‘Such Friends’ 100 Years Ago, October 1910

In Ireland

Early in the month, Lennox Robinson turns 24. For the past year he has been manager of the young but already legendary Abbey Theatre.

Lennox first saw the company perform only three years ago, in Cork, in plays by the founders, William Butler Yeats, then 42, and Lady Augusta Gregory, then 55. Just last year Lennox’s first play was performed at the Abbey, and soon after that they named him manager.

His first year of leadership has been marked by the withdrawal of funding a few months ago by Englishwoman Anne E. Horniman, then 49, who was upset when Lennox didn’t close the theatre in respect for the death of the British monarch, King Edward VII, 68. Lennox didn’t get the message—it was just a misunderstanding. He feels Mrs. Horniman is actually upset by the lack of attention paid to her by Yeats.

In England

Early in the month, Mrs. Horniman turns 50. It has been a memorable year.

Back in May, she finally gave up on ‘her’ Abbey Theatre in Dublin. All the money and effort she had put into this ragtag group of playwrights and actors, even before they opened! And then, the King dies, and they don’t even have decency to close the theatre. That young upstart manager, Lennox Robinson said he didn’t get her message. She doesn’t believe that.

Mrs. Horniman’s relationship with the Abbey and the Irish is at an end. Even more unfortunately, so is her relationship with Abbey founder W B Yeats, 45. He’s living in filthy apartments in Woburn Place, and spends all his time mooning over that nationalist hussy Maud Gonne, 43. Gonne’s daughter, Iseult, 15, has even proposed to the old bugger.

In France

Lydia Lopokova, of St. Petersburg, Russia, is about to turn 18. She has finally broken out of her Russian homeland thanks to the visionary dance impresario, Sergi Diaghilev, 38.  He has taken her on a tour of Europe with his new ballet troupe, and they have appeared at the Paris Opera.

Quite a few of the talented dancers in Diaghilev’s pick up company are being lured away by contracts from more established producers. Lydia and her brother have been snapped up for a USA tour.

In America

Poet Ezra Pound turns 25. He has been living in London for the past two years, where he has met Olivia Shakespear, 47, and her daughter Dorothy, 24. They have introduced him to the Irish playwright and poet W B Yeats, Olivia’s former lover.

Now Ezra has come back to his home country. He convinces his current love interest, Hilda Doolittle, 24, known as ‘HD,’ like him from Philadelphia, to come to New York to visit. But she doesn’t stay long. HD promises that if Ezra moves back to Europe, she’ll visit him there.

A year earlier, his English friend Ford Madox Ford, then 35, had described Ezra thus:

‘His Philadelphia accent was comprehensible if disconcerting; his beard and flowing locks were auburn and luxuriant; he was astonishingly meager and agile. He threw himself alarmingly into frail chairs; devoured enormous quantities of your pastry; fixed his pince-nez firmly on his nose…and read you a translation from Arnaut Daniel.’

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