continuing. I must say something,
so I stand up in the box and make a speech about the motion-
picture industry and tell them that it is a privilege for us
to make a presentation for such a cause as that of devastated
Somehow they liked it, or made me believe they did.
There was a tremendous demonstration and several bearded
men kissed me before I could get out. But I was blocked
in and the crowd wouldn't leave. At last the lights were
turned out, but still they lingered. Then there came an old
watchman who said he covld take us through an unknown
passage that led to the street.
We followed him and managed to escape, though there
was still a tremendous crowd to break through in the
street. Outside I meet Cami, who congratulates me,
and together we go to the Hotel Crillon to see Doug and
Mary and Doug are very kind in congratulating me,
and I tell them of my terrible conduct diuing the presenta-
tion of the decoration. I knew that I was wholly inadequate
for the occasion. I keep mumbling of my faux pas and
they try to make me forget my misery by telling me that
General Pershing is in the next room.
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON 137
I'll bet the general never went through a battle like the
one I passed through that night.
Then they wanted to see the decoration, which reminded
me that I had not yet looked at it myself. So I unrolled
the parchment and Doug read aloud the magic words from
the Minister of Instruction of the Public and Beaux Arts
which made Charles Chaplin, dramatist artist, an Officier
de Uinstruction Publique.
We sit there until three in the morning, discussing it,
and then I go back to my hotel tired but rather happy.
That night was worth all the trip to Europe.
At the hotel there was a note from Skaya. She had been
to the theater to see the picture. She sat in the gallery
and saw "The Kid," taking time off from her work.
Her note :
I saw picture. You are a grand man. My heart is joy. You must
be happy. I laugh — I cry. Skaya.
This little message was not the least of my pleasures
Elsie De Wolf was my hostess at luncheon . next day at
the Villa Trianon, Versailles, a most interesting and enjoy-
able occasion, where I met some of the foremost poets and
Returning to Paris, I meet Henry Wales, and we take a
trip through the Latin Quarter together. That night I
dine with Cami, Georges Carpentier, and Henri LeteUier.
Carpentier asks for an autograph and I draw him a picture
of my hat, shoes, cane, and mustache, my implements of
trade. Carpentier, not to be outdone, draws for me a huge
fist incased in a boxing glove.
I am due back in England next day to lunch with Sir
Philip Sassoon and to meet Llpyd George. Lord and Lady
Rock-Savage, Lady Diana Manners, and many other promi-
nent people are to be among the guests, and I am looking
forward to the luncheon eagerly.
We are going back by airplane, though Carl Robinson
138 MY TRIP ABROAD
lets me know that he prefers some other mode of travel.
On this occasion I am nervous and I say frequently that I
feel as though something is going to happen. This does
not make a hit with Carl.
We figure that by leaving at eight o'clock in the morning
we can make London by one o'clock, which will give me
plenty of time to keep my engagement.
But we hadn't been up long before we were lost in the
fog over the Channel and were forced to make a landing on
the French coast, causing a delay of two hours. But we
finally made it, though I was two hours late for my engage-
ment, and the thought of keeping Lloyd George and those
other people waiting was ghastly.
Our landing in England was made at the Croydon aero-
drome, and there was a big automobile waiting outside,
around which were several hundred people. The aero-
drome officials, assuming that the car was for me, hustled
me into it and it was driven off.
But it was not mine, and I found that I was not being
driven to the Ritz, but to the Majestic Theater in Clapham.
The chauffeur wore a mustache, and, though he looked
familiar, I did not recognize him. But very dramatically
he removed the mustache.
"I am Castleton Knight. A long time ago you promised
me to visit my theater. I have concluded that the only
way to get you there is to kidnap you. So kindly consider
I couldn't help but laugh, even as I thought of Lloyd
George, and I assured Mr. Knight that he was the first one
who had ever kidnaped me. So we went to the theater,
and I stayed an hour and surprised both myself and the
audience by making a speech.
Back at my hotel Sir Philip meets me and tells me that
Lloyd George couldn't wait, that he had a most important
engagement at four o'clock. I explained the airplane situ-
ation to Sir Philip and he was very kind. I feel that it was
most unfortunate, for it was my only opportunity to meet
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON 139
Lloyd George in these times, and I love to meet interesting
personages. I would like to meet Lenin, Trotzky, and the
This is to be my last night in England, and I have promised
to dine and spend the evening with my Cousin Aubrey.
