"There was onoe," says Mr Henry Irving, " an actor named Joe Robins, who had been beguiled into the profession from a comfortable business by the too flattering •stimate which his friends expressed of his performance as a clown m an amateur burlesque. Joe did not become a great actor, but managed to make his savings m commerce eke out his very small salaries. He had taken the precaution to provide himself, on entering the theatrical professsion, with a large stock of shirts, collars, handkerchiefs, stockings, and underclothing. But he was a largehearted man, and his desire to help his needy friends considerably reduced his store haberdashery. Once he had a part m a Christmas pantomine, He dressed with other poor actors, and he saw how thinly some of them were clad when they stripped before him to put on their stage costumes. For one poor fellow especially his heart ached. In the depth of a very cold winter he was shivering m a suit of very light summer underclothing, and whenever Joe looked at him, the warm flannel undergarments snugly packed away m an extra trunk weighed upon his mind. Joe thought the matter over, and determined to give the actors who dressed with him a Christmas dinner. It waß literally a dinner upon underclothing ; for most of the shirts and other garments which Joe had cherished so long' went to ;he pawnbrokers to provide the money for the meal. Tl}e. guest ß assembled womptly, for nobody else is ever so hungry as a hungry actor. The dinner was to be served at Joe's lodgings, and before it was placed upon the table, Joe beckoned his friend with the gauze underclothes into a bedroom and, pointing to a chair, silently withdrew. On that chair l}ung » B qfc o f under . wear which had been JoS pride It was of a comfortable scarlet: color : it was thick, warm, and heavy; it fitted the poor actor as ,f it had been manufactured especially to hi s measure 'He put it on, and «s the flaming garments encased lm limbs, he feltVw to glowing within him with gratitudJ to dear Joe Robins, The actor never knew-or if he kiW he never could remember— what he had for chnner on that Christmas, afternoon. He revelled 1,1 the luxury of warm garments, The mat bwf was nothing to'
ham, m comparison with the comfort «f. his undervesfc. Proud, happy, warm, and comfortable, he felfc little inclination to eat, but sat quietly, and thanked Providence and Joe. Robins with all his heart." "You seem to enter, into that poor actor's feelings very sympathetically^", observed the gentleman >to whom this story was told, as Mr Irving paused. " I have good reason to do so," replied Mr Irving, with his .gentjle, sunshiny smile," " for I was that poor actor."
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Henry Irving., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2516, 12 September 1890
Henry Irving. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2516, 12 September 1890
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