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Full text of "A few memories"

EDWIN  BOOTH                                  29
that moment we became oblivious of everything but the scene before us, and only after the curtain fell upon the last act was our dream broken, when, with a shock, we found ourselves once more in the cold and dusky streets. To leave the Temple of Enchantment and come back to commonplace realities was our only sadness. Fairy plays, melodramas, and minstrel shows formed our regular menu. An announcement that Edwin Booth was to visit Louisville filled its play-goers with delightful anticipations. Times were hard, we were poor, and many sacrifices had to be made to enable us to witness a few of his performances. "Richelieu" was the first of the series. What a revelation it was! I had never seen any great acting before, and it proved a turning-point in my life. The subtle cunning* with which the artist invested the earlier parts of the play was as irresistible as the power, fire, and pathos of the later scenes were terrible and electrifying. It was impossible to think of him as an actor. He was Richelieu. I felt for the first time that acting was not merely a delightful amusement, but a serious art that might be used for high ends. After that brilliant performance sleep was impossible. On returning home I sat at the window