One feels dutiful to one's cousin.
I also discover that this is the day I am to meet Chaliapin
and H. G. Wells. I phone H. G. and explain that this is
my last day, and of my promise to my cousin. H. G. is
very nice. He understands. You can only do these things
with such people.
My cousin calls for me at dusk in a taxi and we ride to
his home in Bayswater. London is so beautiful at this hour,
when the first lights are being turned on, and each light to
me is symbolical. They all mean life, and I wish some-
times I could peer behind all these lighted windows.
Reaching Aubrey's home, I notice a ntunber of people
on the other side of the street standing in the shadows.
They must be reporters, I think, and am slightly annoyed
that they should find me even here. But my cousin explains
hesitatingly that they are just friends of his waiting for a
look at me. I feel mean and naughty about this, as I recall
that I had requested him not to make a party of my visit.
I just wanted a family affair, with no visitors, and these
simple souls on the other side of the street were respecting
my wishes. I relent and tell Aubrey to ask them over,
anyway. They are all quite nice, simple tradesmen, clerks,
Aubrey has a saloon, or at least a hotel, as he calls it,
in the vicinity of Bayswater, and later in the evening I
suggest that we go there and take his friends with us.
Aubrey is shocked.
"No, not around to my place." Then they all demur.
They don't wish to intrude. I like this. Then I insist.
They weaken. He weakens.
We go to a pub. in a very respectable part of Bayswater
and enter the bar. The place is doing a flourishing business.
I40 MY TRIP ABROAD
There are a number of pictures of my brother Syd and my-
self all over the walls, in character and straight. The place
is packed to-night. It must be a very popular resort.
"What will you have?" I feel breezy. "Give the whole
saloon a drink."
Aubrey whispers, "Don't let them know you are here."
He says this for me.
But I insist. "Introduce me to all of them." I must
get him more custom.
He starts quietly whispering to some of his very personal
friends: "This is my cousin. Don't say a word."
I speak up rather loudly. "Give them all a drink." I
feel a bit vulgar to-night. I want to spend money like a
drunken sailor. Even the customers are shocked. They
hardly believe that it's Charlie Chaplin, who always avoids
publicity, acting in this vulgar way.
I am sure that some of them don't believe despite many
assurances. A stunt of my cousin's. But they drink,
reverently and with reserve, and then they bid me good
night, and we depart quietly, leaving Bayswater as respect-
able as ever.
To the house for dinner, after which some one brings
forth an old family album. It is just like all other family
"This is your great-granduncle and that is your great-
grandmother. This is Aunt Lucy. This one was a French
Aubrey says: "You know we have quite a good family
on your father's side." There are pictures of uncles who
are very prosperous cattle ranchers in South Africa. Wonder
why I don't hear from my prosp^erous relations.
This is the first time that I am aware of my family and
I am now convinced that we are true aristocrats, blue blood
of the first water.
Aubrey has children, a boy of twelve, whom I have
never met before. A fine boy. I suggest educating him.
We talk of it at length and with stress. "Let's keep up
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON 141
family tradition. He may be a member of Parliament or
perhaps President. He's a bright boy."
We dig up all the family and discuss them. The uncles in
Spain. Why, we Chaplins have populated the earth.
When I came I told Aubrey that I could stay only two
hours, but it is 4 a.m. and we are still talking. As we
leave Aubrey walks with me toward the Ritz.
We hail a Ford truck on the way and a rather dandified
young Johnny, a former officer, gives us a lift.
"Right you are. Jump on."
A new element, these dandies driving trucks, some of them
graduates of Cambridge and Oxford, of good families,
most of them, impecunious aristocrats. Perhaps it is the
best thing that could happen to such families.
This chap is very quiet and gentle. He talks mostly
of his truck and his marketing, which he thinks is quite a
game. He has been in the grocery business since the war
and has never made so much money. We get considerable
of his story as we jolt along in the truck.
He is providing groceries for all his friends in Bayswater,
and every morning at four o'clock he is on his way to the
market. He loves the truck. It is so simple to drive.
