THE MORRIS BOOK, Online Version

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FROM THE FRONTISPIECE OF "KEMP'S NINE DAIES WONDER, PERFORMED ON A
JOURNEY FROM LONDON TO NORWICH."
In the case of the Folk-songs, it was easy enough to instruct the anxious inquirer. But as to the Morris dances it was otherwise. Here there were no handbooks to recommend, for the sufficient reason that not one existed. With ourselves, and with the few—Alas! very few—traditional Morris-men left in England, there reposed the only practical knowledge of the dances in existence. With all the goodwill in the world we could only give them to others as the Morris-men gave them to us—by example, since in the shape of printed precept there was nothing. So far as possible this demand for tuition of the dances has been, and is being, met. Some of the girls already mentioned are teaching or have taught the dances in many London centres and here and there in eight counties at least, including Monmouth and Derby, Devon and Norfolk, and the Home Counties. But the demand is great and growing, the supply is obviously limited. In London alone it might be met, or nearly so; but in the provinces, with existing or possible resources, it cannot be, even if we could command the services of the spirited, historic Kemp, who danced the Morris all the way from London to Norwich—see plate opposite. This indefatigable traveller, incidentally, is somewhat curiously figurative of this latter-day revival of the Morris—of its restoration by townsfolk to dwellers in the country.
Thus we were faced with a sudden demand and very limited means wherewith to meet it. In these circumstances we naturally bethought ourselves of possible expedients. To us it seemed practicable to meet it only in one way—through the writing of a book on Morris dancing, by the help of which even those who had never seen the dances performed might be enabled to learn them, and so pass them on. The result of our endeavours must declare itself in the efforts of others to make use of this little handbook. That there is a demand for it is very sure: whether we have succeeded in putting together an intelligible and a workable manual of dances— notoriously a very hard thing to do—will be told presently in the tally of practising Morris-






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