Constant, Faithful, Loyal

Constant, Faithful and Loyal

What does steadfast mean? Being a native English speaker, I automatically think that I know what ‘steadfast’ means. But Irene Mawer said that one of the biggest compliments ever paid to her was when Edward Gordon Craig referred to Mawer and Ginner as being ‘steadfast’.

Given Irene Mawer’s extensive knowledge of the English language, I thought it would be prudent to find out exactly what the word means, and to think how Miss Mawer might have interpreted it.

Here are various definitions from different sources:
Firm, unwavering…
Devoted or loyal (be that to a cause, to a person or to a belief)…
Not changing…
Staying the same for a long time and not changing quickly or unexpectedly…
To be steadfast is to imply a steady and unwavering course in love, allegiance, or conviction…

In other words, to be constant, faithful and loyal.

The exact compliment that was paid to Miss Mawer was mentioned in the speech that she gave at the celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Ginner-Mawer School of Speech and Drama, in 1937:

Of the many kind things that have been said about our work I think the two which I like best to remember are Gordon Craig’s ‘They are steadfast people.‘”

I think I understand perfectly why Miss Mawer appreciated the comment, and I think it suits her exactly. She never, ever shone the light on herself, she always reflected the glory onto those around her, onto Ruby Ginner and onto the School itself.  I think that if you gained her trust, then Mawer would stand by you through thick and thin, but I don’t think she gave her friendship easily. I don’t know if she was shy, or introverted, or on the autistic spectrum, but she never pushed herself forward – only her work. And even then, she put the work of Ruby Ginner ahead of her own.

As with so many qualities, they can be taken either way. So her ability to be loyal and true was also her downfall, in that by hiding her light under a bushel, the world was allowed to forget about her.  Until now.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement.

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