IN 1881 my father moved from The Hermitage to Lothian Lodge, Hampton Wick. The year 1882 was to be the most memorable year of his life; with the production of The Silver King, on 16th November, he leapt into the front rank of British dramatists, a position he was to hold unchallenged for the rest of his life. Impressed with the success of His Wife, Wilson Barrett asked Henry Arthur to write him a strong play, and suggested the late Henry Herman as a collaborator. H.A.J. said, "I should never have written melodrama but for the fact that Wilson Barrett was the only manager who would look at my work in those days."
The play received great praise from all the critics. I have read through the forty-five volumes of my father's Press cuttings, and I consider the notices the most enthusiastic he received for any of his plays. Among the criticisms, Truth was the only paper which drew attention to the world-famous line "O God! put back Thy universe and give me yesterday." Henry Arthur said, "No one has ever said that line, or ever would say it, but every one has felt it"; and he went on to tell me that Barrett was a very religious man and objected to the line, he said, "I mustn't say that." A few years ago a friend of mine was on a sea voyage, and a fellow-passenger lost a bet of several pounds because he was convinced the line was in the Bible.
A memorable event in connection with the first performance was the presence of Matthew Arnold, after an absence from the theatre of nearly twenty years. The praise and encouragement H. A. J. had already received