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eyes and throbbing temples with iced water as she committed the words to memory. Sometimes she could only battle with the angel who
Knits up the ravelled sleeve of care,' by rapidly pacing the room while she studied. Now and then she was fairly conquered, and fell asleep over her books. Strange to say, her health, instead of failing entirely, as was predicted, visibly improved. The deleterious effects of late hours were counteracted by constant exercise, an animating, exhilarating pursuit, and the allpotent nepenthe of inner peace. She gained new vigor and elasticity. With the additional burden came the added strength whereby it could be borne.
As may be readily imagined, she was often weary to exhaustion, even during the performance. On one occasion her fatigue very nearly placed her in a predicament as awkward to her as it would have been amusing to the audience. She was fulfilling a long engagement at Niblo's, New York. She was playing Lady Teazle, in the “School for Scandal.” When Lady Teazle, at the aunouncement of Sir Peter, is concealed behind the screen in Joseph Surface's library, she is compelled to remain a quarter of an hour, or perhaps twenty minutes, in this confinement. Mrs. Mowatt was dreadfully fatigued, and glad of the opportunity for rest. There was no chair. At first she knelt for relief. Becoming tired of that position, she quietly laid herself down, and, regardless of Lady Teazle's ostrich plumes, made a pillow of her arm for her head. She listened to Placide's most humorous personation of Sir Peter for awhile; but gradually his voice grew more and more indistinct, melting into a soothing murmur, and then was heard no more. She fell into a profound sleep. When Charles Surface is announced, Sir Peter is hurried by Joseph into the closet. Lady Teazle (according to Sheridan) peeps behind the screen, and intimates to
ASLEEP ON THE STAGE.
Joseph the propriety of locking Sir Peter in, and proposes her own escape. At the sound of Charles Surface's step, she steals behind the screen again. The cue was given, but no Lady Teazle made her appearance. She was slumbering in happy unconsciousness that theatres were ever instituted.
Mr. Jones, the prompter, supposing that Mrs. Mowatt had forgotten her part, ran to one of the wings from which he could obtain a view behind the screen. To his mingled diversion and consternation, he beheld the lady placidly sleeping on the floor. Of course, he could not reach her.
Mrs. Mowatt continues: “I have often heard him relate the frantic manner in which he shouted, in an imploring stage whisper, “Mrs. Mowatt, wake up! For goodness' sake, wake up! Charles Surface is just going to pull the screen down!
Wake up! You'll be caught by the audience asleep! Wake up! Good gracious, do wake up!' I have some confused recollection of hearing the words wake up! wake up! As I opened my heavy eyes, they fell upon Mr. Jones, making the most violent gesticulations, waving about his prompt book, and almost dancing in the excitement of his alarm. The hand of Charles Surface was already on the screen. I sprang to my feet, hardly remembering where I was, and had barely time to smooth down my train, when the screen fell. A moment sooner, and how would the slumbering Lady Teazle, suddenly awakened, have contrived to impress the audience with the sense of her deep contrition for her impudence! how pursuaded her husband that she had discovered her injustice to him during her pleasant nap!"
How Rehearsals are Conducted.—The Stage by Daylight.-Queens in
Calico Dresses.-Kings in Thread bare Trowsers and Coats out at Elbows.-Ball-room Belles in India Rubber Overshoes. - Fairies in Thick Boots and Demons in Stovepipe Hats.-The World Upside down.-How to make a Crowd of Democrats Yell.--The Rehearsal a School.-Humorous Account of a Rehearsal in California.
All plays have to be carefully rehearsed by the actors before they are presented to the eagle eye of the critics and the admiring eye of the public.
These rehearsals take place, of course, in the day time. It is customary for the stage manager to make out beforehand a list of the characters, assigning the performance of each character to some member of the company; then each member is notified that he (or she) is “cast" for such or such a part in the forthcoming play of so-and-so. In badly regulated theatres this is neglected, however, and no actor knows whether he is to play in the piece until he comes to the first rehearsal.
The notice or “call” for rehearsal is hung up in a conspicuous place-generally in two places — behind the scenes, so that no one employed about the theatre shall possibly miss seeing it.
Obedient to the call, the players gather on the stageusually about ten o'clock in the morning—for rehearsal.
With them come the scene-shifters, the musicians, and everybody who has to do with the production of the piece at night.
But where, oh! where is that which so charms us in the evening when the gas is alight? Instead of the brilliant flickering of innumerable jets of light from grand chandeliers or sparkling dome, there is a dull, drowzy, dirty
daylight streaming in from nooks and corners of the theatre, through ventilators, and cobwebbed windows away up in the gallery walls,-lighting up a huge cavelike place, reeking with the odors of escaping gas, and suggestive of everything else but gayety.
Of course no one wears, at the rehearsal, the costume of the night; but all the actors come in the everyday clothes which they are accustomed to wear-and as they are not always able to dress as well as they would likethe necessities of out-door costume always ranking second with a conscientious actor, to the requirements of the stage—the effect is often most incongruous.
This is especially so on a rainy day. It seems funny to see an actor stalking about the stage in a water-proof overcoat, carrying an umbrella in one hand, and remarking, in a very unconcerned tone, “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!” Or to see a lady in a last year's bonnet and wearing a pair of overshoes, pirouette across the stage, saying as she does so," Ah, mamma, how happy
, I am to-night! How beautifully the lamps are shining on this gaily attired company of fair women and brave men ! It seems like fairy-land!”—while not three feet away from her, a couple of begrimed men in shirt-sleeves, and smelling of tar and things are kneeling on the floor hammering away at the gas arrangements or something about the scenery.
Or to see a bevy of girls representing fairies, trip upon the stage with thick boots clattering, while from the other side a “demon" comes on in a stovepipe hat and goes through an excited pantomime.
Or to see a middle-aged lady, in a calico dress, sitting on a shaky chair, and addressing the other actors as “My faithful servitors," and promising, as she is queen, to see them righted.
Or to behold a well-dressed person kneeling at the feet