In my acting career I have had to play many roles involving sword play.
The famous fencer Captain Alfred Hutton of the King's Dragoon Guards
asked me to become his pupil. He warned me that I would have to work hard.
Initially I was kept lunging at a small coin on the wall with short breaks
for up to an hour a time.
Captain Hutton had curious ides about fencers. He thought that they were
born, not made, and unless a man had sensitive nerves, the
right hands, eyes and temperament, he thought no number of lessons could
make him a first-class fencer. He used to say of men who were not sensitive:
"Give them a cutlass: they will do better with that." He thought there
was good material in painters because there hands were trained.
Never fence for the sake of sweating; it is an insult to the great art.
When he died, I sent a rapier made of graduated laurel leaves, and the
family, knowing that I was his favourite pupil, had it laid on the coffin
alone. I was touched by this thoughtfulness.
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I include the photo of my wife from my autobiography "Actor - Soldier -Poet"
published in 1939 (327 pages). Other than that it was obviously not
necessary to mention her further - on my parents - nothing at all.
Maud was devoted to me and through her business she was able to fund my career.
I was away a lot from home. Unfortunately for her a lot of my romances were
banded about publicly. People do not seem to understand that in order to
specialise in writing love poetry one should always be in love.
Good wives should always do their duty and stand by you.
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Brother-in-Law (Frank Hyde):
Some people say I was jealous of him. But I must point out that I even
if I did not exhibit paintings in the Royal Academy I myself was
exhibited. It took me two tries. The first time I commissioned Herbert
Hampton in 1917 to do two portraits. One was accepted but not hung. I finally
succeeded when I commissioned Albert Toft to do a bust. (pictured on the left)
I did not like Frank. My step-mother-in-Law Marianne Hyde, that old witch, (my nephew David on seeing a photo of an old woman with an umbrella said to his father "Who is that old witch" - comment not well received) despised Frank and claimed that Robert Louis Stevenson did also.
She said that Stevenson who was in the same London Club as Frank
deliberately denigrated the Hyde family by naming the main character in the book
'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' - Edward Hyde- after the historically most famous member of the
Hyde family, Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon.
I am not sure what the famous American painter John Singer Sargent thought of Frank. He shared
Frank's studio for a few months in an old monastery on the Island of Capri and Frank seems to have been a personal friend at that time. The painting on the right was made of Stevenson by Sargent about the time Stevenson was composing 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'.
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For those like my nephew David, who seems to some extent amused by me, there is an apparently scurrilous article written on me at: