One morning Mary looked up from her letters at breakfast-
time with one in her hand, — ' ' Dear me, this is tiresome.
I do so love my ' Monday Pops,' and if this had been an
ordinary invitation, I should have refused it straight away
— but it is from the Leslie Stephens, and Miss Thackeray
is to be there."
"Of course you'll go," said her husband. "You have wanted for long to meet Miss Thackeray ; and into the bargain, there will be other people of the kind you like. As for the ' Pops,' you can get them at any time."
The Monday Popular Concerts were a feature of London life at this period. As to their musical merits, I can be no judge, but presume they must have been considerable, since Monday after Monday there were found sitting in their own seats weary men and blasée women, whose wealth and social status would have opened to them any doors.
On "'Pop" nights the audience in St. James' Hall had something of the appearance of a family gathering, so many of those present knew each other — while many more knew each other by sight — and quietly listening, took no interest in the dress and appearance of the rest, but surrendered themselves wholly to the restful pleasure for which they had come.
Anything more unlike an opera or theatre audience it would have been difficult to imagine ; and as hours were early, smart dressing unnecessary, and there was no worry about getting away at the close, Mary would often perform her most arduous social and charitable duties on a Monday, in serene anticipation of a calm and peaceful evening.
"Well, there is no help for it," said she, now. ' ' The dear things might have known better than to clash with my 'Pop ' — but the 'Pop' must go to the wall. You girls shall go to it however, and you shall both go to it this time, so it's an ill wind, etc." Accordingly when Monday evening came, we dropped the diners-out and were conveyed on to St. James' Hall. Luckily, the hours suited.
Lucy Bethia Walford, Memories of Victorian London, 1912