The Woman in the case

Fom the more or less distorted mirrors which the Stage holds up to Nature, the observant may detect many a true picture ; the class-conscious worker focussing the shifting phantasm through the discerning lens of Economic Interpretation, may throw upon the screen flashlights pregnant with meaning for his class, fraught with lessons of deep import to the seeing eve.

“The School for Scandal.”

Deft and conscientiously uninspired actor-manager Tree sees but an opportunity for exploiting anew poor Sheridan, and for occupying the centre of his stage. For him, for the unthinking, the central figure is the Injured Husband, or, at best, the Erring Wife.

The worker, keenly conscious of his position in society, fully recognising his slave status, sees behind the seeming show a REALITY, grim, grey. For him, in the reeking “gods,” to whom faintly ascends the odour of perfumed vice and bloody breath of smirking cannibals, fat on their filthy meal of workers’ marrow, for him at the head of the programme, chief among the dramatis personae, stands a figure


The “Little French Milliner” !

A joke ? Let Laughter hold its sides ! The moral Joseph stands self-confessed of an intrigue with a member of the working class, who, my sweet lady Suffragette friends, voting or voteless had, by reason of her working-class position, only “some character to lose.”

The screen falls ! Complaisant, paunchy Sir Peter discovers in lieu of the milliner his own wife.

“Lady Teazle, by all that’s damnable !”

Falls the screen. Falls the lying hypocrisy and cant labelled “Morality” by Church and State, twin monsters of one loathesome brood. The truth stands revealed in all its obscene nakedness. The slave system carries with it its own penalty for the slave owner. The bought wife, with all the native instincts of the courtesan, lacking the excuse of her sister prostitute at whom she raises her skirts ; both products of the social system, inevitable while flesh and blood are but the social hieroglyph for a function of Capital, ineradicable by the quack remedies of Reform and the blandly innocuous pills of Labour Jesusism or the brimstone and treacle of fire-eating, bazaar-mongering, patriotic, municipal bun-and-milkers. To disappear only, and finally, when clear-eyed Revolution, holding aloft its banner whereon is inscribed “The emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of


shall usher in a new era, where law shall be truly love and love law.

O, my closely packed brothers and sisters, look, and yet look again. Around the trembling, guilty wife hovers impalpable, yet gross to the sense, the pathetic figure of the “little French milliner.” Type of the maiden of your class, who must be sacrificed to the Beast of Capitalism, prey to the lust of the satyrs sitting in the front of the house, clothed by you, fed by you, alternately flattering and preaching at you, but devouring you all the time.

Mutely the little French milliner, peering from between the lines of Sheridan’s masterpiece, peering sadly through muddy impurities, mutely she stretches her arms toward


dumbly beseeching you to note the fetters upon, her hands, the weight upon her young soul ; fetters you will not perceive until the bonds upon your own limbs have burnt their degradation into your heart and mind, stinging you, urging you to rise or be forever fallen. Mayhap, fighting for a seat in “your” tram whilst homeward bent, glancing at the tired face of sweetheart or wife, to whom a little pleasure snatched to-day means “added weariness and work to¬morrow, you may have stirrings which will lead you to the camp of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the party pledged to no rest until the


be she raucous Clare Forster or nameless French milliner, shall stand clean and beautiful, perfect woman, nobly planned, aureoled by a light that the Socialist Commonwealth alone can confer.


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