The French critic was correct. For despite his fascination for women his life has been singularly free of romances. He is not the "professional charmer" in private life. He has no tricks. If he leaves women stunned and astonished, he also leaves them -- alone! He is superbly modest. He is simple, gracious and kind. He is intelligent, even intellectual. But he does not kiss your hand or ogle.
  The course at the Sorbonne was finished. The worthy doctors presented young Boyer with his License. His mother arrived in Paris. And when she had come he said, "I have fulfilled my part of our bargain. The theatre is still my life - all of it. Have I now the right to live it?"

   



 AND MADAME BOYER, with her cherished dream receding forever, bade it farewell without a backward glance. She gave her son his "life" again as she had given it to him once before."My mother then returned to Figeac for a time," Charles told me. "I entered the Conservatoire de Drame in Paris. I was refused once -- accepted the second time. Pierre was there with me. At the end of my first year, I won the second prize. During my second year the play, 'Les Jardins de Murci,' was revived.  M. Gemier was directing. It was not according to the rules of the Conservatoire for a student to take part in a professional production. But now and again such a thing was overlooked. Here was where my inherited gift of memory served me well. For at the last moment the leading man of 'Les Jardins' fell ill. No one was available to M.Gemier to take his place. No one who could learn the script by the following night. But I could learn it, I said. And did. And that was my first appearance, professionally. I appeared, perforce, under another name. At the close of our second year at the Conservatoire, Pierre and I tendered our resignations and made our debut together in 'La Dolores.'
  "From then on, luck was with me. My mother came to Paris and we took, at first, an apartment together. A short time thereafter she married again. For which I was very glad. She had been widowed at the age of twenty-seven. She had remained so for a very long time. My stepfather was an old family friend of whom I was very fond. I did all in my power to further the match. After her marriage my mother had a menage of her own and I took an apartment by myself, which I kept up to the time of my own marriage.

"I was what you might call 'on my way.'  I felt that luck was mine. I felt that I belonged only to the theatre and that love was unnecessary. I was to live without love and then to find myself the victim, so willing, of love at first sight.
Coming events had not yet cast their shadows behind..."

AS THE young Charles Boyer had felt from infancy that he belonged to the theatre, so the theatre felt that it belonged to him.  And opened wide its arms. One success led to another. The plays he did following his debut in "La Dolores" would make a laborious listing.
    He never knew the experience of sitting hungry on a park bench. He never endured the hardship of wearing out shoe leather trekking from one manager's office to another. He never heard the dreary, repetitious words, so sadly familiar to so many of his brethren, "Leave your name and address and if anything comes up . . ."
    Play after play, success after succcess came for Charles Boyer. And as his success pyramided, impassioned panegyrics began to inflame the French press, ordinarily so much more conservative than ours. ". . . he always has a 104 degree temperature" ..."a great artist, as radiant as radium,"..."he is like a powerful undercurrent carrying everything in its path..." "his eyes are deep and keen and brilliant with strange lights"..." These are exact quotations. And Charles Boyer laughed at them. He said, "Perhaps I missed something of value in missing early defeat and discouragement. For we are told that suffering and struggle enrich and enhance. But I think I did my suffering and struggling in other ways."

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