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established bookselling business in literature. No need here to enquire for Britain to be carried on continuously Samuel Butler, meaning thereby the for not quite two hundred years on the author of The Way of All Flesh. The same spot, Ellis's. The business was only Samuel Butler they have ever founded by a John Brinley, who chose heard of wrote Hudibras, whose coupthis location ‘on account of its con- lets are always on our lips, perhaps venience to the Royal Family and the without our knowing who wrote them. Quality of England.' The firm still From them I secured my copy of retains this 'convenience,' and no Hudibras, with the arms of Charles the doubt the patronage also, for these Second thereon, whose favorite poet things never change in England. A Butler was.
peet, oppoughingly first, and a him
this shop bought very expensive books, shop from Holborn to Great Russell such as unique Caxtons for three hun- Street, opposite the British Museum, dred, and Shakespeare folios for a which he laughingly refers to as his hundred pounds, it was supposed that annex. A gentleman first, and a bookit must be buying for Napoleon Bona- ' seller afterward, I have heard him parte, but it was later discovered that described. Not as young as he was its client was the Duke of Devonshire. when I first knew him, forty years ago,
Chine chronolong years ago I knew the business forty years ago as he is still going strong and will some Ellis and Elvey; now it is Ellis simply; day hand over a well-established busibut there has been no Ellis connected ness to his son Hugh, the most popular with it for more than a generation. boy selling books in England, and justly
If you go to the top of Bond Street so. I love him for himself, and for his and cross New Oxford Street, you will father's sake and his mother's. bump into Bumpus, an old established firm of booksellers, who for years have been handling new books almost exclusively, but who have recently opened Reader, if some day you happen to an excellent rare-book department in be in that quarter of London known as charge of a very competent man whose Soho, about lunch-time, drop into a name I have forgotten — but my check well-known restaurant, “The Rendezbook shows the scars of several en- vous,’in Dean Street; go in and keep on counters with him. And by all means, going until in the back room you may wander still farther north and call on espy two men seated at a small table my friend Francis Edwards, in Maryle- in the corner. You must not speak to bone.
them but you may listen — and you I always think of Austin Dobson's will learn much. You will observe that lines as I go —
the wife of one of them has permitted
her husband to retain a great deal of And ladies of rank to perfect their tone
hair: that would be Mr. Clement Went out of town to Marylebone!
Shorter, the editor of the Sphere, a Mr. Edwards has one of the best most kindly man and a fine bookman, general bookshops in London, in which the possessor of an excellent library at I pleasantly loiter away many hours. his delightful country place at Great Or, go the other way toward St. Missenden, where I have spent many James's Square, and near by in King happy hours. Street is Pickering and Chatto, a firm The man with him, whose hair is that specializes in Tudor and Stuart conspicuous by its absence, is Mr.
Thomas James Wise, whose library of first editions, from 1640 say, is unex
To possess all works seasoned and rare celled in the world. This is a tall order,
Or Caxton or Tonson but no one acquainted with it would And thus do they banish dull care. dispute the statement. These two men have been lunching together once every In public with Shorter and Wise week for — well, how many years old
It is Newton that causes surprise
His dominant suiting is their business? All that time they
From Mayfair to Tooting have been talking books — nothing Occasions ungracious surmise. but books! For subjects within his range, no man has the knowledge that With Shorter and Newton and Wise Mr. Wise has. Alert, shrewd, gifted
Confusion is apt to arise
But Newton is Shorter – with a wonderful memory, and with
At least by one quarter sufficient means to gratify his tastes, And certainly Shorter is Wise. he has for fifty years secured the best of whatever has come upon the London Not everyone can wear plaids with market. A stickler for condition, only distinction, and I feel that this slur was the best can secure a place upon his prompted by jealousy. shelves. Reader, think of the rarest book (since 1640, mind you) you know,
IV and then go to Mr. Wise's library (if you can), and you will find it: in boards, “So this is London,' I remarked to uncut, if perchance it was published myself one day as I laid aside my that way, 'with the label'; or perhaps a Times. “But is it possible that George, presentation copy with some especially the Fifth of that Ilk, is reigning?' significant inscription.
