I’ve been reading the autobiography of Bayard Veiller, and I’ve been having a lot of fun doing so.
He was a playwright who died in 1943, so a lot of his anecdotes are about actors and actresses who performed on Broadway long before filming became commonplace. The reminisces of the people who were there are the only record we have of many of these people.
Not all of his stories are about theater folk, though, there are some names I recognize, like Theodore Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, And Randolph Hearst. This is his remembrance of meeting Randolph Hearst for the second time:
Naturally I was flattered and a little amused that he should have remembered (me). And I asked him why or what there was about it that made him remember. “You looked so frightened,” said Mr. Hearst.
“Well, I was,” said I.
“But you’re not anymore,” he said.
“Not at the moment,” I replied. “At the moment I am quite calm and slightly rejoicing.” And we shook hands on that.
I just really like that. “Quite calm and slightly rejoicing” is a wonderful state to be in!
(Amazon has this book for $40, but I got mine for $2 at a used book store. Poke around a bit, and I’m sure you can find a reasonably priced copy.)