"Half a mo." He stops talking and pulls up for gas at a
pretty little white-tiled gas station. The station is all Ht
up, though it is but 5 a.m.
"Good morning. Give me about five gal,"
The cheery greeting means more than the simple words
that are said.
The lad recognizes me and greets me frankly, though
formally. It seems so strange to me to hear this truck driver
go along conversing in the easiest possible manner. A truck
driver who enjoyed truck driving.
He spoke of films for just a bit and then discreetly stopped,
thinking, perhaps, that I might not like to talk about them.
And, besides, he liked to talk about his truck.
He told us how wonderful it was to drive along in the
142 MY TRIP ABROAD
early morning with only the company of dawn and the
stars. He loved the silent streets, sleeping London. He
was enterprising, full of hopes and ambitions. Told how
he bartered. He knew how. His was a lovely business.
He was smoking a pipe and wore a Trilby hat, with a
sort of frock coat, and his neck was wrapped in a scarf. I
figured him to be about thirty years of age.
I nudged my cousin. Would he accept anything? We
hardly know whether or not to offer it, though he is going
out of his way to drive me to the Ritz.
He has insisted that it is no trouble, that he can cut
through to Covent Garden. No trouble. I tell the gas
man to fill it up and I insist on paying for the gas.
The lad protests, but I insist.
"That's very nice of you, really. But it was a pleasure
to have you," he says, as he gets back in his seat.
We cut through to Piccadilly and pull up at the Ritz
in a Ford truck. Quite an arrival.
The lad bids us good-by. "Delighted to have met you.
Hope you have a bully time. Too bad you are leaving.
Bon voyage. Come back in the spring. London is charming
then. Well, I must be off. I'm late. Good morning."
We talk him over on the steps as he drives away. He is
the type of an aristocrat that must live. He is made of the
stuff that marks the true aristocrat. He is an inspiration.
He talked just enough, never too much. The intonation of
his voice and his sense of beauty as he appreciated the dawn
stamped him as of the elite — the real elite, not the Blue
Loving adventure, virtuous, doing something all the time,
and loving the doing. What an example he is! He has
two stores. This is his first truck. He loves it. He is the
first of his kind that I have met. This is my last night in
England. I am glad that it brought me this contact with
I AM off in the morning for Southampton, miserable and
depressed. Crowds — the same crowds that saw me
come — are there. But they seem a bit more desirable. I
am leaving them. There are so many things I wish I had
done. It is pleasant to be getting this applause on my exit.
I do not doubt its sincerity now. It is just as fine and as
boisterous as it was when I arrived. They were glad to
see me come and are sorry I am going.
I feel despondent and sad. I want to hug all of them to
me. There is something so wistful about London, about
their kind, gentle appreciation. They smile tenderly as
I look this way, that way, over there — on every side it is
the same. They are all my friends and I am leaving them.
Will I sign this ? A few excited ones are shoving autograph
books at me, but most of them are under restraint, almost in
repose. They feel the parting. They sense it, but are send-
ing me away with a smile.
My car is full of friends going with me to Southampton.
They mean little at the moment. The crowd has me. Old,
old friends turn up, friends that I have been too busy to
see. Faithful old friends who are content just to get a
glimpse before I leave.
There's Freddy Whittaker, an old music-hall artist with
whom I once played. Just acquaintances, most of them,
but they all knew me, and had all shared, in spirit, my
success. All of them are at the station and all of them imder-
144 MY TRIP ABROAD
stand. They know that my Hfe has been full every minute
I have been here. There had been so much to do.
They knew and understood, yet they had come determined
just to see me, if only at the door of my carriage. I feel
very sad about them.
The train is about to pull out and everything is excite-
ment. Everyone seems emotional and there is a tense-
ness in the very atmosphere.
"Love to Alf and Amy," many of them whisper, those
who know my manager and his wife. I tell them that I am
coming back, perhaps next summer. There is applause.
"Don't forget," they shout. I don't think I could forget.
The trip to Southampton is not enjoyable. There is a
sadness on the train. A sort of embarrassed sentimentality
among my friends. Tom Geraghty is along. Tom is an
old American and he is all choked up at the thought of my
going back while he has to stay on in England. We are going
back to his land. We cannot talk much.
