THE MORRIS BOOK, Online Version

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes



Share page  Visit Us On FB


Previous Contents Next
figures and steps hitherto unknown—full swing upon a London floor. And upon the delighted but somewhat dazed confession of the instructor, we saw it perfect in execution to the least particular. Perfect, yet in a different order of perfection from that attainable by men. It may be noted here and now by all who have to do with the instruction of girls in the Morris, that the feminine temperament inevitably robs the dance of something of its sturdiness. It is nothing to lament; for what is lost in vigour is assuredly more than made good in gracefulness. At any rate, there was Bean-setting, perfect in its kind. No wonder Jack-and-the-Beanstalk came to mind and stayed there with the memory of this evening.
It was even so with all the other dances: to see them shown was to see them learned. And the Folk-songs had prepared us for what followed: here was no mere fugitive delight and curiosity, as of a child with a new toy. We had given back to these children of the city no less than a birthright long mislaid.
The Morris-men came in October. In the following February, 1906, the songs and dances were performed before a company of friends. The audience, if very friendly, was also very critical; and there was represented in it, literally, every element in contemporary society. And every element, or representatives of each, exhorted us to give our performance in public, since it was so good that the world in general must know of it.
In April, 1906, we did so. The performance was given very nearly in the height of the concert season; in no announcement of it was any mention made of charity, or any lack or need of funds: the entertainment was run as a public affair. And the public responded so that we filled the hall to the doors and were reluctantly constrained to refuse admittance to a host beside. The entertainment has since then been repeated several times; and every repetition brought substantial evidence of continually increasing public interest.
It should be mentioned here that Miss Mary Neal, of the Espérance Working Girls' Club, not only made the venture possible in the beginning, but, with her powers of help and organization, gave it a reach and strength that neither of us could have given.
But outside appreciation did not end here—one might really say that it only began. Inquiries poured in from every quarter of the Kingdom, from every class and kind of person. They all wanted to know how they also might be shown the way to do as we had done—revive these traditional English songs and dances in their neighbourhood, amongst the rising generation of English men and women. One of the inquiries, as to how the Morris dances might be imported there, came from Japan, where all things typically English are in so great request.






E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III