From glancing at what is going on in When I am in London, you will see the theatres one might suppose that three men at that corner table; I shall Queen Victoria was still upon the be listening, and when I assume the throne. Bear with me while I run over rôle of a listener there must be a good the list of attractions. “When Bunty reason for it. Into this little coterie, Pulls the Strings' and 'What Every I several times last winter introduced a Woman Knows,' both clever, amusing fourth person, Colonel Ralph Isham, comedies, but not of yesterday or even an American officer now living in the day before. Would you see a London, who during the war served in bright sparkling operette? “The Merry the English army with distinction. Widow' is at Daly's, as it has been any Colonel Isham collects Johnson and time these last three years. And there Goldsmith, which he may, for I have is, of course, that best of all operas, mine; but if he supplants me with my 'The Beggar's Opera,' first produced at friends he will be in greater danger the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields in than he ever was in France. These 1728. It is really the most up-to-date little verses came to us from him after show in London. Certainly it is the one of our meetings.
most artistic and enjoyable performTHE TRIUMVIRATE
ance given here in a generation; but I
have seen it seven times and am not In Shorter and Newton and Wise
qualifying for a place in ‘The Beggar's A simple affinity lies They have mutual books
Opera Club,’ to attain which one must And tastes — and good looks
have seen it fifty times. 'The Prisoner And they argue the 'Wherefores' and 'Whys. of Zenda' is playing somewhere, and
The Beguise, that bycars. Anden any
“The Importance of Being Earnest' is eight years ago in New York. The at the Haymarket; this, the most bril- story is this: an American girl of some liant comedy of my time, I went to charm and wealth comes to London see. It is just too old to be young and and marries a man with a title. Her too young to be old, still I enjoyed it, husband never appears; he is the only but to think that I should live to see man in London who is never to be seen Oscar Wilde out-moded, to use a in his wife's drawing-room. She is phrase of Max Beerbohm's! Our being 'protected by a rich, vulgar Oscar!' who introduced the comedy of American who allows her ten thousand words to our stage after a century's a year, which, with her own fortune, absence. The costumes were of to-day makes her independent. Her younger and the women were not up to their sister, also with money, comes to parts; the country girl, who, when told London from New York, or Chicago, by the city belle that 'she had no idea or somewhere, followed by a stupid that flowers were so common in the American boy very much in love with country,' replies that 'flowers are as her. There are two or three women common in the country as people are in who talk interminably to two or three London,' gave these telling lines while Englishmen of the ‘silly-ass' type. people were snickering from the first Nothing happens but talk, until the witticism and, seemingly, no one heard last part of the last act, when the them but myself. I was waiting for young girl — having become engaged them. Once again, one can see 'Sweet to a Lord, the usual exchange of money Lavender’and 'The Private Secretary for title — discovers that her married One has a horrid feeling that “Two sister, being 'protected' by one man, Orphans' are lurking just around the is misbehaving with another. The corner — and is that 'Uncle Tom's younger girl tells her sister what she Cabin' that I see in the distance? thinks of her, whereupon the elder
Now there is a tragic reason for all sister gives the younger a piece of her this: the war did alike for playwrights, mind. There is something that apactors, actresses, and audiences. Lon- proaches acting for seven minutes, and don to-day has no important play- some plain statements of the English wrights other than Shaw and Barrie; people's feeling for us, such as one these are still with us but their work is would never think of uttering at the done. The fine actors of a generation English-Speaking Union in Trafalgar ago have passed away, and the people Square or at a Pilgrim dinner. who fill the theatres to-day are a new ‘Do you think,' says the married generation of playgoers who know little American woman to her sister, the either of plays or of acting and do not ingénue, 'that without money an demand the best. "The money has American would be tolerated in Lonchanged hands,' they tell you in Lon- don society?' don: the people who had it once have ‘Do you think your lord would have it no longer; it is very sad.
proposed to you if he had n't seen you in "You must see “Our Betters.” You the setting in which I have placed you?' won't like it, but it is the best thing in ‘Do you think anyone in society London,' someone told me. Looking in would come here if I did n't pay them the newspaper, I read: 'It makes the for coming by giving them what they audience gasp.' I went, I did not love and are too poor to buy for them'gasp'; I yawned. Somerset Maugham selves: rich food, fine wines, music, wrote it, and it was played seven or flowers, luxury?'
'Do you think the English love us? it is the eldest of them who stands and They don't: is there any reason why offers a grace before they begin: they should?' 'Do you think English
'Come eat with us, God in heaven high, fathers and mothers like to see their
And take no heed though there be no housing.' best young men married to American girls? Do you think the English girls to which another replies, simply:like it? An American girl that marries an Englishman deserves what she gets
'Housing enough have we
While that we have heaven over our heads.' - snubs on all sides. The English love our money, but they hate us.'
