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ROYAL CONSIDERATION                      181
look, feeling all the while that the audience would think Juliet afflicted with St. Vitus's dance, for I could not control the convulsive movements that shook my frame. How was I to speak ? If only Romeo would be slow, and give me time ! The cue came all too soon. With a supreme effort I managed to get through my lines with a steady voice. The balcony scene was the success of the play. After that set after set was put up with remarkable rapidity, and by half-past eleven the performance was over without a hitch. It seemed nothing short of a miracle. The play ran for a hundred nights. We found the cumbersome scenery more a drawback than an aid. Mrs. Stirling, that most perfect of Nurses, was wont to say, " Oh, those toppling columns and moving churches and palaces ! They always make me feel as though I were in an earthquake." One night a long trap in the floor of the stage, used for some mechanical effects, refused to close. My colleagues and I had to make awkward steps over it, and dared not forget it for an instant for fear of a fall and broken bones. It happened that the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Princesses Louise and Beatrice were present that night, and had from their boxes a perfect view of the large opening