This beautifully realized story of a young Elizabethan actor's apprentice [was published] in 1953. After the death of James Sands's beloved Master Awsten, one of the Queen's Players who has taught Sands the rudiments of acting, Sands travels from Southwark, London and passes through a succession of employers. At a house in the country, he meets the summering playwright Francis Beaumont, in the process of writing his play Philaster. James wins the part of Bellario, the girl page disguised as a boy for love of Philaster, who in a curious royal menage-a-trois sends Bellario to serve his beloved Arethusa; James duly falls in love, unrequitedly, with Beaumont's virginal fiancee, Ursula. History intrudes offstage in the form of Sir Walter Raleigh's execution and the ascent of the Puritans, and James, now a clerk, becomes a kind of poignant anachronism, too delicate for the coarsening new age. Theatrical and romantically lyrical, Bryher's novel is a forgotten gem, channeling the servant boy's first person flawlessly. --Publishers Weekly.