We go to the boat. Sonny is there to see me off. Sonny,
There is luncheon with my friends and there are crowds
of reporters. I can't be annoyed. There is nothing for
me to say. I can't even think. We talk, small talk, joke
Sonny is very matter-of-fact. I look at him and wonder
if he has ever known. He has always been so vague with
me. Has always met me in a joking way.
He leans over and whispers, "I thought you might like
this." It is a package. I almost know without asking that
it is a picture of Hetty. I am amazed. He understood all
the time. Was always alive to the situation. How England
covers up her feelings !
Everybody is off the boat but the passengers. My friends
stand on the dock and wave to me. I see everything in
their glowing faces — loyalty, love, sadness, a few tears.
There is a lump in my throat. I smile just as hard as I
can to keep them from seeing. I even smile at the reporters.
BON VOYAGE 145
They're darn nice fellows. I wish I knew them better.
After all, it's their job to ask questions and they have
been merely doing their job with me. Just doing their
jobs, as they see it. That spirit would make the world if
it were universal.
England never looked more lovely. Why didn't I go here?
Why didn't I do this and that? There is so much that I
missed. I must come back again. Will they be glad to see
me? As glad as I am to see them? I hope so. My cheek
is damp. I turn away and blot out the sadness. I am not
going to look back again.
A sweet little girl about eight years of age, full of laughing
childhood, is coming toward me with a bubbling voice.
Her very look commands me not to try to escape. I don't
think I want to escape from her.
"Oh, Mr. Chaplin," gurgled the little girl. "I've been
looking for you all over the boat. Please adopt me like you
did Jackie Coogan. We could smash windows together and
have lots of fun. I love your plays."
She takes my hand and looks up into my face. "They
are so clever and beautiful. Won't you teach me like you
taught him? He's so much like you. Oh, if I could only be
And with a rapt look on her little face she prattles on,
leaving me very few opportunities to get in a word, though
I prefer to listen rather than talk.
I wave good-by to my friends and then walk along with
her, going up and looking back at the crowd over the
Reporters are here. They scent something interesting
in my affair with the little girl. I answer all questions.
Then a photographer. We are photographed together. And
the movie men are getting action pictures. We are looking
back at my friends on shore.
The little girl asks: "Are they all actors and in the
movies? Why are you so sad? Don't you like leaving
England? There will be so many friends in America to
146 MY TRIP ABROAD
meet you. Why, you should be so happy because you have
friends all over the world!"
I tell her that it is just the parting — that the thought
of leaving is always sad. Life is always "Good-by." And
here I feel it is good-by to new friends, that my old ones
^are in America.
We walk arotmd the deck and she discusses the merits
of my pictures.
"Do you like drama?" I ask.
"No. I like to laugh, but I love to make people cry
myself. It must be nice to act 'cryie' parts, but I don't
like to watch them."
"And you want me to adopt you?"
"Only in the pictures, like Jackie. I would love to break
She has dark hair and a beautiful profile of the Spanish
type, with a delicately formed nose and a Cupid's bow sort
of mouth. Her eyes are sensitive, dark and shining, dancing
with life and laughter. As we talk I notice as she gets
serious she grows tender and full of childish love.
"You like smashing windows! You must be Spanish,"
I tell her.
"Oh no, not Spanish; I'm Jewish," she answers.
"That accounts for your genius."
"Oh, do you think Jewish people are clever?" she asks,
"Of course. All great geniuses had Jewish blood in them.
No, I am not Jewish," as she is about to put that question,
"but I am sure there must be some somewhere in me. I
"Oh, I am so glad you think them clever. You must
meet my mother. She's brilliant and -an elocutionist. She
recites beautifully, and is so clever at anything. And I
am sure you would like my father. He loves me so much
and I think he admires me some, too."
She chatters on as we walk around. Then suddenly:
"You look tired. Please tell me and I will run away."
BON VOYAGE 147
As the boat is pulling out her mother comes toward us
and the child introduces us with perfect formality and with-
out any embarrassment. She is a fine, cultured person.
"Come along, dear, we must go down to the second class.
We cannot stay here."
