From ‘The Strand Magazine’ 1906

“An Article on Henry Irving Written and Illustrated by Harry Furniss”:

“…Shortly after Irving went into management at the Lyceum he was walking down the Strand, when he was accosted by an out-of-elbow, broken – down tragedian:

” What ? Harry, my hearty! How is my old pal Harry? Why, the boys tell me, Irving, that you are now an actor-manager; running the Lyceum. Who ever would have thought of this, in the old stock days at Edinburgh and Liverpool eh ? ”

” Ah, my dear fellow, quite so -quite so,” said Irving, shaking the stranger by the hand. ” But you have the advantage of me. Who are you ? ”

” Who am I? Why, Roscius Shakespeare Thompson ; you remember R. S, Thompson-Rocy, your old pal.”

“Ah, of course; now I do recall you, Thompson. You are Dressing-bag Thompson,’ aren’t you? ”

“Why, of course I am ; ‘ Dressing-bag Thompson.’ Fancy, Harry, your remembering, that after all these years!”

” What are you doing, Thompson ?

” Walking gent ; examiner of public buildings ; anything you like but acting. Ah, Harry, the profession isn’t what it was in the palmy days of stock companies. They’re all burst now, and shop-boys become ‘actors’ and tour in pieces written by clerks, and run by American company-promoters. The ‘legitimate,”‘ said Thompson, thumping himself on the chest, ” are no longer appreciated. By the way, Harry, what can you do for one of the right sort ? ”

” Come round to the Lyceum ; we’ll consult Bram, Stoker….

Here, Stoker, allow me to introduce Mr. Thompson-‘ Dressingbag Thompson.’ Is our company full? We’ll put him on the list and chance a suitable part turning up.” Then, turning to Thompson, he said :

” What about salary, eh ? Twelve pounds a week, eh ? ”

“From you, Harry, as an old pal, I will accept that retainer. I like to help an old friend ; so consider my services are yours at the honorarium mentioned.”

” That’s all right, Thompson; you will be paid weekly and advised when the next play is to be read. Good-bye, Thompson. How is your mother? All right, eh? , Of course ; Bram, just pay Mr. Thompson his first week’s salary in advance.”

The next play was read in due course. “Dressing-bag Thompson” sat with the rest of the company while the characters were distributed, but no part fell to him.

“Henry, Henry, where is my part?” he cried.

” Eh ? Ah, yes, my dear fellow,” said Irving, walking up to him ; ” the play, you see, is by a modern author, one of those fellows who don’t appreciate legitimate actors. Better luck next time! You get your twelve pounds a week, I hope? How is your mother ? Good-bye, old chap.”…”

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