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REHEARSING IN  LONDON                      135
On going to the Lyceum to arrange the scenery I was surprised to hear that the stage would have to be " set" for the royal box, that it was always done, and that there had better be no exception to the rule. This meant that the stage business would have to be altered so that those in the royal box would miss no point. "But," said I, "I have come here to play to the English public, and not to the royal box. Besides, the royalties may never come to see me." This carried the day, and the scene was set as it had been in America. The rehearsals soon began, and, as a whole, I found the company a superior one. One and all were kind and helpful, and anxious to assist the general effect. Though my name was unknown, they showed me the greatest courtesy. It was surprising to find that London had never heard of many of our prominent American actors unless they had appeared in England.
Mr. Abbey left the choice of bill for the open-nig nights to me. Mr. Irving wished me to take the scenery he had used in his fine production of " Romeo and Juliet," and begin the season with that play. But I decided on Parthenia, as being the simplest character in my repertoire, and one in which I could not challenge comparison with