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under penalties any music or dancing or entertainments of the like kind before five o'clock in the afternoon. It is evaded daily at the Hanover Square and Willis's and other rooms by the simple device of having patrons and subscribers, and by taking no money at the doors. A clause, which in olden times had its value, is utterly obsolete and absurd now; it presses disagreeably, and to no purposo, on the public comfort and convenience, and is so constantly and easily evaded as to be absolutely a dead letter.
I may best conclude this brief sketch of the proceedings of the committee by giving the resolutions which were adopted, and the recommendations which were proposed. They resolved -
That the censorship should not be discontinued, but that it should be extended as far as possible to the performances in music-halls and other places of entertainment, not only in the metropolis, but throughout Great Britain, the double jurisdiction of the Lord Chamberlain and the justices being inconvenient and unsatisfactory.
That under certain conditions as to site, public safety, &c., a licence for a new theatre in London should be granted without any reference to the question of competition with other establishments.
That the licensing of a new theatre in the country should be by the Lord Chamberlain instead of, as heretofore, by the magistrates; but that these should still retain their present powers as regards both the renewal of licences and the regulations to be enforced.
That the section of the present Act which empowers the excise to grant beer and spirit licences to all buildings licensed by the Lord Chamberlain or justices be repealed.
That there be two different forms of licences : one by which drinks, refreshment, and tobacco, may be consumed in the auditorium ; the other by which such refreshments, &c., are prohibited.
That the department of the Lord Chamberlain be so organized as to be able to deal efficiently with the new duties assigned to it; and that his decisions, as far as the original granting of licences is concerned, be subject to an appeal to the Home Secretary.
That apart from the question whether an identical form of licence should or should not be given to theatres and music-halls, it is not desirable to continue the existing restrictions which prevent music-halls from giving theatrical entertainments.
That proprietors of music-halls and other similar places of entertainment in the country be placed on the same footing as regards licences as the proprietors of music-halls, &c., in the metropolis.
That any new Act of Parliament relating to theatres, music-halls, &c., should render compulsory the inspection and survey of such places, as regards stability of structure, due security against fire, ventilation, &c., and that regulations should be framed from time to time by the licensing authority for insuring the safety, comfort, and order of the public; which regulations should receive the sanction of the Home Secretary of State, and be laid on the table of the House of Commons.
That any applicant for permission to build or open a theatre or musichall, &c., should furnish satisfactory security to the Lord Chamberlain.
Lastly, that the provisions for enforcing the proper working of the law are insufficient and unsatisfactory, as there is no legal authority under which the police can take direct proceedings against unlicensed houses in which music and dancing are going on, although they are empowered to deal summarily with cases of unlicensed theatrical entertainments.
From these resolutions it will be seen that the public will reap some benefits from this inquiry, more especially that portion of it which forms the bulk of the audiences at music-halls. The proprietors of these places of amusement have no doubt won the day. With extended powers they will be able to render their entertainments still more attractive ; and the managers of theatres will have to learn that free trade in matters of enjoyment must follow in the wake of free trade in other things. That the playgoing public may benefit by this competition must be the devout wish of all who, whilst keenly enjoying the “histrionic art," see with dismay the constantly increasing prices of admission, and are being driven, at least the poorer portion of them, from stalls to dress circle, and from the dress circle to the pit.
What LADY ONGAR THOUGHT ABOUT IT.
RS. BURTON, it may perhaps
often in the hearing of his wife. Cecilia, womanlike, was more
angry with circumstances than with the offending man,—with circumstances and with the woman who stood in Florence's way. She was perfectly willing to forgive Harry, if Harry could only be made to go right at last. He was good-looking and
7. VOL. XV,—NO. 86.