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told that there are sixty Bartons on the map of England), I feel inclined to recast the proverb and reproduce it in the form "every county has the Bartons it deserves." Now how does Bedfordshire stand this test?
Warwickshire has Barton-in-theHeath (which sounds breezy enough to suit Mr. Petulengro), and Leicestershire Barton-in-the-Beans (and thus placed a Barton may well be a paradise in June), but Bedfordshire? Bedfordshire has Barton-in-the-Clay. How dull! It might be the original of the place which a popular divine (author of sundry stories of school life which as schoolboys we used to read with a kind of fascinated amazement at the unlikeness of the presentment to the reality which we knew) chose as the home of one of his characters, a boy of parts but handicapped by depressing surroundings-it might be the original of Fuzby-le-Mud, home of Kenrick in "St. Winifred's, or the World of
Yet doubtless Bedfordshire has its admirers. Horace Walpole, who referred to Northamptonshire as "a lump of mud, stuck over with steeples," speaks of "dear old Bedfordshire." And if the name of your native place leaves something to be desired, so long as it be a real name and not selected from the "Classical Dictionary," or invented for purposes of advertisement like Port Sunlight or Garden City, loyalty demands that you should stick to it. Apart from this a change is rarely a change for the better. I read the other day that a place called Mersea in Essex was to be developed and formed into two fashionable watering-places, and that these by special permission of royalty were to bear the names of Kingsville and Queensville. I yield to no man in devotion to the throne, yet I cannot help feeling that here we are getting perilously near to Briggsville and Jacksonville. Fowlmere,
which has of late years appeared in ordnance maps in place of Foulmire, the denomination to which a Cambridgeshire village had long submitted, is, I believe, a genuine restoration of a corrupt reading. But it was on no grounds of archæological correctness that the unsuccessful applicants of whom I have now to speak based their claim to re-christen their native villages. There is in Dorset a group of villages which in some form or other have as their eponym the stream in whose valley they are situated. The stream is named Puddle, and the villages bear the names of Puddle-Hinton, Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Turner's Puddle, and Bryan's Puddle. One is reminded of the riddle about the letter "m." Some, like Queen Mary, "have it before," some, like King William, "have it behind.” Poor things, poor things! The inhabitants of these villages sent to a former PostmasterGeneral-if I am rightly informed, Mr. Cecil Raikes-a request that they might be allowed to change their names, and replace them with more euphonious substitutes which they obligingly supplied. Back came the official reply, curt, overbearing, inexorable, "Puddle you are and Puddle you must remain."
This ruling may seem all very well to those who live at Stow-on-the-Wold or Lydiard Millicent or Compton Winyates but it may appear a difficult doctrine to those whom Fortune has caused to be born at Blunham or Bungay or Mumby Road. And yet I wrong the dwellers at these places by the wholly unwarranted assumption that they have ever had the smallest idea of changing the names referred to. For names become dear for many a good reason besides that of euphony. And here I feel I owe some apology to those the names of whose native places I have touched upon with the uncomprehending levity of the outsider. It
was but for a moment's diversion, and it is not in this spirit that I turn from a superficial consideration of names which, quaint or beautiful, are but the labels of far more charming realities. Villages of England, nestling beneath smooth downs, or lifted high on breezy wolds, bowered in woods where only the straight blue smoke of October days betrays your hiding, or pricking the sky with spires far seen across The Cornhill Magazine.
East Anglican flats, clustered round spacious greens or mirrored in slowmoving waters, how many an Englishman dying in lands far off has sought you with his inward vision, sought you and seen you clearly though his outward eye grew dim. We who with living eyes may still behold salute you with a tribute of admiration and of love.
WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS.
NOTES ON CHARACTERS IN THIS
Holt St. John.-Theatrical manager. A man of the finest artistic taste. Otherwise a brute, especially in manner. A biggish man. He cares for nothing and nobody when his artistic ideas are at stake. Occasionally there is something wistful in his voice. Age about 50.
Henry Cleland.—Stage-manager. little, obsequious man, with sharp features. A time-server, and capable of duplicity. Profound admirer of his wife. Age 46.
Mrs. Cleland (Henrietta Blackwood). -A fine actress. Too good for the public. Wearing out after a long and arduous career; but she can still play virgins. Disillusioned, naturally. Isn't quite sure whether she has ever been a genuine "star" or not, in the eyes of the public. Kind-hearted. Great admiration for St. John. Age unknown.
