The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, November 1906


(Suggested by a perusal of the papers during the past few weeks.)

PHYLLIS DARE, Phyllis Dare, though, of course, I’m aware
That your figure’s divine and your beauty is rare;
At your photograph though I am willing to stare
For hours (in fact, all the time I can spare);
Though the world’s admiration I own that I share
For the size of your eyes and the shade of your hair;—
Yet somehow I feel (you won’t think me a bear?)
That just now you’re a trifle too much in the air.

  *     *     *    *

When I travel by train (having first paid my fare),
I open my paper, and lo! you are there.
‘ “Some Recent Events in my Life,” by Miss Dare,’
‘ “How I Feel when I’m Singing a Song,” by Miss Dare,’
‘ “How I Study a Part in a Play,” by Miss Dare,’
Stop Press News, ‘ “What I Use for my Teeth,” by Miss Dare,’
‘ “Should Peers Marry Gibson Girls?”—Chat with Miss Dare,’
‘ “Shall I ever play Lady Macbeth?” by Miss Dare,’
‘ “Should Soulful Expressions be taxed?” by Miss Dare.’
  Miss Dare,
  Take care!
Would you drive a respectable man to despair?
Would you have him gesticulate wildly, and swear?
His diminishing locks would you lead him to tear,
  Phyllis Dare?

  *     *     *    *

I repeat, you are sweet. But, oh! list to my prayer—
Take a rest for a space, and recede from the glare
Of the popular search-light; and let the fierce blare
Of the trumpet die down for a little, Miss Dare.
Your doings crowd out the last popular scare.
The Springboks, the Kaiser, C.-B., the Lord Mayor,
Can’t get themselves noticed while you’re in the air.
  Is it fair,
  Phyllis Dare?



Printed unsigned; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.


Phyllis Dare (1890–1975) had a long career in British musical comedy and films from childhood until her retirement in 1951. Her first starring role was in The Catch of the Season at age 15, taking over a role created in 1904 by her older sister Zena. In 1906, she took over the title role of The Belle of Mayfair (photo at left) on short notice when Edna May left the cast, which led to great celebrity, as this item suggests.

“Notwithstanding the very short time that Miss Phyllis Dare was given to prepare for her part in ‘The Belle of Mayfair,’ she had not been on the stage very long on Saturday evening [October 6] before it was plainly apparent that she had thoroughly accustomed herself to the mantle so abruptly cast aside by Miss Edna May. One thing is certain—there has not been a better Julia Chaldicott since the play was produced.” (London Daily News, October 8, 1906)