Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 13, 1913
THE NEW DRAMA.
The other day I wrote a play, I thought it pretty good.
The plot was complicated, yet it could be understood;
The dialogue was rather neat and teemed with quiet fun,
And the part of James, the hero, was the best I’ve ever done.
But the manager said: “No, my boy; this stuff’s no good to me.
This is not the sort of drama that the public wants to see.
It hasn’t got a chance on earth, believe me, not a scrap;
Why, hang it all, your hero is a decent sort of chap!
“I’ve just gone through the whole four acts again, a second time,
And, as far as I can see, he don’t commit a single crime.
That sort of thing is hopeless. It is sure to come to grief;
You must alter Sinless Jimmy to a swindler or a thief.”
So I took my blameless hero, for I needed the doubloons,
And rewrote his part completely * * * “Enter James. He steals the spoons.”
“Exit J. with heroine’s bracelet.” “Act three, curtain on the line,
James: ‘I’ve sneaked six hundred milk-cans!’ ” * * * And the manager said “Fine!”
And now each night the gallery with enthusiasm rocks,
As my hero with a hatpin loots the baby’s money box;
And the stalls, for once excited, make the welkin fairly ring
With plaudits at the deeds of James, the Pocket-Picking King.
And as each sunny morning I start out to take the air
In the motor which is waiting at my door in Belgrave square,
I take out my little passbook, scan the figures with relief,
And I bless that Blameless Hero who became a Doormat Thief.
—P. G. WODEHOUSE, in the London Express.
John Dawson discovered this item as a reprint in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of February 13, 1913. It apparently first appeared in the London paper on January 30, 1913.
teemed with quiet fun: echoes W. S. Gilbert’s libretto for Utopia, Limited in which the character Phantis repeats the phrase “Teems with quiet fun.”
drama that the public wants to see: cf. the opening dialogue in “The Intrusions of Jimmy”/A Gentleman of Leisure, ch. 1.
hatpin . . . baby’s money box: Wodehouse reused this dastardly crime in Bingo Little’s inflammatory speech at Goodwood in “Comrade Bingo.”
passbook: portable record of bank-account transactions and balances
—Notes by Neil Midkiff