• Ronald Searle created cartoons for Punchand other media. As a boy, Gerald Scarfe, who also became a cartoonist, idolized him. Young Gerald found out where Mr. Searle lived, and he rode his bike there to visit him. Unfortunately, he was too shy to actually ring the bell and so he did not then meet the great man. Fortunately, as a married man, Mr. Scarfe was able to meet him. Mr. Scarfe explains, “A few years later, my wife, Jane Asher, organized a secret meal for my birthday at this exclusive restaurant in Provence. When we walked in, the only other people there were Ronald and his wife. It turned out they had lived in this town for years. A beautiful little package sat on the table, all done up with ribbon. I said, ‘Oh, is this for me?’ And Ronald said, ‘Yeah, it’s nothing.’ So I opened it, and there was a brass doorbell with a note saying, ‘Please ring any time.’”
• In 1939, soprano Marjorie Lawrence made a triumphant return to her native Australia. In an interview, she mentioned that while living abroad, she had missed eating a particular Australian dish — rabbit pie. In Melbourne, she was given an enormous rabbit pie that was so artistically wrapped up in cellophane and red ribbon that she was shocked when she opened it up and discovered what it was.
• During the winter of 1882-1883, conductor Anton Seidl was asked to give a concert in Berlin, Germany, to raise money for the victims of a flood. He did, and some ladies of the aristocracy gave him a very expensive watch decorated with diamonds. The Empress Augusta Victoria also gave him a dedication in her own handwriting. Mr. Seidl said that the dedication was thanks enough to him and would be a family heirloom, but he requested that the watch be sold and the proceeds be added to the funds raised to relieve the victims of the flood. Mr. Seidl did other good deeds as well. He sometimes declined to be paid for his work if he felt that a certain concert had not raised enough money for the managers behind it. At charity concerts, he would conduct for free, but he insisted that the musicians whom he conducted must be paid. According to his wife, Auguste, Mr. Seidl gave away much money and clothing to those in need. For example, a person might tell him that he could get a certain job if he had better clothing, and Mr. Seidl would give that man some of his own clothing. His wife wrote about his clothing, “I was sometimes compelled, when all the half-used clothes had been disposed of, to give away even the new ones.”
• Conductor Artur Rodzinski got along very well with the musicians of the New York Philharmonic. When his wife returned from the hospital with their second child, several musicians played Wagner’s Seigfred Idyll, which the composer had written for his own wife and their new son, Seigfred.
Husbands and Wives
• After George Orwell’s first wife, Eileen, died, he kept her jewels and her jewelry box. Sally, the eight-year-old daughter of Susan Watson, the housekeeper he had hired, asked him what he was going to do with the jewels. Mr. Orwell replied, “I’m saving them for a rainy day.” Sally then asked what he would do with them on a rainy day. He thought a moment and said, “Why, I think I’ll give them to you, Sally.” And he did. By the way, Eileen had standards in her home life. During World War II, Mr. Orwell’s bad lungs and a previous injury kept him out of the army, but he did join the Home Guard to protect England. To educate himself, he studied explosives and weapons. Eileen told him, “I can put up with bombs on the mantelpiece, but I will not have a machine gun under the bed.”
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