Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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        Matinee Idols.
Mrs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
    Dear Madam--What do you think of a young lady of good
family who makes boasts of being "stuck" on an actor, she
knowing him to be a married man?
    Puts herself in his way whenever possible, always craving
an introduction; willing to have him call at her house; stands
outside of theatre and makes herself conspicious.
    Having a few of her gentlemen friends take her and friends
to see same actor in every new show that he appears in;
wants her gentlemen friends to follow with her in his footsteps;
actually falls out of car at the sight of above-named gentle-
man, who scorns these advances.
    What do you think of her male escorts, who advise her,
but who feel cheap by her actions?
    Should they accompany such a girl?  Should the make
known the facts to her father?  Should they admire her?
                                                                       X. Y. Z.
I think the young woman is temporarily insane.
She should be carefully watched, tenderly
guided, her mind occupied and her attention dis-
tracted from the mania which has taken possession
of her, until she returns to her normal state.
    Many excellent girls pass through such periods in
early youth, and live to become good, sensible
women and devoted wives and mothers.
    To a romantic girl, an actor often assumes the
form of a semi-divine being, a creature like the
fabled gods of Olympus.  She imagines him to be
possessed of all the great and striking qualities
which he assumes with his roles on the stage.
    She imagines him always rescuing troubled maid-
ens, defeating villains and defending virtue.  She
thinks how lovely it would be to bask forever in the
light of such a presence, and to inspire such noble
nature with love.
    All ordinary individuals seem pygmies beside her
hero.  I have personally known two young girls who
passed through this actor-struck period.  One
learned that her hero was married and a father of
several children, while he carried on innumerable
frivolous flirtations with girls as silly as herself--and
all her infatuation died in an hour of shame and
    The other learned that her noble idol papered the
walls of his rooms with the photographs sent him by
love-sick girls, and that he read their letters aloud
to his men friends over beer and cigars.
    If it had been over champagne, her passion might
have endured the shock--but the beer effected a
    The girl of whom my correspondent writes would
be benefited by knowing the facts of her hero's
daily life.  She should be made in an adroit manner
to realize how ridiculous girls like herself seem to
such men--even while they amuse themselves with
their letters and their adoration.
    She should be guarded as strictly as possible from
any acts which could compromise her during her
dementia, and her friends should good-naturedly
"guy" her and her idol, until she recovers, as she
no doubt will in time.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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