The World, March 5, 1907



[Mr. Seymour Hicks has confided to a daily paper the fact that at two every afternoon he goes to bed and has a complete rest till four.]

Scene: Mr. Hicks’s bedroom. On the left is a bed (owner up). On a table beside it are writing materials and a model stage. A speaking-tube hangs from the wall. On the opposite wall is a telephone receiver.

Mr. Hicks (sleepily). Nothing like it. Always said there was nothing—like—complete—rest. Get—away—from—cares—of—busi—— (Telephone bell rings violently. He bounds out of bed, and takes up receiver.) Hello? Yes, I am. Who is it? John who? Oh, John Burns? What? Certainly, dear old man. Delighted to read your play. Send it round. Good-bye.

[Returns to bed. Brief interval of repose. Knocking heard at door.

Mr. Hicks. Yes! Who is it?

A Voice. Mr. Hicks. Will you sign eight hundred and three urgent letters?

Mr. Hicks. No. . . . Oh, Miss Hinckel.

The Voice. Yes, Mr. Hicks?

Mr. Hicks. Have you got your note-book there? Good. I want you to take down sixteen pressing scenarios. Are you ready? (Dictates for twenty minutes, at the end of which period telephone bell rings again. Repetition of big bounding act.) Hullo? Yes, I am. Have I what? Have I read that blank-verse drama you sent me? Who is that? Alfred Austin? My dear old son, of course I’ve read it. It sent me to sleep—I mean kept me awake all night. You think what? Oh, the public are tired of musical comedy? Yes, aren’t they. When do I think I shall produce your play? I’ll think it over, old man, and let you know. Goo’-bye.

[Rings off.         

(Enter Mr. Richard Belsey, the king of valets.)

Mr. Belsey. Will you see five hundred and seventeen people who want parts in your new piece, sir?

Mr. Hicks. No. (Exit Mr. Belsey.) Miss Hinckel.

The Voice. Yes, Mr. Hicks.

Mr. Hicks. Where were we? Oh, I remember. Take this down.

[Resumes dictation.         

(Re-enter Mr. Belsey.)

Mr. Belsey. Will you see nine hundred and eleven gentlemen who knew you at school, and want you to let lady friends of theirs be in your new piece, sir?

Mr. Hicks. No. (Exit Mr. Belsey. The dictation is resumed. The telephone bell rings again.) Hullo? Yes, I am. Who are you? Algernon Ashton? You want to do what? Oh, dramatise your last hundred and fifty letters to the Times. No good for me. Try Tree.

[Rings off.         

(Enter Mr. Belsey.)

Mr. Belsey. Mr. Edmund Payne says, may he come in and read you a lyric called “The Peewit and the Mangowurtzel,” sir?

Mr. Hicks. No.

Mr. Belsey. And he says, may he rhyme “coat” and “hat,” because, if so, he’s got a success.

Mr. Hicks. Certainly. Perfectly allowable rhyme.

Mr. Belsey. And will you see——

Mr. Hicks. No. (Exit Mr. Belsey. A whistle is heard from the speaking-tube.) Hullo! What? Oh, give the Tsar a biscuit and tell him to wait. Miss Hinckel.

The Voice. Yes, Mr. Hicks.

Mr. Hicks. Are you ready? Then we’ll begin three new plays.

(Enter Mr. Belsey.)

Mr. Belsey. Will——

Mr. Hicks. No.

[Exit Mr. Belsey. The telephone-bell rings again. The whistle of the speaking-tube joins in. There is a knocking at the door. Four o’clock strikes from a clock on the mantelpiece.

Mr. Hicks (paying attention to none but the last of these). Four! I suppose I’d better be getting up now. I feel a new man. I feel as if I’d had a day by the seaside. I’ve always said, and I always shall say, that a thorough rest in bed is the finest refresher in the world.

[Scene closes.]

p. g. wodehouse.         





“My most treasured possession,” says breezy Mr Seymour Hicks, “is one which enables me to enjoy all the others that are mine. I lead a pretty active life, which might soon lay me on the shelf were I not able to lay in fresh stores on energy between times. Then, when I am not rehearsing or writing a fresh play, or attending to business matters, or keeping appointments, I sometimes have the chance of a nap which will drive off the fatigues of the day and prepare me for another long spell of work. Now, if I found myself unable to sleep when such an opportunity presented itself, there’s no knowing what might happen to my health, but as I have the gift of being able to drop asleep at these odd times I think I ought to count this as my most treasured possession, because, without it, I should probably linger but a short while longer in this vale of tears.” – Royal Magazine


John Dawson