I make an appointment to lunch with the little girl on
the day after the morrow, and am already looking forward
I spend the greater part of the second day in reading books
by Frank Harris, Waldo Frank, Claude McKay and Major
Douglas's Economic Democracy.
The next day I met Miss Taylor, a famous moving-
picture actress of England, and Mr. Hepworth, who is a
director of prominence in Great Britain. Miss Taylor,
though sensitive, shy, and retiring, has a great bit of
They are making their first trip to America, and we soon
become good friends. We discuss the characteristics of
the American people, contrasting their youthful, frank
abruptness with the quiet, shy, and reserved Britisher.
I find myself running wild as I tell them of this land.
I explain train hold-ups, advertising signs, Broadway lights,
blatant theaters, ticket speculators, subways, the automat
and its big sister, the cafeteria. It has a great effect on my
friends and at times I almost detect unbelief. I find myself
wanting to show the whole thing to them and to watch their
At the luncheon next day the little girl is the soul of the
party. We discuss everything from art to ambitions. At
one moment she is full of musical laughter, and the next
she is excitedly discussing some happening aboard ship.
Her stories are always interesting. How do children see so
much more than grown-ups?
She has a great time. I must visit her father; he is so
much like me. He has the same temperament, and is such
a great daddy. He is so good to her. And she rattles on
148 MY TRIP ABROAD
Then again she thinks I may be tired. "Sit back now."
And she puts a pillow behind my head and bids me rest.
These moments with her make days aboard pass quickly
Carl Robinson and I are strolling around the top deck
the next day in an effort to get away from everyone, and I
notice some one looking up at a wire running between the
funnels of the ship. Perched on the wire is a little bird, and
I am wondering how it got there and if it had been there
since we left England.
The other watcher notices us. He turns and smiles.
"The little bird must think this is the promised land."
I knew at once that he was somebody. Those thoughts
belong only to poets. Later in the evening he joins us at
my invitation and I learn he is Easthope Martin, the com-
poser and pianist. He had been through the war and it
had left its stamp on this fine, sensitive soul. He had been
gassed. I could not imagine such a man in the trenches.
He is very frail of body, and as he talks I always
imagine his big soul at the bursting point with a pent-up
There is the inevitable concert on the last night of the
voyage. We are off the banks of Newfoundland, and in the
midst of a fog. Fog horns must be kept blowing at intervals,
hence the effect on the concert, particularly the vocal part,
We land at seven in the morning of a very windy day,
and it is eleven before we can get away. Reporters and
camera men fill the air during all that time, and I am rather
glad, because it shows Miss Taylor and Mr. Hepworth a
glimpse of what America is like. We arrange to meet that
night at Sam Goldwyn's for dinner.
Good-bys here are rather joyous, because we are all getting
off in the same land and there will be an opportunity to see
one another again.
My little friend comes to me excitedly and gives me a
present — a silver stamp box. 'T hope that when you write
SCENES FROM "sunn YSIDE," ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHOTO FLAYS
BON VOYAGE 149
your first letter you take a stamp from here and mail it to
She shakes hands. We are real lovers and must be careful.
She tells me not to overwork. "Don't forget to come
and see us; you must meet daddy. Good-by, Charlie."
She curtsies and is gone. I go to my cabin to wait until
we can land. There is a tiny knock. She comes in.
"Charlie, I couldn't kiss you out there in front of all those
people. Good-by, dear. Take care of yourself." This is
real love. She kisses my cheek and then runs out on deck.
Easthope Martin is with us that night at Goldwyn's
party. He plays one of his own compositions and holds us
spellbound. He is very grateful for our sincere applause
and quite retiring and unassuming, though he is the hit of
Following the dinner I carried the English movie folk
on a sight-seeing trip, enjoying their amazement at the
wonders of a New York night.
"What do you think of it?" I asked them.
"Thrilling," says Hepworth. "I like it. There is some-
thing electrical in the air. It is a driving force. You must
We go to a cafe, where the elite of New York are gathered,
and dance until midnight. I bid them good-by, hoping to
meet them later when they come to Los Angeles.
I dine at Max Eastman's the next night and meet McKay,
the negro poet. He is quite handsome, a full-blooded
Jamaican negro not more than twenty -five years of age.
