The Admirable Crichton Places Discussed

J. M. Barrie

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Loam House

Loam House. Home of the earl of Loam in London’s Mayfair district—one of the most expensive districts of London, where the cream of the English aristocracy maintained their town houses in the days before World War I. Loam House, like its eponymous owner, is apparently not of the highest rank. It contains several reception rooms of varying quality, some of which are to be “lent for charitable purposes,” while those reserved for private use are lavishly furnished. Act 1 takes place in the most luxurious of the rooms, which is lavishly equipped with a carpet, couches, and cushions. Its walls are decorated with paintings by well-known artists. A thousand roses are distributed in basins, while shelves and tables contain library novels, illustrated newspapers and, as the play opens, all the paraphernalia required for the serving and consumption of that hallowed English tradition, high tea.

By the time this room reappears in act 4, its decor has changed considerably. Various animal skins, stuffed birds, and the weapons used to kill them have replaced the paintings, and other items have been replaced by mementos of Crichton’s castaway experience. The tale tacitly told by these exhibits is, however, transparently false. Labels attached to the trophies on the walls emphasize the fact that all Crichton’s achievements have been rudely appropriated by the aristocrats, who are his social betters. However, the true story behind the sham...

(The entire section is 604 words.)