Largest Circulation of Any Evening Paper in the Kingdom.
LONDON. WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER, 1888.
SIR PETER EDLIN has been distinguishing himself lately by the reckless severity of his sentences. The reports of the Middlesex Sessions a day or two ago recorded a number of savage and barbarous sentences on mendicants. Yesterday Sir Peter had some offenders of a worse character before him in the shape of a couple of hotel thieves, and he rose to the occasion by sentencing one of them six times over to five years' penal servitude. We have no desire to take up the cause of hotel thieves. They are a great nuisance within their sphere no doubt, though the sphere is rather limited, and their victims generally people who have plenty to lose. But it is impossible to help contrasting these sentences for offences against property with the usual scale at the Middlesex Sessions and elsewhere for offences against the person. We shall watch very carefully to see what Sir Peter Edlin does with the next wife-beater who comes before him.
SIR CHARLES WARREN has at length proved the use of bloodhounds for the detection of the East-end murderer. He has done so weeks after we pointed out the obvious value of such a precaution. Here were murders taking place under circumstances which pointed to bloodhounds as ideal detectives. In each case the streets were unoccupied, the scent was clear. Dogs might have led straight away to the murderer's retreat, and he would have been trapped like a rat in a hole. Why was not this done after the third murder? Why was it not done after the fourth? Why was it not even thought of till exactly five days after the fifth and sixth? The whole thing is simply a monstrous instance of the utter incapacity and mere canine passion for routine which characterises Scotland-yard and its distinguished head.
Canon Taylor's striking article in the Fortnightly Review on "The Great Missionary Failure" has not received the attention it deserves. Canon Taylor, an East-end clergyman, says briefly that the million a year we spend, and the second million which America and the Continent spend, in Protestant missions are wasted. At the present rate of progress it will take us 183 years to overtake one year's addition to the non-Christian population in Asia and Africa. The Church Missionary Society spends about £300,000 a year on missions to heathens and Mohammedans. But it would take the Society 2,750 years to overtake the births of heathens in one year; if population kept stationary it would take them 330,000 years to convert the world, or a million years taking relapses and births into account. It would take the society 100,000 years to convert India; and 27,000 years to overtake a single year's addition to heathenism in China. In Egypt there were last year only two dubious "inquirers," and no converts. In such countries as Syria and Palestine, there are really no converts, and no hope of getting them. As for the converts, they are as bad in character as they are few in numbers. They are "drunkards, liars, unclean livers." Not long ago some African Christians quarrelled, and the victors ate the conquered, being "suspended from Church privileges" - i.e., the Communion - for their venial relapse into cannibalism. It is obviously useless to spend more money, for the most expensive missions are the most unproductive, and the only real successes are missions where the emissaries have no salaries, or wives or positions, buy their own food, live the lives of natives, clothe and conduct themselves like the natives, and preach, not dogmas, but a spirit and a life.
But that does not exhaust the case. Why do we fail to "convert the heathen?" as we pleasantly say. For the very good reason that the "heathen" know too much of us to believe our religion. Send a baboo down the Haymarket or through the East-end and see what he will think of Christianity, not in teaching but in practice. The African savage knows us as drunken, debauched, cheating, rum-selling, bargain-driving traders, not as followers of the unworldly gospel we teach. When the source is poisoned, what is the use of pouring out fresh streams on thirsty heathendom? "Physician, heal thyself."
Supposing that for one year we suspended the foreign missions, and set ourselves to cleansing not the Dark Continent, but the Hanbury-street district - not Mohammedan India, but Christian London - we should then have a million in hand. With that we could -
