The World in Falseface

The World in Falseface

The World in Falseface

The World in Falseface

Excerpt

No less than once a week I am asked by some otherwise amiable person why I, after all these years, persist still in consecrating my time and what measure of talent I may possess to a critical consideration of the theatre. "You have said your say," they tell me. "The theatre is too trivial for your later years. Why continue? Why not devote your effort to books on other and more important subjects?" I have been told this so often of late that it has begun to disturb me a bit. It is time, I conclude, to seek counsel with myself. Why, then, let me ask of myself, do I persist?

Performing, in the first volume of his "Prejudices," a critical phlebotomy upon me, H. L. Mencken made the following observation: "At the brink of forty years, he remains faithful to the theatre; of his books, only one does not deal with it, and that one is a very small one. In four or five years he has scarcely written of aught else. I doubt that anything properly describable as enthusiasm is at the bottom of this assiduity; perhaps the right word is curiosity. . . . I sometimes wonder what keeps such a man in the theatre, breathing bad air nightly, gaping at prancing imbeciles, sitting cheek by jowl with cads. Perhaps there is, at bottom, a secret romanticism-- a lingering residuum of a boyish delight in pasteboard and spangles, gaudy colours and soothing sounds, preposterous heroes and appetizing wenches."

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