Same scene. Time: Monday morning. (Disk, blue.) Sir Charles is alone, dictating into the dictaphone.
Sir C. I must have a reply by return or it is off. Yours faithfully.
Lord Rugby. My dear Rugby, All my excuses for not coming round last night to the smoker. I was prevented by the most urgent business. You never know in my trade what may turn up. See you, I suppose, at the Committee [Enter Kendrick and Emily Vernon, r.]
Sir C. [finishing quickly]-meeting of the A.C. next Thursday. Yours sincerely. [He jumps up.]
Kendrick. I met Mrs. Vernon in the street and piloted her up.
Sir C. [nervous, shaking hands with Emily]. Good morning. Have this chair, will you?
Emily [questioningly]. the adventure?
No worse for
All right! I've got a meeting on here at twelve. Half a moment! [Hastens to door l. and opens it.] I say, Frank. Oh! you are there! Come and look after Mrs. Vernon. [To Emily.] Excuse me two seconds, will you. Now, Kendrick! [Exeunt Sir Charles and Kendrick, r. Enter Francis taking off his gloves.]
Francis. Well Emily. [They shake hands.]
Emily. You seem to be quite installed here.
Francis. I'm the darling of the place. My dramatic criticism is said to be snappy without being vicious. And now I've been appointed head of the obituary department, at my own request. Add this to my chairmanship of the Prince's Theatre, Limited
Emily. Why the obituary department?
Francis. It seemed to give the widest scope for humor. And you know, humor is just what this place is short of.
Emily. I thought you published lots of comic papers.
Francis. Have you ever seen one of our comic papers?
Francis. Well, have a look at one. ... No, that's hardly friendly. Don't have a look at one.
Emily. And is that your room now? [indicating door l.]
Francis. That is my room. I'm on the very steps of the throne.
Emily. I should never have guessed that you would settle down here.
Francis [mock-confidentially, in a lower voice]. I sha'n't. My only rule is never to settle down. But as an amateur of human nature I couldn't miss such a unique opportunity of studying the English mind as fed by the Worgan press, and the English ideal as mirrored in the British Theatre. Could I? I shall probably give myself a year of this excitement. More would not LIVING AGE. VOL. XLV. 2339
r ms. Where should you have called if you'd wanted to see me? . . . However, I'll be candid with you. I was just as startled as you are more, even!
Francis. I'm-why should you be startled? Unless, of course, it's a nunnery that you inhabit.
Emily. Put yourself in the position of the poor but virtuous actress spending a pleasant Sunday afternoon washing imitation lace-when in walks Sir Charles Worgan, millionaire.
Francis. But after all Charlie is only Charlie.
Emily. That's where you're wrong. He's a good deal more than Charlie. So I concealed the lace.
Francis. Did he come in the motor? Emily. He came on his feet. Why? Francis. Nothing. Only he started out in the motor.
Emily. I daresay it broke down. Francis. And he came back in it. Emily [impatiently]. Indeed! Well, there's another mystery of a motor-car, that's all! The point is that he called to consult me.
Francis. What about?
Emily. About the next production at the Prince's. You see, I have always read plays for the Chief. That's really how the Chief came to take me on, and I suppose that's why they gave me a share in the company and called
Emily. Yes. He said he understood that the next production was to be "The Merchant of Venice."
Francis. So it was.
Emily. The Chief appears to be changing his mind. Just recently he's read "The Lion's Share"-that Welsh piece by Lloyd Morgan.
Francis. Stage Society?
Emily. Yes. He went to one of the rehearsals, and he's tremendously keen on it.
Francis. Really! [Taking tickets and programme from his pocket.] Yes. That's it. I'm going to see it this afternoon. They've sent me a couple of tickets. Care to come?
Emily. You needn't be so stuck up with your two tickets. I went last night.
Francis. Why, you informed me not long since that it was impossible to get tickets for Sunday night performances of the Stage Society. You said even duchesses were glad to crowd into the gallery, and critics hadn't a dog's chance.
Emily. Charles had got tickets somehow. He left a stall for me and asked me if I'd go. He told me he might be there himself, but he wasn't sure.
Francis. And was he?
Emily. Yes. [With a trace of selfconsciousness, after a pause.]
the next stall to mine.
Emily [shakes her head; a little pause]. He didn't see it.
