’We buried in the Protestant cemetery near Keats and Shelley one whose name was written in hot water. His sad death provoked a good deal of comment, as you may suppose. Strange has often promised to write his life. But he could never get through Prejudices, and I pointed out to him that you can hardly write an author’s life without reading one of his works, even though he did die in your arms. That is the worst of literary martyrs with a few brilliant exceptions: their works are generally dull.’
‘Is that all?’ asked North.
‘That is all, and I hope you understand the moral.’
’Perfectly; but your reminiscences have too much construction, my dear Rivers.’
‘The story is perfectly true for all that,’ remarked the Editor, drily.
A LITTLE DOCTORED FAUST. A PROLOGUE.
’The version of Faust which Mr. Stephen Phillips is contemplating will, it is interesting to learn from the author, be a “compact drama,” of which the spectacular embellishment will form no part. In Mr. Phillips’s view the story is in itself so strong and so rich in all the elements that make for dramatic effectiveness that to treat the subject as one for elaborate scenic display would be to diminish the direct appeal of a great tragedy. “First let me say,” said Mr. Stephen Phillips, “how gladly I approach a task which will bring me again into association with Mr. George Alexander, whose admirable treatment of Paolo and Francesco, you will no doubt remember. In the version of Faust which I am going to prepare there will be nothing spectacular, nothing to overshadow or intrude upon an immortal theme. As to how I shall treat the story, and as to the form in which it will be written, I am not yet sure—it may be a play in blank verse, or in prose with lyrics . . .” Mr. Phillips added that he had also in view a play on the subject of Harold.”—The Tribune.
Scene: The British Museum.
SIDNEY COLVIN. Ah! my dear Stephen, when they
told me Phillips
Was waiting in my study, I imagined
That it was Claude, whom I have been expecting.
I have arranged that you shall have this room
All to yourself and friends. Now I must leave you.
I have to go and speak to Campbell Dodgson
About some prints we’ve recently acquired.
STEPHEN PHILLIPS. How can I ever thank you? Love to Binyon!
[COLVIN goes out.
Enter Mr. GEORGE ALEXANDER, GOETHE, MARLOWE, GOUNOD.
ALEXANDER (from force of habit). I always told you he was reasonable.
GOETHE. Well, I consent. Mein Gott! how
You English are! ’Tis nigh impossible
For poets to refuse you anything,
And German thought beneath some English shade—
Unter den Linden, as we say at home—
Sounds really quite as well on British soil.
Our good friend Marlowe hardly seems so pleased.