11 DECEMBER 1909, Page 16


[TO THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR"] SIR,—There can be no doubt that one of the chief attractions felt by nearly all human beings towards the stage is that it gives them an opportunity for "dressing up." The successful revival of the pageant has not been more due to the desire of an audience to witness a brilliant spectacle than to the desire of the actors to take part in it. Who could blame this desire, harmless enough surely in itself, when it leads to such results as the recent performances of Mrs. Alfred Lyttelton's miracle play, Saint Ursula's Pilgrimage? The heart of the sternest Socialist would have been melted by the beauty of an aristocracy flaunting itself in clothes copied with exquisite detail from the pictures of Carpaccio. Nor could the critic in the presence of such a vision be severe upon the words which Mrs. Lyttelton had woven round the legend, or upon the incidental music provided by Mr. Morton Stephenson. The audience had not been attracted by these, nor even by the prospect of a glimpse of Mrs. Patrick Campbell. What they came for, and what they thoroughly enjoyed, was the sight of a crowd, not merely wearing the most beautiful dresses, but wearing them with a grace and ease which seem to come naturally to those who spend their lives in spacious surroundings.—I am, Sir, &e., SPECTATOR.