April 23.—Mr. and Mrs. James (Miss Fullers that was) came to
meat tea, and we left directly after for the Tank Theatre. We
got a ’bus that took us to King’s Cross, and then changed
into one that took us to the “Angel.” Mr. James each
time insisted on paying for all, saying that I had paid for the tickets
and that was quite enough.
We arrived at theatre, where, curiously enough, all our ’bus-load
except an old woman with a basket seemed to be going in. I walked
ahead and presented the tickets. The man looked at them, and called
out: “Mr. Willowly! do you know anything about these?” holding
up my tickets. The gentleman called to, came up and examined my
tickets, and said: “Who gave you these?” I said, rather
indignantly: “Mr. Merton, of course.” He said: “Merton?
Who’s he?” I answered, rather sharply: “You
ought to know, his name’s good at any theatre in London.”
He replied: “Oh! is it? Well, it ain’t no good here.
These tickets, which are not dated, were issued under Mr. Swinstead’s
management, which has since changed hands.” While I was
having some very unpleasant words with the man, James, who had gone
upstairs with the ladies, called out: “Come on!” I
went up after them, and a very civil attendant said: “This way,
please, box H.” I said to James: “Why, how on earth
did you manage it?” and to my horror he replied: “Why, paid
for it of course.”
This was humiliating enough, and I could scarcely follow the play,
but I was doomed to still further humiliation. I was leaning out
of the box, when my tie—a little black bow which fastened on to
the stud by means of a new patent—fell into the pit below.
A clumsy man not noticing it, had his foot on it for ever so long before
he discovered it. He then picked it up and eventually flung it
under the next seat in disgust. What with the box incident and
the tie, I felt quite miserable. Mr. James, of Sutton, was very
good. He said: “Don’t worry—no one will notice
it with your beard. That is the only advantage of growing one
that I can see.” There was no occasion for that remark,
for Carrie is very proud of my beard.
To hide the absence of the tie I had to keep my chin down the rest
of the evening, which caused a pain at the back of my neck.