London at the End of the Century:A Book of Gossip

a Beckett, Arthur William

1900

PROGRESS BEFORE AND BEHIND THE CURTAIN.

 

At the end of the century the insurance companies might well lessen their charges for playhouses, as theatres are infinitely safer than they were only a decade ago. The substitution of the electric light for gas and the regulations of the Lord Chamberlain's Office may have had something to do with this welcome change. Looking through the papers in one seldom reads of a temple of the drama destroyed by fire. Not so long ago it was a standing line of the contents bill. The new theatres are so built that they are isolated. The Shaftesbury, for instance, has a road on every side, and like precautions are being taken in the theatres now in course of construction. Besides this, the new century sees improvements on either side of or to give it its full dress title, the proscenium curtain. The luxurious lounges of the stalls nowadays find their way into the pit and even into the front rows of the gallery. The marble of the restaurants invades the auditoriums of the theatres. Behind the scenes the arrangements are excellent. Stages can be sunk and all sorts of new contrivances lessen the labour of the carpenters. The dressing rooms of the company, that a score of years ago would have been a disgrace as box rooms of fifth-rate charity schools, now have

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many of the comforts of the best hotels. Even the greenroom is brighter and in better taste than it was in the days of yore. Now that authors (following the precedent set by Dion Boucicault and Tom Robertson) have become their own stage managers, there is less of the that used to shock the susceptibilities of novices transferred to Bohemia from Mayfair. The familiarity that breeds contempt has all but disappeared, and the talk at a rehearsal is not unlike the conversation of a drawing room in common form.

 
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 Title Page
 Dedication
 PREFACE
CHAPTER I: LONDON AT THE END OF THE CENTURY
CHAPTER II: STRANGERS IN LONDON
CHAPTER III: RELIGION IN LONDON
CHAPTER IV: A PEEP INTO STAGELAND
CHAPTER V: PARLIAMENT UP TO DATE
CHAPTER VI: A NIGHT IN THE HOUSE
CHAPTER VII: THE PREMIER CLUB OF ENGLAND
CHAPTER VIII: LONDONERS HOLDING HOLIDAY
CHAPTER IX: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CLUB
CHAPTER X: IN RATHER MIXED CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XI: IN AUXILIARY CLUBLAND
CHAPTER XII: A PANTOMIME AT DRURY LANE
CHAPTER XIII: LONDON EXHIBITIONS
CHAPTER XIV: COACHING THE UNIVERSITY CREW
CHAPTER XV: THE SEQUEL TO THE DERBY
CHAPTER XVI: THE LONDON GONDOLA
CHAPTER XVII: LONDON ON STRIKE
CHAPTER XVIII: LONDON FIRES
CHAPTER XIX: PALL MALL AND PRIVATE THOMAS ATKINS
CHAPTER XX: CONCERNING THE LONDON VOLUNTEERS
CHAPTER XXI: SERVING WITH THE LONDON MILITIA
CHAPTER XXII: LONDON GUNNERS AT SHOEBURYNESS
CHAPTER XXIII: BECOMING A SOCIETY LION
CHAPTER XXIV: ENTERTAINING THE WORKING MAN
CHAPTER XXV: CHOOSING A FANCY DRESS
CHAPTER XXVI: PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKING
CHAPTER XXVII: ART IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXVIII: SPENDING BANK HOLIDAY IN LONDON
CHAPTER XXIX: A BANK HOLIDAY WITHOUT 'ARRY
CHAPTER XXX: LONDON OUT OF TOWN
CHAPTER XXXI: LONDONERS AND THEIR SUMMER HOLIDAYS
CHAPTER XXXII: LONDONERS AND THE CHANNEL
CHAPTER XXXIII: LONDON UNDER DOCTOR'S ORDERS
CHAPTER XXXIV: TWO CITIES IN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS
CHAPTER XXXV: THE LONDONER'S SEARCH FOR HEALTH
CHAPTER XXXVI: THE PARISIAN PART OF THE LONDON DISTRICT
CHAPTER XXXVII: A NOVELTY IN LONDON RECREATIONS
CHAPTER XXXVIII: LONDON SCHOOLBOYS AT THE END OF THE CENTURY