Additional Info

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

Share

Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Roamin' in the Gloamin'
By Sir Harry Lauder (1928)


TO MY FRIENDS ALL OVER THE WORLD

MY PUBLISHERS tell me that I must write a Foreword to this book of my life. As I have put everything into the volume that I think is worth telling about myself, my forty years in the glare of the footlights, and my experiences in many lands, I am at some loss just what to say here. Yet there are one or two observations which I feel I must make even if they strike, for me at least, a very sad note. I had more than half-finished "Roamin' In The Gloamin'" when my dear wife was suddenly taken from me. The blow left me prostrate for many weeks; I was like a man "in a dwam," as we say in Scotland. Nance had meant so much to me. She was not only my wife—she was my inspiration and my guiding star. She had as much to do with my success as I had myself. She was my constant and loving companion on more than half a million miles of world wanderings. She was proud of me and I worshipped her.

A month or two after she was laid to rest in the Highland glen near our old home in Argyllshire I remembered that she had been looking forward very much to the publication of this book and I determined to go ahead and do my best to finish it. This task gradually brought me back to something like an even keel. But I simply could not bring myself to make any reference to Lady Lauder's death; I continued the book in the same strain as I had started it and wrote as if she were still with me, watching over, guiding, and encouraging me. Otherwise I do not think I could ever have completed this story of my life. For she was—' and still is—part and parcel of it.

Another thing I would like to say is that I have been blessed with some great friendships. I do not think I have ever been what is called an "easy man to get on with." In my heart of hearts I am really very shy, perhaps a bit quick in the temper, perhaps, also, too much inclined to "keep myself to myself"—in other words, slow to make friends and rather a difficult man to understand. It is all the greater joy to me, therefore, to know that I have succeeded in winning the sincere affection of many good fellows at home, in America, and in the dominions over the seas. Several of these I must mention by name.

If there is another such as Tom Valiance anywhere else in the world the man who claims him as manager, secretary, valet, and interesting companion over a period of thirty-five years is indeed a lucky person! You, Tom, have been a partner in Harry Lauder, Limited (strictly limited!) all these years! You have travelled to the ends of the earth with me and have never once missed a train or a steamer or been late for an "entrance." You are as faithful and loyal to me as your dear sister Nance was, and I can say no more than that. Without you I would be like a fish out of water. And you've had a lot to put up with, mind I'm tellin' you! When, if ever, you throw your hand in, Tom, I'll just creep awa' to ma bed and die!

Will Morris! The greatest, the straightest, and the gamest Jew I have ever met. For twenty years we have worked together in America, Will, and I never knew you do a mean or a petty action. I'll tell the world that your word is ten times better than your bond! No contracts in writing are necessary after Will Morris blinks his eyes and says, "Yep, I agree!" I suppose, my dear Will, you have made far more money out of me than I have out of you but we'll cry quits with the remark that if you had a gold mine to work in Harry Lauder he had a veritable Bonanza in his American manager.

And "Ted" Carroll. The man who "put me over" in Australia, South Africa, and in a hundred cities "east of Suez." The gentlest creature in trousers I have ever met - genuine to the core and shrewd with an exceeding great shrewdness in all stage business and theatrical ventures. The name of E. J. Carroll is honoured all over the world among men who appreciate simplicity of bearing, level dealing, and high personal character. He has a very secure corner in the heart of Harry Lauder.

If I have mentioned these three men first it is because they have been intimately associated with my professional career over a long period of years and because I have been in close touch with them continually. But there are other friendships of an intimate and personal nature which I have come to value even more highly since Fate robbed me first of my son and then my wife. My brother Alec and his family have meant more to me of late than I can find words to express. Greta, his daughter, has joined the little household at Dunoon, and only her, sweet presence makes Laudervale —place of delightful ghosts and fragrant memories—still habitable for her lonely old uncle.

Then there is Donald Munro, that brawny son of Dee- side whom I have loved as a brother for over thirty years, who fishes with me, golfs with me, and rambles over the heather with me, whose wife knits me socks and woollies and scarves and neither counts trouble nor cost if it is for her one-time brother artiste of the concert platform. May Donald and his wife live for ever! And may he still be Provost of Banchory when it absorbs the neighbouring town of Aberdeen!

Other names which may mean comparatively little to most people but which stand ace-high with me are those of "Wullie" Thomson of Glasgow, Col. Duncan F. Neill Keills of Argyllshire—the man who has sailed Sir Thomas Lipton's yachts for years and knows more about big yachting than any amateur in the world—"Bob" Thomson of Peckham, whose daughter Mildred would have been my son's wife had the war not claimed him a willing victim, "Willie" Cochrane of Manchester, Duncan MacDonald of Invercargill, New Zealand, and that wonderful pair of Caledonian enthusiasts in New York, Colonel Walter Scott, head of Butler Brothers in Broadway, and Duncan McInnes, who occupies a trustworthy position under the municipality of that great city.

I have left my very dear old friend and chum, William Blackwood, to the last because somehow I always feel that he is in a special class all by himself. He has been chief of my unpaid personal staff for more than twenty years; he and his wife have been the kindest of hosts to me and mine since ever they set up house together. Blackwood knows every detail of my life and career—in fact he knows so much about me that the following pages are full of stories and incidents which I would never have written had he not recalled them to my memory and urged that they were worth the telling. Indeed, I am free to confess that without his expert and gladly given services over many months this volume might never have been written at all!

HARRY LAUDER

Contents

CHAPTER I - WEE HARRY
CHAPTER II - BOYHOOD'S YEARS SLIP AWA'
CHAPTER III - THIS WEAN'S GOING TO BE A SINGER
CHAPTER IV - IN THE COAL-PITS
CHAPTER V - I LOVE A LASSIE
CHAPTER VI - FIVE SHILLINGS TO A POUND
CHAPTER VII - THE LURE OF THE ROAD
CHAPTER VIII - COAL-FACE OR FOOTLIGHTS
CHAPTER IX - I BECOME MY OWN IMPRESARIO
CHAPTER X - A SOVEREIGN FOR PUBLICITY ONLY
CHAPTER XI - PANTOMIME
CHAPTER XII - "GREAT ARTISTE CAPTIVATES AMERICA"
CHAPTER XIII - 'ARRY LAUDAH'S 'OSS
CHAPTER XIV - WILL MORRIS COMES FOR ME
CHAPTER XV - I PLAY FOR ROYALTY
CHAPTER XVI - THE FIRST YEARS OF THE WAR
CHAPTER XVII - "CARRY ON"
CHAPTER XVIII - THE WAR YEARS IN AMERICA
CHAPTER XIX - MY FRIENDS THE PRESIDENTS
CHAPTER XX - GLEN BRANTER
CHAPTER XXI - KNIGHT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
CHAPTER XXII - BAD TIPS AND OTHERS
CHAPTER XXIII - SOUTH AFRICA
CHAPTER XXIV - THE ORIENT
CHAPTER XXV - SOME FISH STORIES
CHAPTER XXVI - THE END OF THE ROAD

Return to our Online Books Page