Sinclair Lewis: Main Street

18. CHAPTER XVIII (continued)

Vida Sherwin intruded, "I'm sure that would be too hard for us. Now I've brought something that I think would be awfully jolly."

She held out, and Carol incredulously took, a thin gray pamphlet entitled "McGinerty's Mother-in-law." It was the sort of farce which is advertised in "school entertainment" catalogues as:

Riproaring knock-out, 5 m. 3 f., time 2 hrs., interior set, popular with churches and all high-class occasions.

Carol glanced from the scabrous object to Vida, and realized that she was not joking.

"But this is--this is--why, it's just a---- Why, Vida, I thought you appreciated--well--appreciated art."

Vida snorted, "Oh. Art. Oh yes. I do like art. It's very nice. But after all, what does it matter what kind of play we give as long as we get the association started? The thing that matters is something that none of you have spoken of, that is: what are we going to do with the money, if we make any? I think it would be awfully nice if we presented the high school with a full set of Stoddard's travel-lectures!"

Carol moaned, "Oh, but Vida dear, do forgive me but this farce---- Now what I'd like us to give is something distinguished. Say Shaw's `Androcles.' Have any of you read it?"

"Yes. Good play," said Guy Pollock.

Then Raymie Wutherspoon astoundingly spoke up:

"So have I. I read through all the plays in the public library, so's to be ready for this meeting. And---- But I don't believe you grasp the irreligious ideas in this `Androcles,' Mrs. Kennicott. I guess the feminine mind is too innocent to understand all these immoral writers. I'm sure I don't want to criticize Bernard Shaw; I understand he is very popular with the highbrows in Minneapolis; but just the same---- As far as I can make out, he's downright improper! The things he SAYS---- Well, it would be a very risky thing for our young folks to see. It seems to me that a play that doesn't leave a nice taste in the mouth and that hasn't any message is nothing but--nothing but---- Well, whatever it may be, it isn't art. So---- Now I've found a play that is clean, and there's some awfully funny scenes in it, too. I laughed out loud, reading it. It's called `His Mother's Heart,' and it's about a young man in college who gets in with a lot of free-thinkers and boozers and everything, but in the end his mother's influence----"

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