May 2, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (neé Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, 1883-1973), English musical comedy actress and dancer
(photo: Bassano, London, circa 1909)

[review of] Ways of Escape. By DOUGLAS GOLDRING. (Andrew Melross. 5s. net.)
‘We have ventured to head this review ”Sentimental Journeys,” and, indeed, the proverbial ”young man’s fancy” plays no small part in Mr. Goldring’s impressions and memories of things seen. Faces, feminine faces, appear continually between the author and the landscape – faces seen in restaurants, on boulevards, at railway stations, or on the docks of steamers. Here is a pen-portrait of a gilr who dined one night at a hotel in Harvre:-
”She was dressed in a black costume with a white silk blouse. A large, sweeping, black hat, with a piece of white silk cord tied loosely round the crown, cast a shadow over her pale forehead; and her eyes, set in their large whites, gleamed with an artfully increased effect beneath a straight fringe that recalled Du Maurier’s drawings of Trilby. Her face was very pale, her lips red, but not too red, and she had avoided the mauve complexion so much admire, or at least so very prevalent in France. But it was not her clothes, nor her hat, nor her expression, nor her eyes, which were in the greatest degree remarkable; it was the way she moved, the way she walked, or lifter her arm, the way she turned her head. With the exception of our own Miss Gabrielle Ray – the supreme genius of the English musical comedy state – and of Polaire, I had never seen any one whose movements had so much individuality.”
‘Mr. George Moore himself could hardly have done the thing more neatly…’
(The Academy, London, 20 January 1912, p. 78b)

”I remember, on some occasion, being introduced to Mr. Goldring in Bruges, when we drank a bock together. Would that I had then divined him to be an authority upon Edwardian London! Had I known that he also cherished an affection for Flecker’s boyish but enchanting lyric, ”Rioupéroux”; … that, like myself, he regarded the exquisite Gaiety star, Gabrielle Ray, as possessed of a ”tiny streak of genius,” I fancy our talk would have prolonged itself into the night…’
(Kenneth Hare, ‘Glass Castles,’ The English Review, London, September 1935, p. 363)

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