SEVERAL weeks ago an actor-manager requested me to try my hand at a play for the winter season. The offer was unexpected. "My dear sir," I said, "I am immensely flattered, but I have never written a play." Then I hastened to ask, "What kind of play?" for fear the offer might be withdrawn. He replied with sureness and decision. "I want a play," he said, "with lots of pirates and—no poetry." He stressed this with emphatic gesture. "And at least one shooting," he added. It was a slim prescription. He left me to brood upon the matter. The proposal was too flattering to be rejected out of hand.