1. Establish the Bishop of Bedford's laundry for outcasts wanting work.
2. Carry out Dr. Barnardo's idea of model lodging-houses for children with hopelessly vicious parents.
3. Provide superior "doss"- houses for grown ups.
4. Buy up tenement houses of the lower character, and replace them by working-men's dwellings at fair rents.
5. Start companies for supplying the electric light at the East-end, not for profit but for the people's benefit.
6. Give us technical schools for the East-end.
7. Extend the temperance and mission work of Mr. Mearns, the Salvationists, the Catholics, and others.
If this were done year by year we should do something at least to rout out criminal quarters, and give the next generation - if not this - a chance. Nothing, perhaps, would go to the root of the matter except striking at the great "land corners" in London, by which the land monopolists dock the poor of 50 per cent. of their wages, force them into mere lairs and kennels instead of houses, prevent the expansion of the city into the surrounding districts, and leave us without funds for People's Palaces, parks, schools of technical and intermediate education, and all the objects which could be met by a rational scheme of taxation, based, not on industry, but on the land values which the community, and not individuals, create.
Thus, having taken the beam out of our own eye, we could look abroad for the mote in our neighbor's, and could send abroad, not comfortable gentlemen in black coats and at large salaries, but men touched with the apostolic fire of enthusiasm, and having behind them the experience of a rational Christian society.
LYCEUM THEATRE. - Sole Lessee, Mr. Henry Irving.
MR. RICHARD MANSFIELD.
TO-NIGHT at 9, and FRIDAY EVENING, DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. Preceded, at 8, by LESBIA. TO-MORROW NIGHT, at 8, and SATURDAY EVENING (MATINEE, SATURDAY at 2) A PARISIAN ROMANCE.
Box-office (Mr. J. Hurst) open 10 to 5.
The Total Circulation of
For the Six Days ending 6 Oct. was
A DAILY AVERAGE
MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF A FACTORY GIRL IN HER FRIEND'S HOUSE.
The Doctor Declares that Abortion was Procured - Her Sweetheart Protests his Innocence - The Coroner and Jury Both Complain of Perjury - Curious Mental Wanderings of the Girl.
Coroner Westcott held an adjourned inquest last evening which lasted four hours on Emma Wakefield, aged 20, a spinster, daughter of a cabdriver, of 17, Haverstock-road, who died on 29 Sept., at 60, Aldenham-street, Somers Town. The deceased, who was described as a good-looking, well-conducted girl, worked at Mr. Homan's, shell box manufactory, 93, Charrington-street, Somers Town, where she earned 9s. per week, and was engaged to be married to Thomas Price, a young man employed at Messrs. McCorquodale's printing works, Cardington-street. With the latter's married sister, Mrs. Burrow's, the deceased lodged for six weeks prior to her death during the absence of her mother in the country. On Sunday evening, the 23rd ult., after being out with her sweetheart an hour and a half, she returned to the house of Mrs. Burrows, 60, Aldenham-street, and retired to her bedroom ill. The next night she consulted Dr. Kennedy, who treated her for a severe cough and cold, but she gradually got worse, and expired on the following Saturday. A post-mortem examination revealed that the deceased had been enceinte, and Dr. Kennedy and Dr. D. R. Jones (the latter the medical officer of Mr. Homan's factory, who had suspected the girl's condition and ceased to be consulted by her), were agreed that
caused death, and that an instrument, which inflicted wounds, had been used. - Thomas Price said he had "kept company" with the deceased five years, and they were to be married next Whitsuntide. He earned £1 per week and helped to maintain his mother. He emphatically denied that he was responsible for the deceased's condition, and added that he was wholly unaware of it until after the post-mortem examination. He had no reason to suspect that she was on terms of intimacy with any other man. - Mrs. Burrows, whose husband, an ailing man, had died, as she said, from "shock" since the opening of the inquest, was in attendance upon the girl during her illness, as were Mrs. Price, witness's mother, and a Mrs. Pite, witness's cousin.
