MY TRIP ABROAD
I SALUTE EUROPE!
..~-. ., ii
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MY TRIP ABROAD
HARPER & BROTHERS
New York and London
MY TRIP ABROAD
Copyright, 1922, by Harper & Brothers
Printed in the United States of America
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY . . . .
OFF TO EUROPE . . .... . ..
DAYS ON SHIPBOARD . . . . .
HELLO! ENGLAND . . . . . .
I ARRIVE IN LONDON . . . . .
THE HAUNTS OF MY CHILDHOOD . . .
A JOKE AND STILL ON THE GO . . .
A MEMORABLE NIGHT IN LONDON . . .
I MEET THE IMMORTALS . . . .
I MEET THOMAS BURKE AND H. G. WELLS
OFF TO FRANCE ...........
MY VISIT TO GERMANY . . . . .
I FLY FROM PARIS TO LONDON . . .
FAREWELLS TO PARIS AND LONDON . . .
BON VOYAGE . . . . . . .
. . . I
. . . 13
. . . 24
. . 35
. . . 46
. . 55
. . . 63
. . . 70
. . . 80
. . . 1092
. . . 113
. . . 124
. . . 134
. . . 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 CARPENTER I02
I MEET LADY ROCK-SAVAGE AND SIR PHILIP SASSOON, THE POET 106
I AM MET IN PARIS BY DUDLEY FIELD MALONE ... ." IIO
I MEET THE BEAUTIFUL POLA NEGRI IN BERLIN . .. . .I6
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
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY
A STEAK-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
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 asymphony. 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 P tash 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
What would Europe look like after the war? t
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 Angeles 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.
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
"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
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 holiday. 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 flat. 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
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
"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."
S"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?"
S"Why, I don't know-"
Again Lady Luck flew 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 pictures, 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
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 at its first showing before the public,
MY TRIP ABROAD
Before the opening of Doug's picture we were to have
dinner together, Mary and Doug, Mrs. Cond6 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-forgiven" 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 don't like the taste of policemen's fists. I told him so
I DECIDE TO PLAY HOOKEY
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 least 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.
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, Cond6 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
,MY $3,000,000 HOME FROM AN AIRPLANE
OFF TO EUROPE
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 veiy 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-
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 to
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
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 revel 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.
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 Elys6e Caf6 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
This was the exception. For on this occasion everybody
did turn up. And it started off like 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
MY TRIP ABROAD
impromptu speeches on any given subject. None were
about the party, but on subjects like "political 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 caf6 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-r
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 2
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, vis6s 0. 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
22 MY TRIP ABROAD
Many of the passengers on the boat are bringing their
children that I may be introduced. I don't mind children.
"4 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-
* and am.
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
SURROUNDED BY SOME OF MY ADMIRERS
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 the moment I am 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
o 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
Sam. 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
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
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
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
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
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 "Charlie" performing for them. This irritates
me. I throw up my hands and say, "See you to-morrow."
One of the bystanders presents himself. "Charlie, 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 remember 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
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 little 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 corner. 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
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 0. 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
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 like 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 nunlike hills.
Mine eyes grow dim and I 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 neathh 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
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 hundred 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
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.
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
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:
"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
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
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
MY TRIP ABROAD
great worriment. Welcomed by the mayor. It will prob-
S 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 maydr, 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
I AM WELCOMED BY THE MAYOR OF SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND
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 mayor. 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
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
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
something 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-
Sment, 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.
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 o
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
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,
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
Eventually we get through to the street. It is worse
here. "Hooray!" "Here he is!" "Good luck, Charlie!"
"Well done, Charlie!" "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
"Do you know where we are going?" I ask.
He says, "No."
"Well, what are you doing- Who are you?" I 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
MY TRIP ABROAD
the bobby that Charlie Chaplin 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.
I ARRIVE AT THE RITZ IN LONDON
I ARRIVE IN LONDON
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
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 am 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
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 old blind man
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
I 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,
MY TRIP ABROAD
Chester Street, where I used to sleep. The same, but, like
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 defect s.
"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
gifl 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-
MY TRIP ABROAD
"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
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 corner 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
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. I 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 my 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
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.
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 Haymarket, 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 grandeur 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
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 enter 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
MY TRIP ABROAD
Tom was asked what he would have done if it had been true
and I had been hit by the lightning.
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 modern 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 ?
Arid 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 him.
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-
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 there-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 rou6s 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
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
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
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 i to 00oo,ooo.
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 *e 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 your 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
Io,ooo 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
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
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
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 feted,
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 on the screen during the war we would
all have gone under."
"Dear Charles," writes an n-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,ooo 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
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 written a number of very good novels. It is arranged
to give me a party that night at the Garrick Club.
After luncheon we visit Stoll'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 realized 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 'rampton, J. M.
Barrie, Herbert Hammil, Edward Knobloch, Harry Graham,
I MEET THE IMMORTALS
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
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 ungracefully.
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
SCENES FROM "THE KID," IN WHICH I STAR WITH JACKIE COOGAN