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has its origin in a short story by Thomas Hardy, first published inWessex Tales and then collected in Life's Little Ironies, that was adapted for television in the early 1970s. as told here it is about Mrs Marchmill a woman with pretentions to be a poetess who takes a house by the sea for the summer and finds another poet whose name she recognizes - Robert Trewe -- has temporarily vacated his rooms to make way for her. He (or is it a he? for Mrs Marchmill herself signs her work with a masculine pseudonym) is still writing and sometimes using the very same subjects for his greatly superior poems. Here the story goes on another tack from Hardy's, reordering events and giving them a different complexion. Marchmill and the house's owner Mrs Hooper both seem to have a fascination with the poet's room; both seem to see the poet himself when they look into the mirror there. Both sit at the desk and write. Hardy's Mrs Marchmill dies in grief at the death of the poet and he gives his story a different twist. Here she seems to seek her own death because of her inability to match his verses. Here Mrs Hooper seems consciously to be ensuring that her tenant can never meet the poet, although she says he is staying nearby and one begins to think that she may be Robert Trewe, or could he have been her husband who she is still mourning and whose work she is still continuing?
- Howard Loxton, British Theatre Guide
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