of the real cause of the girl's illness or of her previous condition. Mr. Homan said the deceased borrowed 10s. of him six weeks ago, but neither her mother, who returned home before her daughter's death, nor any of her friends were aware of this, or how she spent the money. - Mrs. Wakefield was asked by the Coroner whether her daughter made anything in the nature of a dying confession. She replied "Yes; she said an angel was waiting to receive her; that she was leaving the world
that she was quitting this life without a fault upon her tongue, and that she was cut down in the midst of her bloom." Then she would sing hymns. "Oh, so sweetly," said the witness. - The Coroner: Did she allude to any persons? - Witness: Yes; she said, "Look at that woman in the corner, you liar, you liar! You deceived me. Go out of this room." Mrs. Price was in the corner. Then his daughter exclaimed, "Is there a man in the room? If so, let him get up and speak for himself and answer like a man." All this was shortly before she died. Mrs. Price deposed to accompanying the deceased, at the latter's request, to Dr. Kennedy's, on Monday night, 24 Sept., but her account of what was said on the occasion differed from that of the doctor's. Just before the deceased expired she mentioned the name of some person, but the witness did not remember it. - A Juror: Was it Price: - Witness: No, it was Johnson. - Mr. Homan explained that Mr. Johnson, his brother-in-law, who was a married man 50 years old, was the foreman of the department of his factory in which the deceased worked. He had been with witness 27 years. Mrs. Price added that Mr. Johnson called with Dr. Jones to see the deceased. After they had gone the deceased mentioned Mr. Johnson's name, and said,
Mrs. Jane Pite's version of the language used was somewhat different. She stated that while the deceased was delirious she exclaimed, "Stand up, Mr. Johnson! Father, look at him! Mrs. Price, get out of the way." Then she turned to the wall and said, "Ah! I have got you!" Presently she began singing "Yes or no before I go." She sang beautifully. Witness did not regard her talk seriously, as she was evidently delirious and called witness "a liar" more than once. Other evidence showed that the police, who searched 60, Aldenham-street, immediately after the inquest, found nothing to explain the means of the girl's death. Her father, although he owned that Price and his daughter were often out until midnight, and he had to remonstrate with them in consequence, said he did not think Price "would hurt a hair of her head." The jury having deliberated in private found that the deceased died from the effects of blood poisoning following abortion, caused by the illegal use of instruments, and they were of opinion that some person or persons at present unknown were guilty of causing her death. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the evidence of some of the witnesses, and added that they attached no suspicion to Mr. Johnson. The Coroner: Your verdict is tantamount to one of wilful murder. I think perjury has been committed.
Several Birmingham correspondents send us copies of the following:-
To the Editor of the "Birmingham Daily Mail."
On sending to the village this evening for a paper I am informed "they only have The Star?, and that comes at nine." This is a very dangerous state of things, leaving the mining population to be educated and instructed by that Fenian rag.
I hope the local press will take care that the Unionist papers are as freely circulated as the disloyal paper in question. - Yours faithfully
Hamstead Hall, 7 Oct., 1888.
Mr. Kynoch is an M.P. and a gentleman.
Pat Ennis writes from 46, Great Peter-street, Westminster: - Having seen in your issue of to-day a paragraph, headed "The Police Down on Newsboys," and having been victimised myself in a somewhat similar manner as the lad in the case referred to in The Star, I would take the liberty of bringing the matter before you. On Friday evening last I was standing near the Aquarium, at the corner of Tothill-street, endeavoring to earn a crust by the sale of The Star, United Ireland, &c., but the "active and intelligent" member of the force on duty there compelled me to move on, and that at a very quick pace, for he chased me down the Broad Sanctuary, and only desisted when exhausted nature compelled him. Now, sir, if this sort of treatment was meted out impartially to vendors of newspapers of all shades of politics alike, it would be harsh and cruel enough, but what can be said when it is reserved only for those who commit the terrible crime of exposing for sale such rabid Radical organs as The Star, United Ireland, &c. For while I was being chased the vendors of the Unionist evening papers were left unmolested; and when I complained to the inspector he said exposing such cartoons was infamous, and that I deserved six months.
A news agency says that a general movement is going on among some of the Irish and Radical organisations of the metropolis with the view of endeavoring to revive the meetings in Trafalgar-square in support of the right of public meeting, free speech, and the amelioration of the condition of the unemployed. Some of the South London branches have promised their adhesion to the movement, as it is considered that the excitement at the East-end and the extra work cast on the police will afford them a favorable opportunity in Trafalgar-square. It is intended, if possible, to commence the first autumn meeting this year on Saturday afternoon next. The plan proposed is to proceed to the square as last year - by various routes. The proposal awaits the adhesion of the other clubs.