I can readily see why he has been termed an African prince.
He has just that manner.
I have read a number of his poems. He is a true aristocrat
with the sensitiveness of a poet and the humor of a philoso-
pher, and quite shy. In fact, he is rather supersensitive,
but with a dignity and manner that seem to hold him aloof.
There are many other friends there, and we discuss Max's
new book on humor. There is a controversy whether to
call it "Sense of Humor" or "Psychology of Humor." We
i50 MY TRIP ABROAD
talk about my trip. Claude McKay asks if I met Shaw.
"Too bad," he says. "You would like him and he would
have enjoyed you."
I am interested in Claude. "How do you write your
poetry? Can you make yourself write? Do you pre-
pare?" I try to discuss his race. "What is their future?
He shrugs his shoulders. I realize he is a poet, an
I dine the next evening with Waldo Frank and Mar-
guerite Naumberg and we discuss her new system. She has
a school that develops children along the lines of personality.
It is a study in individuality. She is struggling alone,
but is getting wonderful results. We talk far into the morn-
ing on everything, including the fourth dimension.
Next day Frank Harris calls and we decide to take a
trip to Sing Sing together. Frank is very sad and wistful.
He is anxious to get away from New York and devote time
to his autobiography before it is too late. He has so much
to say that he wants to write it while it is keen.
I try to tell him that consciousness of age is a sign of keen-
ness. That age doesn't bother the mind.
We discuss George Meredith and a wonderful book he
had written. And then in his age Meredith had rewritten
it. He said it was so much better rewritten, but he had
taken from it all the red blood. It was old, withered like
himself. You can't see things as they were. Meredith had
become old. Harris says he doesn't want the same experi-
All this on the way to Sing Sing. Frank is a wonderful
conversationalist. Like his friend Oscar Wilde. That same
charm and brilliancy of wit, ever ready for argument.
What a fund of knowledge he has. What a biography his
should be. If it is just half as good as Wilde's, it will be
Sing Sing. The big, gray stone buildings seem to me like
an outcry against civilization. This huge gray monster
BON VOYAGE 151
with its thousand staring eyes. We are in the visiting
room. Young men in gray shirts. Thank God, the hideous
stripes are gone. This is progress, humanity. It is not
There is a mite of a baby holding her daddy's hand and
playing with his hair as he talks with her mamma, his wife.
Another prisoner holding two withered hands of an old
lady. Mother was written all over her, though neither
said a word. I felt brutal at witnessing their emotion.
All of them old. Children, widows, mothers — youth
crossed out of faces by lines of suffering and life's penalties.
Tragedy and sadness, and always it is in the faces of the
women that the suffering is more plainly written. The men
suffer in body — the women in soul.
The men look resigned. Their spirit is gone. What is
it that happens behind these gray walls that kills so com-
The devotion of the prisoners is almost childish in its
eagerness as they sit with their children, talking with their
wives, here and there a lover with his sweetheart — all of
them have written a compelling story in the book of life.
But love is in this room, love unashamed. Why aie sinners
always loved ? Why do sinners make such wonderful lovers ?
Perhaps it is compensation, as they call it. Love is paged
by every eye here.
Children are playing around the floor. Their laughter
is like a benediction. This is another improvement, this
room. There are no longer bars to separate loved ones.
Human nature improves, but the tragedy remains just as
The cells where they sleep are old fashioned, built by a
monster or a maniac. No architect could do such a thing
for human beings. They are built of hate, ignorance, and
stupidity. I understand they are building a new prison,
more sane, with far more understanding of human needs.
Until then these poor wretches must endure these awful
cells. I'd go mad there.
152 MY TRIP ABROAD
I notice quite a bit of freedom. A number of prisoners
are strolling around the grounds while others are at work.
The honor system is a great thing, gives a man a chance to
They have heard that I am coming, and most of them
seem to know me. I am embarrassed. What can I say?
yow can I approach them? I wave my hand merely.
I decide to discard conversation. Be myself. Be
comic. Cut up. I twist my cane and juggle my hat. I
kick up my leg in back. I am on comic ground. That's
No sentiment, no slopping over, no morals — they are fed
up with that. What is there in common between us? Our
viewpoints are entirely different. They're in — I'm out.
