Captain Brassbound's Conversion HTML version

Notes To Captain Brassbound's Conversion
I claim as a notable merit in the authorship of this play that I have been intelligent
enough to steal its scenery, its surroundings, its atmosphere, its geography, its
knowledge of the east, its fascinating Cadis and Kearneys and Sheikhs and mud
castles from an excellent book of philosophic travel and vivid adventure entitled
Mogreb-el-Acksa (Morocco the Most Holy) by Cunninghame Graham. My own
first hand knowledge of Morocco is based on a morning's walk through Tangier,
and a cursory observation of the coast through a binocular from the deck of an
Orient steamer, both later in date than the writing of the play.
Cunninghame Graham is the hero of his own book; but I have not made him the
hero of my play, because so incredible a personage must have destroyed its
likelihood--such as it is. There are moments when I do not myself believe in his
existence. And yet he must be real; for I have seen him with these eyes; and I
am one of the few men living who can decipher the curious alphabet in which he
writes his private letters. The man is on public record too. The battle of Trafalgar
Square, in which he personally and bodily assailed civilization as represented by
the concentrated military and constabular forces of the capital of the world, can
scarcely be forgotten by the more discreet spectators, of whom I was one. On
that occasion civilization, qualitatively his inferior, was quantitatively so hugely in
excess of him that it put him in prison, but had not sense enough to keep him
there. Yet his getting out of prison was as nothing compared to his getting into
the House of Commons. How he did it I know not; but the thing certainly
happened, somehow. That he made pregnant utterances as a legislator may be
taken as proved by the keen philosophy of the travels and tales he has since
tossed to us; but the House, strong in stupidity, did not understand him until in an
inspired moment he voiced a universal impulse by bluntly damning its hypocrisy.
Of all the eloquence of that silly parliament, there remains only one single damn.
It has survived the front bench speeches of the eighties as the word of Cervantes
survives the oraculations of the Dons and Deys who put him, too, in prison. The
shocked House demanded that he should withdraw his cruel word.
"I never withdraw," said he; and I promptly stole the potent phrase for the sake of
its perfect style, and used it as a cockade for the Bulgarian hero of Arms and the