Thomas H. Rabbit, librarian of the Wimbledon Free Library, sends us a communication, written on both sides of the paper, in which he explains that The Star was presented to the library gratuitously by a certain newsagent, who in April last lost the contract for the supply of the papers. Last month he tendered again, but his rival, who quoted the same price, got the contract. The unsuccessful newsagent then notified that "on and after 20 Sept. he would cease to supply The Star, as a protest." It is added that the man who now supplies the papers emphatically denies that he ever refused to sell The Star.
It is expected that Inspector Marshall will furnish further important evidence at the adjourned inquest into the Whitehall mystery on 22 Oct. The spot where the body was found is still watched by the police, who will continue to guard the place until after the inquest. The fact that no stranger could have put the parcel in such an out-of-the-way corner considerably narrows the inquiry. Other workmen will be called who will prove that the parcel was not in the vault on the Saturday before the Monday when it was found. The men engaged on the works have taken the matter in hand, and are evidently endeavoring to ascertain the guilty one.
Information has been conveyed to the coroner of the deaths of two women, named Jane Connell, widow, of Swallow-street, Piccadilly, and Sarah Smith, needlewoman, of Bermondsey. Both were run over and killed in Regent-street. Mrs. Connell was crossing the road near Vigo-street, and she was run over by a carriage. Smith died in Charing-cross Hospital last night. She was run over in the same thoroughfare by a hansom. She was knocked down by one cab, and before she could regain her footing was run over by another.
A fierce attack was made late last night upon an "unfortunate" in Dublin. A man about 40 years of age and stoutly built, in company with a woman on one of the quays, which is rather dark, drew a knife and stabbed her, principally about the face. The wild cries of the woman attracted the police, who arrested the man. He will be charged before the magistrate to-day. The accused was shabbily dressed. A large number of people visited the scene, and considerable excitement prevailed.
An illustration of London's defenceless condition under Warren's regime took place yesterday at Brixton. A burglar broke into 30, Gresham-road. The caretaker next door, No. 28, a woman, heard the noise of his movements, and saw him attempting to get over the garden wall with two bundles. She prevented his departure. Two men passing by refused to assist the woman. A struggle took place between the thief and the plucky woman, and ultimately her cries attracted the attention of the police, whose station was only a stone's throw from the premises.
Shot on Clapham Common.
A gentleman was found by a policeman on Clapham Common yesterday with a bullet wound in his forehead. After a local doctor had extracted a bullet the man was taken to St. Thomas's Hospital, where he now lies in a serious condition. This morning he stated that his name is Harris, that he is a schoolmaster residing at Clifton-street, Wandsworth, and that another man, unknown, shot him.
Warrenism Still a Failure - Unfortunates Say They Know the Murderer.
Contrary to the usual custom, there were no arrests last night in Whitechapel. A man seized in Haggerston was released later on. The police think Whitechapel is now too closely watched for anything like a murder to take place undetected. If heard of again the man will commit a crime in another quarter of London. It seems as though this would be comparatively easy. The south-western suburbs are almost denuded of police at night to supply Whitechapel, and the murderer has given the burglars a good chance of making a living.
In the Whitechapel district detectives and policemen were within easy hail of each other, and the amateur policemen paraded about in gangs.
The following printed bill is posted up in Hanbury-street, nearly opposite the house where the body of Annie Chapman was discovered:-
"Men who are not curs do your duty. Protect the defenceless from the knife of the assassin. I will direct you." Then follow the name and address.
