MY father fought hard and fearlessly for years to establish the right of English dramatists to depict life as it is, and not as an emasculated, trumpery pageant suitable only for young ladies of a past generation. That is why, in spite of Sir Charles Wyndham's urgent and repeated pleadings, he refused to alter The Case of Rebellious Susan, his next important play after The Masqueraders. H. A. J. told Wyndham the plot soon after he started to write the play, and read him the various acts as they were finished.
The theme of Rebellious Susan is "what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," but poor Susan suffers considerably in her efforts to prove that a wife is entitled to the same amount of licence as her husband.
Both Sir Charles and Miss Moore liked the play, but they were extremely anxious that the question of Susan's infidelity should be left indefinite. Sir Charles wrote to H. A. J. very strongly urging his point of view:
"After reading the third act to Miss Moore and myself you promised to consider the excision of a line or two, so as to leave an opportunity to the audience of guessing what conclusions they most affected as to Sue's guilt or innocence. You will remember on reading the second act you expatiated on the advantages of this uncertainty as giving rise to discussion. Personally I adhere to my opinion rigidly--that Sue should be innocent--and I am strengthened in that belief by the enclosed letter from Jeune.
"However, you think differently, so--to my regret--let it be. I want you, however, to expunge the line, P. 34.