Friday, January 6, 2012

An Awkward Moment

As a boy, Edwin accompanied his father, Junius Brutus Booth, on his grueling acting tours in order to help his father make it onto stage when the curtain opened, and keep him from strong drink after the curtain fell for the night. Some of the situations Junius subjected his young son to at this time were comical.

In The Prince of Players—Edwin Booth by Eleanor Ruggles, is one such situation:

Edwin protected his father from intrusions. In Boston at the Albion, a dingy public house over an apothecary’s on the north corner of Beacon and Tremont streets, he was resting in their room when his father dashed in, whispered hoarsely, “Gould! Coming up! Say I’m out!” and dived under the bed.

Thomas Gould was a Boston sculptor. He worshiped Booth, of whom he had done a fine bust, but Booth thought him tiresome. Now Gould seemed astonished not to find his idol, whom he had seen sprinting upstairs. He and Edwin talked lamely until there fell a pause, which Booth misinterpreted.

“Is that damned bore gone yet?” he sang out from under the bed.