A reporter, who visited some of the wards of the infirmary of St. George's-in-the-East yesterday, found the unfortunate women inmates in a state of great excitement over the Whitechapel murders. Not one of them would entertain fanciful theories respecting the identity and objects of the murderer. They were positive the recent crimes have been the work of one man, who, by the descriptions given and anecdotes related, appears to be a street bully of a somewhat superior type. One woman named Jenny stated to Dr. Saunders that if she were well enough to get about she would soon find and identify the man who she is certain is the murderer. He frequently maltreated the women of the streets, and extorted money from them under threats of "ripping them up." They had sometimes appealed to the police, with the only result of a terrible beating from the scoundrel the very next night. Jenny said every woman in the ward would be able to pick the man out of a thousand. She described him as a foreigner about 40 years of age. She believed he had been a doctor. He dressed fairly well and generally carried a big heavy stick. The police have received more than one statement of this character from women of the street.
A gentleman who has had considerable experience in our police force called at The Star office yesterday to point out a defect in the organisation of the police, which, he says, has not yet been shown. This defect, of course, like other weaknesses, began with the ascendency of Warrenism. Our informant say that the individual energy of the policeman has been curtailed. He has not the same power of initiative as formerly. He cannot work unless he is set in motion. Warren has appointed additional officers, not to detect criminals, but to watch his own immacculate constables. "Gossiping" is now a terrible offence, and a policeman seen talking to anyone in the street, though he may be getting important hints from him, is promptly reported by his sergeant. The police do not keep so much in touch with the public. That, of course, is according to the aggressive military ideas of Sir Charles. The only "touch" which he likes to see the public get is a short, sharp knock on the head from an accommodating truncheon. Our informant also holds that the superintendents are quite unnecessary, and should be dispensed with. There are also, he thinks, too many inspectors, so that by doing away with some of these highly-paid but superfluous officers, Sir Charles could make a large increase to the rank-and-file without any additional cost. He also suggests that the watching of public buildings could be done by pensioners, and thus a number of able-bodied men would be released for street duty.
A well-attended meeting of the inhabitants of Spitalfields was held last night in the Unitarian Mission Hall, Buxton-street, Brick-lane. The meeting passed a resolution deploring the recent outrages, and declaring that no confidence could be put in the police until that force was under the control of the ratepayers. - Mr. Branch contended that the police had been diverted from their civilian duties. The immorality which prompted crime was the result of the bad housing of the poor. - Mr. J. Hall said a strong protest should be sent to the Government by the tradesmen of the district against the inefficient protection afforded life and property. - Mr. Pickersgill, M.P., denied that the subject of police control was a party question. He acknowledged the peculiar difficulty of the case, and counselled impartial criticism. A Government reward should have been offered for the discovery of the Whitechapel murderer, as it was an exceptional case, and public confidence needed something tangible to restore it. The outrages did not stand alone. There was less security than there ought to be. Although the neighborhood was full of extra police, a post-office had been robbed recently. If more stringent inspection of common lodging-houses was resolved upon, there should not be one law for the rich and another for the poor. He did not see why marriage certificates should be demanded in Whitechapel any more than at the West-end. Sir Charles Warren suggested that the district should be better lighted, but it had taken him two years to find it out. He put the question to the public whether the lighting of a poor district ought to fall on the poorer classes alone. This was a good time for pressing on the West-end conscience that the richer parts of London should help their poor neighbors, but he looked to the County Councils to remedy the present state of affairs. Copies of the resolution were ordered to be sent to Sir Charles Warren and the Home Secretary.
A naval pensioner, of West Norwood, sending his name and address, writes to us a circumstantial account of his meeting in that district a man who seemed greatly distressed, and said that he had something on his mind and that he was formerly a medical man. Our correspondent took the man to a police station, but the officer refused to examine him, and sent him away. His description is - Age 38 to 40, height 5ft. 8in. He has a dark moustache, clean-shaven chin, small eyes with dark rings under them, and wears large spectacles. He is dressed in a long black coat, dark grey trousers, a good high hat, and a white clerical necktie.
The Central News says the police have made what they consider an important arrest at Chingford. The man will be brought to Leman-street.
Will "Aden" call at The Star office?
