"Then you must fight it out with your official biographer," I retorted. "In Henderson's latest tome on you he says the play ran eight weeks."

Another flat contradiction came from him when I talked of Fanny's First Play as his first West End success.

"Absurd!" he broke in. "The Little Theatre was less 'West End' than the Court, where years before John Bull's Other Island had drawn royalty and the Cabinet, and You Never Can Tell was another East Lynne. My first big box-office successes were in New York ( Mansfield in The Devil's Disciple and Robert Loraine in Man and Superman) and in Germany ( Agnes Sorma in Candida)."

Lastly, when I drew his attention to the statements in Hector Bolitho's book on Marie Tempest that he had refused to let her play the part of Candida while she was in Australia, and had declined to take any part in her Jubilee, he remarked "Entirely untrue," and went on to describe something that had happened over fifty years before:

"One day a lady named Agnes Consuelo called at our house in Fitzroy Square. She wanted singing lessons from my mother, who was not at home. 'But don't let that worry you,' I said. 'Come in and I'll teach you.' She came in and I gave her a lesson. Some time later I went to see her in a play she had produced. She was utterly obliterated in her own show by a girl named Marie Tempest, who sailed on, sang a song, and completely captured the audience. From that moment Marie went from strength to strength. She was intelligent enough to copy all Charles Wyndham's stage tricks for producing laughter and tears, and built up her reputation on them, plus her own personality."

All of which shows that, even if Shaw could not remember every joke he had made in half a century of public life (as who on earth could?), his memory was sound enough on the plain facts and circumstantial episodes of his own career.


5. NO LAUGHING MATTER

SHAW took his work in the Fabian Society, and his fellow Fabians, with deadly seriousness. I found that he could joke on every other topic, but on the subject of the Fabians and their social efforts his sense of humor seemed to be in abeyance. I was constantly being reproved by him for taking less account of his politics than of his art. To me his essays on his contemporaries were much more enlightening than all his Fabian essays put together; and I infinitely preferred the comedian who

-21-

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G. B. S.: A Postscript
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • By the Same Author: *
  • Title Page iii
  • To Eleanor O'Connell v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Trials of a Biographer 1
  • I. a Back Number 3
  • 3. the Mythical G.B.S. 5
  • 4. Lies and Libels 8
  • 5. No Laughing Matter 13
  • 6. Sexless Appeal 21
  • 10. a Shavian Production 45
  • A Postscript 59
  • 11. Shaw Criticizes His Biographer 61
  • 13. Stella and Isadora 73
  • 15. a New Alphabet 75
  • 16. Playwright or Propagandist? 79
  • 17. Shaw Dictates His Obituary 84
  • 18. Pilgrims at Ayot 86
  • 9 Three Score Years and Thirty 88
  • 20. a Bardic Battle 90
  • 23. Bewitched 103
  • Aspects of Shaw 117
  • 24. the Man 119
  • 26. the Reformer 122
  • 27. His First Appearance 125
  • 28. an Obituary 127
  • 29. the Modern Methuselah 133
  • Index 135
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