"THE DRAMA" Dear Sir. I am sorry that it was impossible for me to reply in your last issue to certain remarks of Professor Fleure and another corres- pondent (to whom I offer my thanks for his kind remarks about my article on the English drama) concerning the criticism of Change which appeared in the June number of the Welsh Outlook. This criticism was written by me, as Professor Fleure supposes. One objection raised is that I was wrong in describing certain characters as the heavy father, the oldest inhabitant, and the stage cockney." I was criticising, not the play, but the acting. Admirable as the parts of John Price and Isaac Pugh assuredly are. the presentation of these characters left a good deal to be desired. (I note that the acute critic of Ephraim Harris made the same complaint as I about Mr. David Morgan's 'strong curtains.) As for the "stage cockney.' unless my ears played me false-and I was near the front-Thatcher actually gave us a Dickensian "werry" (for "very"), a locution about as modern on the London pavement as by my haiidom" in the House of Lords. His other mannerisms I have already described. More serious is the other objection, that was mistaken in saying that Mr. Francis inserted Sam Thatcher merely to make them Iaugh. Both your correspondents point out that Mr. Francis had another aim. As a matter of fact, I went on to say that Thatcher is useful as giving the external viewpoint." But, to be quite candid, I now feci that my remarks were loosely expressed, and so unfair. For to say that one fears Mr. Francis inserted Sam merely to make them laugh' and then that he is useful as giving the external viewpoint" is only sensible if I mean that Mr. Francis had no intention of producing what he did produce. This would be a foolish assertion in any case, and is shown to be actually untrue by the witness of one of my critics. I apologize for the unfortunate manner in which I put my opinion. About the real point of my remarks, nevertheless, I have no apology to offer. To introduce a character who shall contem- plate the action from outside is good, but to make him a buffoon, as author and actor between them came near to doing, is to spoil an opportunity. Let your correspondents consider the valet Hodson in John Bull's Other Island, a character almost exactly analogous to Sam Thatcher. Hodson is not only a great deal funnier than Sam. and a great deal more of a genuine Cockney he gives admirable expression to the lower-class Englishman's feeling about Ireland. Does Thatcher express an Englishman's feeling about Wales ? Further, I am blamed for calling Sam "an inorganic character who has to be taken off Mr. Francis's hands in the end." Professor Fleure does not prove that I am mistaken. He appears to think it's proved by the fact that Sam gives the external viewpoint. Surely not so. The contemporaries of Ibsen have reached a sounder notion of dramatic construction than the audiences of Beaumont and Fletcher, who very likely considered the citizen's wife an organic part of The Knight of the burning Pestle, a work which, for all its brilliance, is not a play at all in the sense in which one applies the word to Change. The fact surely is that no secondary character should have but one function. The Second Lord and his like, who exist merely as targets for explanatory speeches which the author has not the courage to put into soliloquies or the programme are structurally bad. They must have a secure locus standi. They are like the stones of an arch as they support others, so must others support them. If Professor Fleure wishes to see a confidant, a spectator, who is organic let him consider Judge Brack in Hedda Gabler. Now, as regards Sam Thatcher, I maintain that he is a mere addendum, loosely tacked on to the story at one point. Suppose, for instance, that the outside view had been given by a fourth son of the house, who for years had lived in Germany or America. DISCUSSIONS He would not only have presented Thatcher's case far better by doing so he would have incurred the enmity of his father— this could be depended on Price disagrees with everybody-wild$ would so have taken an integral part in the disputes and have brought out new tints in the natures of his mother and brothers. But one hardly expects perfection. What roused one to com- plain was not merely Sam's inorganic state; it was the fact that Mr. Francis emphasizes this intrusive quality. His part is one of the longest in the play. But what single scrap of the action is set going by him ? When does his nature, his purpose, his advice or blame, cause or prevent, directly or indirectly, anything which occurs ? I use the word action advisedly and in the strictest sense. For at one point Sam does indeed come to the front and secures the hand of Lizzie Ann (another inorganic person). Neither of these two has any effect on the plot the only event they are really concerned with is-note the deadly fact-an event that concerns them both and no one else. Just as in a bad melo- drama the obsequious avalanche or explosion removes villains not technically worthy of the scaffold, so in Change the more merciful dramatist gets rid of two useless beings at a blow, by marrying them to each other. But who else cares a straw about these irrelevant nuptials? To proceed: Mr. Francis, I said, emphasizes the intrusive quality of Sam. One important scene is a conversation between the three brothers in his presence. He joins in the discussion, but they ignore him quite laughably. His remarks are simply thrust in, not contributions but interruptions. Neither John Henry or Lewis takes any notice. Gwilym, more tactful, once or twice wags his finger and says you old cynic after which he proceeds with the business of the hour. In fact, take the whole play, except the courtship scene already mentioned. Then delete Sam altogether: leave out every word of his and every mention of him. Is the action of the drama affected in the least degree ? If, after applying this test, anyone still asserts that Sam is an organic character, I must take leave to tell him respectfully that he does not know what an organism is. But, after all, the mistakes which I may or may not have com- mitted are a very small matter. Far more important is the strong interest in dramatic art which is now so evident among us, and of which the letters of my two able critics are a delightful symptom. As for myself. I hope I made it plain that I think Change as a whole very good. Mr. Francis is here quite as brilliant as Mr. Galsworthy, in construction (if we leave The Silver Box on one side), in characterization, and in dialogue. G. Norwood. "THE CHURCHES AND SOCIAL QUESTIONS." Sir. I read Mr. D. T. Davies's letter in your August number with interest and with some astonishment, but controversial methods vary. He starts by granting to my attitude a derivative importance. i.e. my church members, near eight hundred men and women in the heart of London, and then he proceeds to insinuate a difference between pastor and people, and gives it that I do not voice the opinions of the Church. This Church has at least gone up in membership from some- thing over five hundred members at the time the present pastor took charge, to its present number, which so far as I know makes it unique in the world as a Church, that it has neither room to extend its premises, nor seating accomodation for between one and two hundred of its members.