The Books of To-day and the Books of To-morrow, October 1907

Limelight Limericks.


A WRITER of drama named Caine
Writes notes to the press to explain
That ‘Boom’ is a word
Of which he’s not heard.
For his is a soul above gain.


There was a great author named Jones
Who spoke of our Drama with groans.
But his own play, they state,
Isn’t anything great.
(Note: In glass houses, never throw stones.)


A critic cried wildly, ‘Great Scott!
Do illusions obsess me, or what?
Do I sleep? do I dream? or
Is it really true, Seymour,
That your musical play has a plot?’


No sin on Society’s tally
Can escape the keen eye of our Raleigh.
He knows all their druggings
And stabbings and Thuggings.
‘Exposed!’ yells the Smart Set. ‘How bally!’


There once was a queer-visaged Hun
Who wanted a capable son.
And it drove him half mad
When the three that he had
(Like the play) had a very short run.


There was a young man at the Bar
Who whistled that waltz by Lehar,
Till his wife, with a shriek,
Knocked him down with a cleek,
Saying, ‘Henry, you drive me too far!’



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


“The Lyceum, Daly’s, and Drury Lane are, at present, doing the best business in London, with the Aldwych as ‘runner-up.’ But, of course, the Lyceum is booming, for it can boast of the finest Press agent yet discovered—Mr. Hall Caine—who, as a boomster, would surely get top-weight in any Press handicap.” (Penny Illustrated Paper, September 28, 1907)

“For, to tell the truth, while we admit the graphic manner, the wealth of detail and the vigour of language with which Mr. [Henry Arthur] Jones clothes his characters [in The Hypocrites], we have no sympathy with them as a whole, and, taken altogether, they are not particularly true to life.” (Manchester Courier, August 28, 1907)

The Gay Gordons, a musical comedy with book by Seymour Hicks, music by Guy Jones, and lyrics by Arthur Wimperis, C. H. Bovill, Henry Hamilton, and P. G. Wodehouse, opened September 11, 1907, with Hicks and his wife Ellaline Terriss leading the cast.

The Sins of Society, a melodrama by Cecil Raleigh and Henry Hamilton, opened at the Drury Lane Theatre on September 12, 1907. “It must not be thought that Messrs. Raleigh and Hamilton have set themselves to compete with Father Vaughan in his vitriolic fulminations against the ‘smart set,’ and the people who prefer to separate their devotions and amusements in water-tight compartments need not fear . . . any excess of didacticism on the stage.” (Leeds Mercury, September 13, 1907)

Attila, by Laurence Binyon, opened September 4, 1907, at His Majesty’s Theatre, for a run of only 32 performances.

The English version of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, adapted by Basil Hood with lyrics by Adrian Ross, opened June 8, 1907, at Daly’s Theatre and was an instant success, running nearly two years. The Merry Widow Waltz indeed became an unforgettable tune, as Wodehouse noted later in “That Viennese Stuff”: “That waltz was a corker, wasn’t it? You got hold of it during the second intermission and hummed it incessantly for a year, and on the strength of that you think that you must be one of the elect who really enjoy Good Music.”

—Notes by Neil Midkiff