The Congregational Union at Nottingham this morning passed in silence a resolution moved by Dr. Allon lamenting the loss to the Union and Nonconformity generally of Henry Richard, M.P., who through a long and useful life was a consistent and eloquent advocate of religious liberty and peace. The Rev. A Philps, of Coggleshall, read a paper on Congregational churches in villages, calling for greater assistance to be given by town to country churches. He recommended the grouping of small churches under one pastor, and strongly urged that lay agency should be more extensively developed. The Rev. F. Newland, an East-end minister, said that that part of London was a social volcano, and ought at once to be dealt with.
William Waddle, charged with the murder of Jane Beatmoor, at Birtley, on 22 Sept., was remanded by the Chester-le-Street magistrates this morning.
Jane Beetmoor's Wounds.
The adjourned inquest on the body of Jane Beetmoor, who was murdered and mutilated on Sunday, 23 Sept., at Birtley Fell, Gateshead, was held yesterday. The Coroner said he was sure the members of the local Press did not require to be told that it was not desirable to follow the lead of some of their brethren in the South of England in the publication of the details of post-mortem examination; it was necessary to give certain details in evidence, but it was very much against the interest of public decency and morality that that evidence should be made public. Doctor Walter Galloway described the result of his post-mortem examination. The wounds were not self-inflicted. The wound in the lower part of the body was, he thought, inflicted when the deceased was down. This was undoubtedly a fatal wound, and death would result in a very short time. There would be no time for screaming or struggling, as the flow of blood would be very copious, and life would soon drain away. The wounds were inflicted by a sharp-bladed knife, he should say about half an inch or three quarters of an inch broad, and about four inches long, and ending in a sharp angle at point. The wounds were all stabs. A miner named Gilmour spoke to seeing a man and woman together close to Ouston wagon-way about twenty minutes past ten o'clock. He did not know who they were, but the description he gave resembles the appearances of Waddell and Beetmoor. The man and the woman were quarrelling. Superintendent Green deposed to having received from a secondhand clothes dealer at Berwick the clothes that Waddell wore on the day of the murder, which he sold. The inquiry was adjourned until the 14th inst.
An Interview With Mr. H. A. Jones.
Is the stage deteriorating from an artistic point of view? Mr. Henry Irving, at the Pen and Pencil Club the other day, returned an emphatic nay. Mr. Clement Scott, in the course of a newspaper article the other day, gave an unwilling but scarcely less decisive yea. The actor and the critic have spoken; what says the author? Henry A. Jones has peculiar claims to be heard on his behalf. Six years ago the production of "The Silver King" took the town by storm, and at the same time aroused the strongest hopes of many who almost regarded it as the dawn of literary melodrama. Mr. Jones's name is still to some extent
associated with the brightest prospects of the popular stage, and as he has just written a play on Socialism he apparently does not despair of working out the vein struck in "Saints and Sinners." But does he share the feelings of the optimists? That was the "leading question" in the course of our interview. The reply may be thought by some to indicate a mind halting between two opinions. Others may see in his qualifying phrases and small admissions a strong faith in the future of the stage that is constantly struggling for the mastery.
I found Mr. Jones in his study (writes our representative) in the company of an artistic friend just arrived from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the New Gallery. As some readers will be aware, Townshend House, Regent's-park was until a few months ago the residence of Mr. Alma Tadema, as the inspiration - "as the sun colors flowers so art colors life" - placed by the painter across the study ceiling served to remind me. A glance at the furniture, pictures, and knic-knacks satisfied one that the house was still in the occupation of an artist - albeit one whose work is in a different sphere. From conversation on arts and crafts as exemplified by William Morris and Burne Jones, the transition to art on the stage was not very difficult.
"To a certain extent," Mr. Jones began, "I sympathise with Clement Scott's views. With him I consider that as a public amusement the stage is exceedingly flourishing. The theatres are crowded, they are rapidly multiplying, there are touring companies by the hundred, and we authors get long runs for our plays. So far everything is as satisfactory as it could possibly be. But what can be said from the art point of view? There is now no real dramatic literature, and the reputation of a playwright is not worth ten years' purchase. There is no organisation of the drama, no school of dramatic taste."
"But would you say that in the last 25 years there had been deterioration instead of improvement?"