They show me a cup presented by Sir Thomas Lipton,
inscribed, "We have all made mistakes."
"How do we know but what some of you haven't?" I
ask, humorously. It makes a hit. They want me to talk.
"Brother criminals and fellow sinners: Christ said, 'Let
him who is without sin cast the first stone.' I cannot cast
the stone, though I have compromised and thrown many a
pie. But I cannot cast the first stone." Some got it. Others
We must be sensible. I am not a hero worshiper of
criminals and bad men. Society must be protected. We
are greater in number than the criminals and have the upper
hand. We must keep it. But we can at least treat them
intelligently, for, after all, crime is the outcome of society.
The doctor tells me that but a few of them are criminals
from heredity, that the majority had been forced into crime
by circumstances or had committed it in passion. I notice a
lot of evil-looking men, but also some splendid ones. I
earnestly believe that society can protect itself intelligently,
humanly. I would abolish prisons. Call them hospitals
and treat the prisoners as patients.
It is a problem that I make no pretense of solving.
BON VOYAGE 153
The death house. It is hideous. A plain, bare room,
rather large and with a white door, not green, as I have been
told. The chair — a plain wooden armchair and a single
wire coming down over it. This is an instrument to snuff
out life. It is too simple. It is not even dramatic. Just
cold blooded and matter of fact.
Some one is telling me how they watch the prisoner
after he is strapped in the chair. Good God! How can
they calmly plan with such exactness ? And they have killed
as many as seven in one day. I must get out.
Two men were walking up and down in a bare yard,
one a short man with a pipe in his mouth, walking briskly,
and at his side a warden. The keeper announces, shortly,
"The next for the chair."
How awful ! Looking straight in front of him and coming
toward us, I saw his face. Tragic and appalling. I will
see it for a long time.
We visit the industries. There is something ironical
about their location with the mountains for a background,
but the effect is good, they can get a sense of freedom. A
good system here, with the wardens tolerant. They seem
to understand. I whisper to one.
"Is Jim Larkin here?" He is in the boot department,
and we go to see him for a moment. There is a rule against
it, but on this occasion the rule is waived.
Larkin struts up. Large, about six feet two inches, a
fine, strapping Irishman. Introduced, he talks timidly.
He can't stay, mustn't leave his work. Is happy. Only
worried about his wife and children in Ireland. Anxious
about them, otherwise fit.
There are four more years for him. He seems deserted
even by his party, though there is an effort being made to
have his sentence repealed. After all, he is no ordinary
criminal. Just a political one.
He asks about my reception in England. "Glad to meet
you, but I must get back."
Frank tells him he will help to get his release. He smiles,
154 MY TRIP ABROAD
grips Frank's hand hard. "Thanks." Harris tells me he
is a cultured man and a fine writer.
But the prison marked him. The buoyancy and spirit
that must have gone with those Irish eyes are no more.
Those same eyes are now wistful, where they once were gay.
He hasn't been forgotten. Our visit has helped. There
may be a bit of hope left to him.
We go to the solitary-confinement cell, where trouble
makers are kept.
"This young man tried to escape, got out on the roof.
We went after him," says the warden.
"Yes, it was quite a movie stunt," said the youngster.
He is embarrassed. We try to relieve it.
"Whatever he's done, he's darn handsome," I tell the
warden. It helps. "Better luck next time," I tell him. He
laughs. "Thanks. Pleased to meet you, Charlie."
He is just nineteen, handsome and healthy. What a pity.
The greatest tragedy of all. He is a forger, here with mur-
We leave and I look back at the prison just once. Why are
prisons and graveyards built in such beautiful places?
Next day everything is bustling, getting ready for the trip
back to Los Angeles. I sneak out in the excitement and go
to a matinee to see Marie Doro in "Lilies of the Field,"
and that night to "The Hero," a splendid play. A young
actor, Robert Ames, I believe, gives the finest performance
I have ever seen in America.
We are on the way. I am rushing back with the swiftness
of the Twentieth Century Limited. There is a wire from
my studio manager. "When will I be back for work?"
I wire him that I am rushing and anxious to get there.
There is a brief stop in Chicago and then we are on again.
And as the train rushes me back I am living again this
vacation of mine. Its every moment now seems wonderful.
