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AN  EMPTY  HOUSE                               71
yet was received with indignation. At a quarter to two only rows of empty benches were to be seen on peeping through the curtain. " Doubtless," said I, with a sinking heart, " it will be a fashionably late audience when it does arrive.7' At two o'clock emptiness and stillness in front, dismay and silence behind the curtain. At a quarter-past, two ladies arrived. At half-past they were still the only audience, and the stage-manager went before the curtain to announce to them that the hall was not deemed sufficiently full to warrant a performance, whereupon the audience left quite contentedly. The walk back to our hotel was painfully humiliating. We fancied ourselves the laughing-stock of all Owensboro. The disgrace, however, was not as great as we thought, for at night the house was crowded, and we then learned that the empty theatre of the afternoon was only due to the fact that a morning performance had never before been given in the town. During that time many of our journeys were made on the Ohio and Mississippi steamboats. These were not always remarkable for their comfort, though bright and pretty enough to look at. I remember once on our way to Cairo (the Eden of Dickens) awaking after a night spent in an