"Not altogether. The Adelphi dramas, for instance, are, I dare say, no worse than those of 25 years ago. Still it is true that several theatres in London are sure to be successful unless they should happen to have a really good play - a rather remote contingency."
"Is there so much popular culture after all? I was reading the other day, in one of Henry Morley's little series, of an American who, in the course of a visit to England at the end of the last century, had a landlady in a street off the Strand whose daughter regularly read Milton to her. Could you find many lodging-house keepers near the Strand at the present time who would take a delight in 'Paradise Lost?'"
"And yet if a century ago a thoughtful man could have foreseen the popular education, cheap books, and free libraries of our day he would surely have predicted a better time for the stage."
"That is quite true. But you see there is such a fierce struggle for existence going on around us. People go to the theatre to escape the worries of business; at all costs they must be amused. We dramatists can't be dull even with 'a profound purpose' as Fielding put it. I remember witnessing a three-act farce once during the run of 'Saints and Sinners' at the Vaudeville. I was in the pit, and I heard one of my neighbors say to another, "Ever so much better than 'Saints and Sinners,' isn't it?" He was quite right. All he wanted was amusement, and the farce gave it him. As George Henry Lewes said, the old playgoer has almost disappeared. He saw a play again and again, applied to it literary criticism, knew the names of all the characters, and the different people who had played them."
"And yet the leisured class must be larger now than ever it was."
"Yes, and it goes to the St. James's or the Haymarket, where the pieces, with a few exceptions, are of much the same literary calibre as at the Adelphi or the Globe."
Mr. Jones proceeded to give his opinion that the parlous condition of the stage was partially due to the unfortunate position of the dramatic author. "In France," he exclaimed, "he is a member of the Academy; here he is too often a supernumerary of the stage manager and the leading actor. The author has to subordinate his art to the exigencies of the one or the vagaries of the other. He has to patch his plot to suit the manager, and his characters to suit the players. I should like to see some one with £50,000 take a theatre and give me carte blanche. "I dare say I should lose it for him," Mr. Jones added, laughing, but the experiment would be well worth making. At present the 'success' of most plays is a matter of advertisement."
"The old comedy companies - such as Compton's is - are still popular in the provinces?"
"Yes," replied Mr. Jones, "and as a rule they play Sheridan very well, although there is a good deal of 'business' and farce introduced. By the bye, I think that people have a very wrong impression about Shakspere. He may still spell 'ruin' to stage-managers, because the mounting is so costly. But he is played as much as ever. While Phelps played a piece for a week or a fortnight, Irving can run it for months. Then we have had quite an independent company at the Gaiety doing the 'Taming of the Shrew.' And when Irving goes the way of the majority, there is sure to be another actor to take his place."
"Generalisation is very difficult. As a great source of recreation I have no doubt the stage and all connected with it will go on prospering. Whether it will perform any greater part in national life it is more difficult to say. The public is like a big child, and those who would win its favor must pander to all its whims and respect its slightest wishes. But you know what George Eliot said about prophecy - that it was the most gratuitous form of error. At any moment a great genius may arise to regenerate the stage in rough and ready fashion. At present its fatal deficiency is that it gives no adequate and faithful picture of the life of the times, such as Fielding's novels gives of the eighteenth century. There is no current dramatic literature worthy of the name. The stage is, indeed, completely divorced from literature. For this, of course, the litterateurs of acknowledged light and leading are themselves largely responsible. If they would join us in our clamor against the sordid feeling that prevails there might be some ground for hope. Lord Tennyson failed on account of his utter ignorance of stage technique. The literary dramatist ought to be prepared to give adequate time to the study of 'stage construction.'"
SIR, - I learn by your issue of to-night that the Duke of Westminster has the hardihood to sign his name to a circular emanating from the Central Vigilance Society, on the "Repression of Immorality." Does not his Grace know that the immorality which prevails so largely on his Pimlico estate is due to his oppressive exactions there as a landlord? He cannot but know it. - Yours, &c., -
London, 8 Oct.