The petty annoyances were but seasoning. I even begin
to like reporters. They are regular fellows, intent on their
BON VOYAGE 155
And going over it all, it has been so worth while and the
job ahead of me looks worth while. If I can bring smiles
to the tired eyes in Kennington and Whitechapel, if I have
absorbed and understood the virtues and problems of those
simpler people I have met, and if I have gathered the least
bit of inspiration from those greater personages who were
kind to me, then this has been a wonderful trip, and some-
how I am eager to get back to work and begin paying for it.
I notice a newspaper headline as I write. It tells of the
Conference for Disarmament. Is it prophetic? Does it
mean that war will never stride through the world again?
Is it a gleam of intelligence coming into the world ?
We are arriving at Ogden, Utah, as I write. There is a
telegram asking me to dine with Clare Sheridan on my
arrival in Los Angeles. The prospect is most alluring. And
that wire, with several others, convinces me that I am getting
I turn again to the newspaper. My holiday is over. I
reflect on disarmament. I wonder what will be the answer?
I hope and am inclined to believe that it will be for good.
Was it Tennyson who wrote :
When shall all men's good
Be each man's rule, and universal peace
Shine like a shaft of light across che lare,
And like a layer of beams athwart the sea?
What a beautiful thought. Can those who go to Wash-
ington make it more than a thought ?
The conductor is calling:
New Fiction by Well-Known Writers
THE EMPTY SACK By Basil King
How severely should Society punish a man when
Society itself has really been responsible for his crimes?
— is one question posed in this new, powerful novel by
the author of The Thread of Flame. It is a story of
dynamic power and broad human appeal, in a rather
different vein from his earlier work. It attempts to
weigh modern business tactics by their effect on the
INEZ AND TRILBY MAY By Sewell Ford
With this story Mr. Ford begins a new series about
two girl characters — pretty, funny and irresistably
human, who come to New York in search of romance.
For over ten years his stories of Torchy and Shorty
McCabe have amused millions of American readers.
His two new girl characters are every bit as fascinating
as Torchy and Shorty were.
BROKEN TO THE PLOW
By Charles Caldwell Dobie
The story of an underdog by the author of The Blood-
Red Dawn. How Fred Starrett becomes the easy victim
of a big business combine; how he survives the horrors
of a San Francisco prison and insane asylum; and how,
finally, out of a courageous act com it ted in a moment
of desperation, his manhood is born — ^makes this an
absorbing story and a powerful psychological study.
WHEN EGYPT WENT BROKE By Holman Day
Here you have something really novel in fiction.
It combines humor and thrills, and its breezy plot
is "something new under the sun." The climax of old
miser Britt's scheme to secure a pretty, young wife is
probably unique in literary, legal and real estate circles.
Don't miss the good laughs there are for you in the
intensely humorous "crook" incidents — and others — in
HARPER & BROTHERS
Franklin Square New York
Life Stories of Famous Americans
THE LIFE OF ELIZABETH CADY STANTON
By Harkiot Stanton Blatch and Theodore Stanton
This fascinating life story is told in a wholly original
way — as a combination of autobiography, letters and
a diary. Mrs. Stanton who called the first Woman's
Rights convention, discusses the progress of the cause^
divorce, woman's rights in marriage, and a fascinating
variety of subjects of first importance to the women
— and men — of to-day.
WHY LINCOLN LAUGHED
By Russell H. Conwell
A book in itself a delightful entertainment and, in
addition, a key to other countless hours of relaxation.
It is Dr. Conwell's refreshing account of his meetings
with Lincoln, and of the hours of delightful conversa-
tion during which this great and much harassed Presi-
dent exemplified his belief in the power and usefulness
IN ONE MAN'S LIFE
By Albert Bigelow Paine
This life story of Theodore N. Vail, the curiously
modest man who by his faith in the telephone and
telegraph built up one of the greatest institutions in the
world and "made neighbors of a hundred million
people," reads like romance. Mr. Paine was personally
associated with Mr. Vail, as with Mark Twain, during
his latter years; and he has preserved to us the intimate
human aspect as well as the story of achievement of this
other great American.
HARPER & BROTHERS
Franklin Square New York
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