Francis. I suppose it's one of those disagreeable plays, as we say in the "Mercury"-the disastrous effect of French influence on the Non-conformist mind.
Emily. It was so real that I could have
Francis. You confirm my worst suspicions.
Emily [smiling]. You're bound to enjoy it.
Francis. But Charlie didn't?
Emily. And yet, you know, he is clever don't you think so? Just look at what he's done with the Prince's? Don't you think he's frightfully clever? Francis. Clever isn't the word. Emily. What is the word? Francis. There isn't a word. lived with Charlie now for four months, and I've looked carefully through the dictionary, and I've satisfied myself that there isn't a word. Charlie baffles.
Emily. Yes, that's why he's so fas cinating. I was only thinking, as I walked back last night- [stopping; in a different voice] I may as well tell you we walked back together after the theatre to my square. It was such a lovely night.
Francis. It was. [Enter Page-boy with St. John.]
Page-boy. Mr. St. John. [Exit.] Francis [rising]. Good morning, St. John. How are you?
St. John. Mondayish. [To Emily.] Hello! What are you doing here?
Emily [shaking hands with him]. Good morning, Chief. Sir Charles asked me to come.
St. John [displeased]. Oh! [Enter Sir Charles, r., quickly.]
Sir C. Morning, St. John [shakes hands]. Thanks for being so prompt. St. John. I thought you wanted to have a chat with me?
Sir C. So I do. But it occurred to me afterwards there couldn't be any
harm in asking all the other directors. [He takes record out of dictaphone.]
St. John. Do you mean to say Cleland and his wife are coming?
Sir C. Well, my dear St. John, surely your stage-manager and your leading lady ought to be consulted, if any one ought, especially as they're directors
St. John. Is this a board meeting, or isn't it? If it is, why hasn't it been properly summoned? I don't set up as a cast-iron devotee of business rules, but
Sir C. Not strictly a board meeting. Francis. Rather, a meeting of the board [To Sir Charles.] There's no "chair," I take it?
Sir C. No, no; quite unnecessary. Now, St. John, I just want to state a few things [looking at clock]. Well, of course if the Clelands are late, we can't help it. Anyhow-[pause, as if making up his mind] I've been going into the accounts, and it may be said that we've turned the corner-but not very far. There's been a profit of about a hundred pounds on the last three monthssince the company was definitely formed. A hundred pounds in three months is not much. It will just pay the interest on the debentures. course it would have been larger but for the matinées of "The Broken Heart. On the other hand, it would have been smaller-in fact there would have been a loss-if we had paid proper salaries. The directors get nothing, as directors. Mr. Cleland and Miss Henrietta Blackwood accept rather nominal salaries, partly because they're together, but no doubt partly on account of Mrs. Cleland's-er-advancing age; the other members of the troupe are equally ill-paid. As for you. St. John, your remuneration as manager is-well, inadequate.
St. John. Don't you worry about that. You can put it that what I receive is for playing a small part now
and then. For my producing there's no question of adequate remuneration. Couldn't be! Frohman himself couldn't remunerate me adequately for my producing! I'm the greatest producer on earth. Every one knows that.
We must The future
Sir C. Well, there it is! All I want to point out is that we are at a critical period in our career. We mustn't be too satisfied with ourselves. consolidate our position. depends on what we do now. Our present bill will probably run another couple of months.
St. John. It may, or it mayn't. I never like to run a piece out. I want to have something else ready in three weeks, and I can do it.
Sir C. That's just what I'm anxious to discuss. Do you really mean that you can do a Shakespearian production in three weeks?
St. John. I've decided against "The Merchant of Venice." I thought you understood that I'm going to do "The Lion's Share." I saw it last night, and I practically arranged with the author-Lloyd Morgan, or Morgan Lloyd, or whatever his name is. It's a great thing. Let everybody take notice of what I say! It's a great thing!
Sir C. I also saw it last night. It may or may not be a great thing-I don't pretend to be a judge
St. John. That's all right then. I do. Sir C. But I pretend to be a judge of what will succeed. And I don't think "The Lion's Share" would succeed. I'm quite sure it isn't a certainty.
St. John. It's no part of my scheme to produce certainties. As far as that goes, I've never met one. More money has been lost on certainties than would pay off the bally National Debt. My scheme is to produce masterpieces.
Sir C. And if the public won't come to see them?
St. John. So much the worse for the public! The loss is theirs!