When they have finished they call their This was the 'gasping' part; it is not
servant, Trowle, and offer him food; a good play but the playwright, an
but he, being a sturdy and independent Englishman, told the truth, and it fellow, refuses to eat what is left and is needs telling.
brought to a show of friendliness only Without a doubt the most artistichu
by the offer of a wrestling match. He production in London was the Nativity Acors his masters one after another Play at the ‘Old Vic,' which, under the with ignominy, and departs. direction of its guiding spirit, Miss "The
The three shepherds, rubbing their Baylis, carries on Finely in spite of the bruises and mildly cursing him, then blight which has fallen upon the Lon
on- lie down to sleep, from which they are
lie don theatres. Miss Baylis wanted a
awakened by the Star that blazes over play suitable for Christmas and com
their heads turning night into day and municated her desire to Robert Atkins,
filling them with dread. Trembling who is responsible for its production. they take counse
they take counsel together and Trowle He read a score or more of plays in the
creeps back to them abashed. They British Museum, and finally stumbled
hear a Gloria in Excelsis (in this case a upon ‘The Play of the Shepherds,' for
newly discovered Gloria of the Elizamerly acted by the ‘Paynters and
bethan composer, Weelkes) and dispute Glasiors' of the old city of Chester
over such words of it as they can catch. about six hundred years ago. It was
Then an angel appears to them and handed down from mouth to mouth for
reassured they start upon their pilseveral hundred years before it was
grimage to Bethlehem, singing as they written out in the form in which it now
go. is, and, as one critic said, 'to our shame
Finding the Virgin and the Christ and ecstasy,' it is now given for the Child, they lay at his feet such gifts as first time in centuries at the Old Vic.
they have; a sheep's bell and a flask Its incidents are very simple: it is the eve of the Nativity; three shep 'Whereat hangs a spoon herds are sitting on a hillside; while To eat thy pottage withal at noon,' eating their supper of bread and cheese and an onion, washed down with a
and a stick with a crook in it, for
and flagon of mead, they fall into discussion "... although thou be come from God, of the diseases of sheep and boast of And be God thyself in thy manhood, their skill in curing them.
Yet I know that in thy childhood It seems curious to one brought up Thou wilt for something look,
To pull down apples, pears, and plumbs it in the tenets of democracy to observe
maybe.' the operation of the principle of rank even among shepherds. They are And Trowle gives him the cap from comic or at least jovial characters, but off his head, having nothing else, and
‘My good heart while I live
is to be given an honorary M.A. by the And my prayers till death to me call.
University of Oxford. Well does she And solemnly the shepherds kiss one deserve it! another and depart to tell the world what they have seen.
I spent three months in England, The effect this old play had upon the three of the worst months in the year: audience can hardly be described. November, December, and January. One could have heard the fall of the During all that time England was in a proverbial pin as the loveliest legend of fog, but it was financial and political, all time was unfolded, with absolute not atmospheric. I suspect the weather simplicity, with complete reverence, has been much maligned. We had a and with profound feeling. If the play half-rainy day once, a rainy half-day had been given at a fashionable West once, a little fog, and for the rest — End theatre, the papers would have well, not bright sunshine, the sun we rung with its praise, but the West End seldom saw, but it was clear and not was busy with that hardy perennial, cold. Damp? Yes, incredibly so; but 'Charley's Aunt,' and it passed almost I dressed like a Laplander, and I was unnoticed.
at all times perfectly comfortable. Taking only a little over an hour to When I came home my partner met act, it was followed by Russell Thorn- me at the dock in New York, and in my dike's dramatic version of ‘A Christmas enthusiasm I said I had had occasion Carol,' beautifully given, to the delight to put up my umbrella only once all of the audience who were transfixed the time I was away. with horror at the coming of Marley's ‘My experience exactly,' he said. ghost, and enjoyed the transformation cat the coming offomaniei si
'The last time I was in England I put of Scrooge and Bob Cratchit's dinner my umbrella up as I came down the as much as he did. These performances gangplank and I put it down as I went were given repeatedly to packed houses; up several months later.' most of the audience paid a shilling! But the fact is, – Well may Augustine Birrell say, "I
It's sunshiny weather rank the Old Vic at the very top of our
When we are together educational institutions'; and the last word from London is that Miss Baylis my ‘Old Lady London' and I.