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PREFACE.

To record the singular incidents that occurred around me, and sketch the striking histories which awakened my interest, was a favorite employment during a professional career of nine years. Out of the many-colored webs of life thus collected the narratives that compose this volume are woven. Fiction has lent but few embellishing touches. Truth is left to proclaim her own strangeness. Should this work achieve the object contemplated, its readers will receive a more correct impression of some unlaurelled laborers for the public amusement than is generally entertained. Between them and the every-day world the curtain of prejudice has fallen in impenetrable folds. From its fatal shadow those alone who climb

to the highest pinnacles of fame emerge. Yet among the most lowly of the proscribed band there are many whose lives bear witness that Heaven plants its flowers and scatters its pearls in unexpected places. Look for them, you who judge rashly, before you pronounce that they have no existence there !

ANNA CORA RITCHIE.

Ravenswood, October 27th, 1855.

CONTENTS.

PAGE.

The Morning of the Débût. - Emotions at First Sight of the Pla-

card. -- The Second Rehearsal. --- Mr. Tennent. — The Great

Tragedian's Manifestations of Importance. ---- Friendly Hints of

Mrs. Fairfax, Mr. Tennent's Disdain of the Novice. - The

Crushed Hat. — Unconcern of the Stage-Manager. — The Bal-

let-Girl and her Brother, the Witless Basket-Carrier. A Sad

History. The Ballet-Girl's Devotion to a Brutalized Father.

- Unrest. Heart-Sinkings. — Arrival of Perdita and Flor-

Perdita's Effect upon Stella. --- Chilling Gloom of a

Theatre at Twilight. - The Star Dressing-Room. The Officious

Mrs. Bunce. The Dresser's Volunteered Information. Her

Treatment of the Novice. - Virginia's Toilet. --- A Discussion.

Tender Care of an Experienced and Compassionate Actress.

Wanderings behind the Scenes. Comfortless Localities.

The Green-Room. — Mr. Martin, the Rheumatic Martyr.

Wonderful Effects of Excitement upon Physical Ailments. — The

Prompter's Seat. - Fisk's Humorous Impertinence. The Sur-

reptitious Aperture in the Green Curtain. First Peep at the

Audience. Brief Visit of Mr. Oakland. - First Music.

Second Music. -- Third Music. - Increasing Terror of the Nov-

ice. -Sudden Diversion of her Thoughts. Perdita and her

Father. - Rising of the Curtain. Sandalled Feet a Moment

Visible. Fisk's Enjoyment. - Change of Scene. – Actors

Pouring from the Green-Room. The Agonies of Stage Fright.

- Darkness in Light. - The Débût. Churlish Treatment from

the Representative of Virginius. Mechanical Obedience of

the Novice. — Spell Broken. The Soliloquy. - Stella's Per-

formance of Virginia. - The Manager's Cautious Comment.

The Débûtante's Return Home,

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