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LORD OF HIMSELF.

CHAPTER I.

Much time and trouble this poor play has cost.

DRYDEN.

• UNDER the hope of being appointed High

Sheriff of the county, a hope that was fully realised, Mr. Clarendon gave orders for a spacious ball room to be erected, and this room, by the aid of Mr. Simmons, costumier, of Tavistock Street, Covent Garden, London, was to be converted into a theatre. No expense was to be spared to render it perfect.

While the party at Riversdale were discussing the merits of many plays, the Clarendons were equally engaged upon the same:

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subject. The morning arrived when the congress was to meet at the Priory, and on assembling in the Green room Lord Albert Wittingham was unanimously called upon to take the chair. The proceedings then commenced.

It would be tedious, however, to describe the various suggestions that were made by those interested in the performance; suffice it to say that after a lengthened discussion a programme was agreed upon. Mrs. Clarendon was anxious for a comedietta, in which she would be willing to take any part. Miss Clarendon suggested tableaux, the arrangement of whicb, if upon classical subjects, she would, with pleasure, undertake. Miss Susan thought that a drama in blank verse, which she had written, entitled, “ The Prisoner of Lochleven,” would prove a success, assigning to herself the part of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots. Miss Matilda proposed scenes from Semiramide, Norma and Il Trovatore, in which Lady Albert, Miss Clifford and herself could

take the principal parts, but, unfortunately, it was found that none of the men were equal to the male characters; she then suggested the Rivals wishing to act “Lydia Languish ” to the “ Captain Absolute” of a gallant young officer, Lieutenant Patrick O'Hara, who excused himself by saying that Sir Lucius O’Trigger was much more in his line. Lady Albert Wittingham said that a friend of hers, Mr. Baimbridge, who had all the dresses for Creatures of Impulse, would be happy to lend them; if required would take any part allotted to him, and would, moreover, superintend the getting up of that piece; this, with an operetta for Miss Matilda, or a comedietta would form a good evening's entertainment.

The gentlemen left it to the ladies to decide as they were willing to assist the performance in every possible way. Lord Albert was appealed to, to settle the knotty point, who suggested that the Misses Clarendon should select any piece that was practicable which they should themselves cast, and that

Creatures of Impulse should be the afterpiece. This was agreed to, and the three young ladies retired to arrange their portion of the programme, calling in Lieutenant. O'Hara and Harry Northam to their council, for Sophia Clifford, though she took no part in the selection, was willing to undertake any character allotted her, more especially as Northam would, she felt assured, uphold her interest.

Luncheon being announced the meeting was adjourned for an hour and a half, at the expiration of which Lord Alfred again took the chair, and read the following programme:

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THE PRIORY AMATEUR THEATRICALS.

The performance will commence with

THE DAY AFTER THE WEDDING. LORD RIVERS . . . Captain Northam. COLONEL FREELOVE . . F. R. Baimbridge, Esq. JAMES . . . . . Lieutenant O'Hara, R.N. Lady ELIZABETH FREELOVE Mrs. Clarendon.

Mrs. Davis . . . . Mrs. Freeland. Recitation, “ Collins' Ode on the Passions'' , Miss Clarendon. Ballad, “Home, Sweet Home" ..... Lady Hovingham. Recitation, “Sad, lonely Isle,” from an unpublished Dramatic

Poem entitled, “The Prisoner of Lochleven,'' by Miss Susan Clarendon who will appear in the character of Mary QUEEN OF Scots.

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