Taking the Curtain Call: The Life and Letters of Henry Arthur Jones

By Doris Arthur Jones | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI

TOWARDS the end of 1897 my father wrote a one-act play, The Goal. He said he wrote the play for Henry Irving; meaning that as soon as the leading character, that of an old engineer who is dying of angina, took shape in his brain, he "saw" Irving in the part. He called it "A Dramatic Fragment," and he was very fond of this little play. After the war, he often quoted with great pride the old engineer's words, "There's a great world-tussle coming. Dan--I shan't live to see it--but it's coming and the engineer that ties England and America will do a good turn to both countries." H. A. J. would add, "I knew it was coming, even then." The first performance of The Goal was in New York in October 1914; it was not until 1919 that it was first played in London.

Another play belonging to this period was Grace Mary, a one-act tragedy in the Cornish dialect. It was never acted, but was thought worthy of inclusion in Clayton Hamilton's Library Edition of my father's plays. W. D. Howells , in an article on "The Plays of Henry Arthur Jones," published in the North American Review in 1907, referred to "that beautiful and touching little one-act play, Grace Mary. . . . The author reaches a height of poetry untouched elsewhere in his work. Next it, in a certain literary quality, is that mere scene which he calls The Goal, and which also is unalloyedly good."

In October 1928, I said to my father, "Grace Mary's a lovely little play," to which he replied, "Yes, it's a little beauty, isn't it?--there's real tragedy there too." Bernard Shaw thought very highly of the play, and after reading it he wrote to H. A. J. twice. Unfortunately his first letter was lost. In the second he said:

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Taking the Curtain Call: The Life and Letters of Henry Arthur Jones
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • A Letter vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Contents xv
  • List of Illustrations xix
  • Part I- Early Life 1851-1882 1
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter II 8
  • Chapter III 18
  • Chapter IV 26
  • Part II- Success 1882-1902 35
  • Chapter V 37
  • Chapter VI 51
  • Chapter VII 73
  • Chapter VIII 96
  • Chapter IX 132
  • Chapter X 150
  • Chapter XI 165
  • Part III- Later Years 1902-1929 181
  • Chapter XII 183
  • Chapter XIII 194
  • Chapter XIV 213
  • Chapter XVI 261
  • Chapter XVII 292
  • Chapter XVIII 320
  • Chapter XIX 337
  • Chapter XX 353
  • Appendix A- The Plays of Henry Arthur Jones 363
  • Appendix B- Writings and Speeches of Henry Arthur Jones 377
  • Appendix C Dramatic Technique Revealed by Dramatists 385
  • Index 391
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