Secret Service (Illustrated)

Secret Service (Illustrated)

by Cyrus Townsend Brady

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Once upon a time a novel of mine was turned into a play. The dramatist who prepared the story for stage production sent me a copy of his efforts toward that end. About the only point of resemblance between his production and mine was the fact that they both bore the same title, the hero in each had the same name, and the action in both cases took place on this earth.

I was a young author then, and timid. I ventured humbly to enquire why the drama differed so entirely from the novel; and this ingenious, I might almost say ingenuous, explanation was vouchsafed me:

“Well, to tell you the truth, after I had read a chapter or two of your book, I lost it, and I just wrote the play from my own imagination.”

I do not wish to criticise the results of his efforts, for he has since proved himself to be a dramatist of skill and ability, but to describe that particular effort as a dramatisation of my book was absurd. Incidentally, it was absurd in other ways and, fortunately for the reputation of both of us, it never saw the light.

When my dear friends, the publishers, asked me to turn this play into a novel, I recalled my experience of by-gone days, and the idea flashed into my mind that here was an opportunity to get even, but I am a preacher as well as a story-writer, and in either capacity I found I could not do it. Frankly, I did not want to do it.

My experience, however, has made me perhaps unduly sensitive, and I determined, since I had undertaken this work, to make it represent Mr. Gillette’s remarkable and brilliant play as faithfully as I could, and I have done so. I have used my own words only in those slight changes necessitated by book presentation instead of production on the stage. I have entered into as few explanations as possible and have limited my own discussion of the characters, their motives, and their actions, to what was absolutely necessary to enable the reader to comprehend. On the stage much is left to the eye which has to be conveyed by words in a book, and this is my excuse for even those few digressions that appear.

I have endeavoured to subordinate my own imagination to that of the accomplished playwright. I have played something of the part of the old Greek Chorus which explained the drama, and there has been a touch of the scene-painter’s art in my small contribution to the book.

Otherwise, I have not felt at liberty to make any departure from the setting, properties, episodes, actions, or dialogue. Mine has been a very small share in this joint production. The story and the glory are Mr. Gillette’s, not mine. And I am cheerfully determined that as the author of the first, he shall have all of the second.

Cyrus Townsend Brady.

St. George’s Rectory,
Kansas City, Mo., November, 1911.

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940148166696
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 01/16/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 441 KB

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