night crying bitterly into my pillow. Death had touched me. And one
is never quite the same thereafter.
"I also remember being struck with a
lightning flash of thought. Now I shall never have to enter the factory.
Now I shall be -- an actor! I realized in a dim,immature way that
the truth of my whole being had been revealed to me. I felt rather
ashamed of the wave of pure delight that poured through my veins.
"My life did not change substantially, however, at that
time. My mother always had been the dominant factor in my small world.
There had been, there still is a strong and sympathetic bond between
us. We have been good friends. And so, with the death of my father,
we became even closer. Upon the advice of friends, my mother sold
the factory, rented that half of the house, and we continued to live
in the other half as theretofore.
"My mother always says that she sold
the factory because she was advised to do so. But I, who know her,
suspect that she would have sold it, advice or not, so that there
could be no question of my ever having to take it over.
"It was from this time forth that I ceased
chievious. I did not realize it then, but when my father died the
little Boyer boy died too. I took my studies more seriously. I had
put my life ambition into definite words
the night of my father's death. I knew what I must be, what I must
do. I felt the clay of my life-work in my hands and I was eager to
be about the business of shaping it.
"I was twelve when I first announced
to my mother that I intended to become an actor.
was," said Charles, with a low laugh, but his eyes grave, "the
most momentous moment of my life up to that time. I knew full well how
portentous an occasion it was.
I had the full realization of what I was about to do to my mother. I
knew on what a vital spot the blow would fall. I had the feeling that
I was about to take my mother's deepest and dearest dream and crash
it to the floor.
remember so perfectly the little twilit parlor and the way my mother
looked as she sat there, serene, in her high-backed chair by the window,
a bit of sewing in her hands. She invariably spent the last daylight
hours in this fashion, dreaming, no doubt, about my future which I was
about to murder before her eyes. Her
face was turned toward me with that eager, expectant, proud smile it
always wore when she greeted me.
great composure never wavered, her steady hands continued their task
as I said, 'Mother--when I grow up I intend to become an actor. That
is my life and I must have it.'
" 'You are too young,' my mother said, apparently
without agitation, though I could perceive the beating of her heart
under the lace fichu she wore, 'too young to know your own life as yet,
And here is the Americanized
Charles Boyer as he is today. Gary Cooper, Boyer and Gilbert Roland
at a recent social affair.