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i8o                           A FEW MEMORIES
break. There seemed no chance whatever of success. In such circumstances sleep was impossible. Already tired out in mind and body, I realized how utterly unfit I was for the night's work. Juliet was to be my first Shakespeare character in London, and this made my position all the more distressing. How I longed for the simple scenery of the old days, when the characters were the chief consideration, and the upholsterer and scenic artist very minor adjuncts 1 But such are the necessary worries that Progress has brought even to the actor—Progress which, to quote what a man of knowledge said to me not long since, is undermining men's brains and filling the lunatic asylums with astonishing rapidity. The dreaded evening arrived, and the curtain was rung up before the usual crowd of critical ct first-nighters." The first act went quickly and smoothly, and was received with enthusiasm. But the strain had been too great After Mrs. Stirling and I had bowed our thanks before the curtain, I burst into tears, and felt I could not continue the play. But the second scene was soon ready, and, still shaking with sobs, I was led to the balcony. The cue was given, and I found myself again before the public. Choking down my tears, I assumed a lovelorn