NOTE: -Bagnlgge (locally pronounced Bagnidge) Wells, formerly a popular mineral spring in Islington, London, situated not far from the better remembered Sadler's-Wells. The gardens of Bagnlgge-Wells were at one time much resorted to; but, as a matter of fact, Bagnigge-Wells, unlike Sadler's-Wells, has never possessed a playhouse. Sadler's-Wells Theatre, however, always familiarly known as the "Wells," still exists. It was rebuilt in 1876-77. The costumes and scenic decoration of this little play-should follow, to the closest detail, the mode of the early Sixties, the period, in dress, of crinoline and the peg-top trouser; in furniture, of horsehair and mahogany, and the abominable "walnut -and -rep." No attempt should be made to modify such fashions in illustration, to render them less strange, even less grotesque, to the modern eye. On the contrary, there should be an endeavor to reproduce, perhaps to accentuate, any feature which may now seem particularly quaint and bizarre. Thus, lovely youth should be shown decked uncompromisingly as it was at the time indicated, at the risk (which the author believes to be a slight one) of pointing the chastening moral that, while beauty fades assuredly in its own time, it may appear to succeeding generations not to have been beauty at all.
When, during the season of 1885, the exceptional success of "The Magistrate" had revived the fortunes of the Court Theatre and included that house once again among the popular places of entertainment, the future policy of Messrs. John Clayton and Arthur Cecil's management was practically determined. The essentially comic play, the farce of character and manners, was henceforth to compose the programme, and Mr. Pinero, who had suggested the new policy, and so happily inaugurated it, was naturally commissioned to provide the next play. "The Schoolmistress" was accordingly forthcoming in due time, and in the composition of this piece the author further developed his ideas as to the scope and meaning of modern farce, ideas which will be found briefly expounded in my introductory note to "The Cabinet Minister," published in the present series of Mr. Pinero's plays. "The Schoolmistress" has a very simple stage-history. It was produced at the old Court Theatre on March 27, 1886, and it immediately caught the laughter and applause of the town, the success being so decided that the play retained its place in the programme until January 22, 1887, the total number of performances in the interval having amounted to 290.