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produced the same jarring sensation as a succession of false notes on the fine ear of a musician, and drew from her a suppressed groan. The love-making of Icilius, which followed, - Icilius, who declares himself " dissolved, overpowered with the munificence of the auspicious hour," — was positively laughable. Under any other circumstances Stella could not have kept her countenance, when he rattled off at full speed :

“0, help me to a word will speak my bliss,

Or I am beggared ! No! there is not one !
There can not be ! for never man had bliss
Like mine to name !

It was obeying the noble Dane's injunction to "speak the words trippingly on the tongue," with an original fidelity.

Towards the close of the scene, Servia is summoned.

“Miss Rosenvelt, Mrs. Fairfax - Mrs. Fairfax, Miss Rosenvelt,” said Mr. Belton.

Mrs. Fairfax came late, and missed her first scene. At Virginius' charge to Servia to take his daughter in, Mrs. Fairfax encircled Stella's waist with her .

The touch thrilled through the trembling girl, it was so tender, so gentle. Stella looked into the stranger's face. It was one of the most benign that goodness and intellect ever illumined.

When they reached the wing, Mrs. Fairfax remarked, kindly, “How cold your hands are! Even through your gloves they feel like ice! It must be the effect of nervous excitement. A first rehearsal is very trying ; but you will soon get accustomed."

arm.

What music were those words to the ears of the downcast girl! The heavenly music of sympathy descending into the troubled heart, and charming away its restless throes.

Stella smiled gratefully, but could only answer, “I am a little a little nervous and you are very kind !"

Mrs. Fairfax replied by chafing the cold hands, and warming them in her own.

Virginia's next scene is very brief. She crosses in front of the forum with Servia, and meets Numitorius.

"Miss Rosenvelt, Mr. Doran Mr. Doran, Miss Rosenvelt," said Belton. They bowed.

The next scene is in Act Third. Claudius drags Virginia across the stage. Of course, this "business," as it is theatrically termed, is omitted at rehearsal. Virginia meekly walked by the side of Claudius, having been duly apprised that she would be dragged at night.

"Miss Rosenvelt, Mr. Conklin - Mr. Conklin, Miss Rosenvelt," said the punctilious Mr. Belton, as Virginia and Claudius met. Virginia is supposed to be fainting, and does not speak during this

scene.

as the

She next appears in the Roman Forum, captive of Appius ; then in her uncle's house; and then, for the last time, before the tribunal. There she is stabbed by her father. These scenes were hurried through in a formal, business-like way, and rehearsal ended.

Stella overheard Fisk remarking to the prompter, in an oracular tone, “Can't say it's a bit like it ! Don't think there's anything in her! No go! Decidedly, no go!"

Mr. Belton made no comment on her performance, as he bade Stella good-morning, and honored Mr. Oakland with a distant bow.

You will receive the call for Monday ; Mr. Tennent will, of course, be here,” were the manager's parting words.

Stella returned home thought-sick, disheartened, overwhelmed by a mental and bodily lassitude which she had never experienced before. Mr. Oakland made not the slightest attempt to reässure her.

Among the thronging images which rose up like phantoms to torment her, there was but one she could contemplate without a shudder -- the mildlybeaming face of Mrs. Fairfax. Was this the commencement of the career which she had pictured to herself as so inspiring, so full of exhilarating triumphs and delights ? True, she had encountered but trifles; these were mere feathers that weighed thus upon her spirit; but they were " feathers of lead.'

CHAPTER IV.

The Morning of the Débût. Emotions at First Sight of the Pla

card. The Second Rehearsal.- Mr. Tennent. The Great Tragedian's Manifestations of Importance. - Friendly Hints of Mrs. Fairfax. Mr. Tennent's Disdain of the Novice. The Crushed Hat. Unconcern of the Stage-Manager. The Ballet-Girl and her Brother, the Witless Basket-Carrier. - A Sad History.

The Ballet-Girl's Devotion to a Brutalized Father. -Unrest. -- Heart-Sinkings. -- Arrival of Perdita and Florizel. - Perdita's Effect upon Stella. Chilling Gloom of a Theatre at Twilight. The Star Dressing-Room. - The Officious Mrs. Bunce. The Dresser's Volunteered In formation. Her Treatment of the Novice. --Virginia's Toilet. A Discussion, Tender Care of an Experienced and Compassionate Actress. -Wanderings behind the Scenes. Comfortless Localities. The Green-Room. Mr. Martin, the Rheumatic Martyr. - Wonderful Effects of Excitement upon Physical Ailments. The Prompter's Seat. Fisk's Humorous Impertinence. The Surreptitious Aperture in the Green Curtain. First Peep at the Audience. -- Brief Visit of Mr. Oakland. - First Music.--- Second Music. --Third Music. - Increasing Terror of the Novice. Sudden Diversion of her Thoughts. -- Perdita and her father. --Rising of the Curtain. - Sandalled Feet a Moment Visible. Fisk's Enjoyment.-Change of Scene. Actors Pouring from the Green-Room.---The Agonies of Stage Fright. -- Darkness in Light. The Débút. Churlish Treatment from the Representative of Virginius. Mechanical Obedience of the Novice. -Spell Broken. - The Soliloquy. Stella's Performance of Virginia. - The Manager's Cautious Comment.--The Débútante's Return Home.

It was the morning of Stella's debût. As she drew back the curtains of her window, the sight of

her own name, in huge characters, on a placard opposite, sent an electric shock through her frame. The novel sensation could hardly be designated as pain, yet it would be mistermed pleasure. There was too much incertitude, too much thrilling expectancy, too many turbulent thoughts contending in her mind, for the sense of enjoyment to predominate. She had broken the thrall of tyrannous custom, she had triumphed over all opposition ; and yet the cankerworm of discontent entered her breast, and blasted the spring blossoms of her youth. The unrelaxed tension of her nerves, her mental unrest, had quenched the sparkle of her effervescing spirits. Her state constantly alternated between high excitement and an oppressive weariness.

As soon as her determination to become an actress was bruited in the public ear, she was, of course, besieged by the remonstrances of friends. But their opinions she set at naught. Her independent tone and resolute manner silenced exhortation. To her mother's presence no one gained admission.

Mr. Oakland declined to accompany his pupil to her second rehearsal. His tenderness towards the unprotected girl had induced him to violate a principle, at her strong entreaty, but he saw no cause to subject himself to further slight without being of essential service to her.

The clock had struck its tenth warning on that eventful day, and the ten minutes' theatrical grace had expired, before Stella, with Mattie at her side, once more entered the theatre. They found the company already assembled, but rehearsal had not commenced. Everybody awaited the appearance of the

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