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and matted with her tears. The loving docile
little fellow sat very still with his arms round
his mother's neck, only offering from time to
time his great comfort and panacea for all ills:

"Tibby will tum back, mamma; I soor Tibby
will tum back."


MONDAY night came; the first night of the
season at Kilclare. The establishment of Mrs.
Bridget Bonny was in a flutter of expectation
and excitement. On the first night of the
season, Teddy Molloy, Biddy's step-son, always
gave his two apprentices leave to go to the play,
and he and his wife usually went into the pit
themselves; in fact, the whole household turned
out, with the exception of old Joe Bonny
and the foreman: who was a Methodist, and
held theatres to be sinful. The performance
commenced at seven, so Mrs. Walton and Mabel
set off for the theatre at a little before six,
preceded by Pat Doyle, the washerwoman's
son, who was engaged to carry a basket
containing their stage dresses to and from the
theatre every evening for the weekly stipend of
one shilling.

Mabel had no more onerous task to perform
on this first evening than to appear as a witch
and join in the choruses. She was therefore
free from responsibility, and could observe
everything around her with tolerable calmness.
Nevertheless, she felt a thrill of excitement and
nervousness when, from the dressing-room
which she and her aunt shared with old Mrs.
Darling, she heard the sudden rush of footsteps
and the Babel of voices that followed the opening
of the gallery door. The stairs leading up
to the gallery passed close to the wall of Mabel's
dressing-room, and she felt them shake beneath
the clatter of hurrying feet, and heard the noisy
greetings and shouts of that portion of the
audience known in theatrical parlance as the

"I think there will be a good house," said
Mrs. Darling, in her measured accents.

Mrs. Darling was to play one of the three
weird sisters, and was busily engaged in covering
her fat placid countenance with a perfect
network of black lines: which may have looked
haggard and awful at a distance, but which,
viewed near, gave her face the appearance of a
railway map.

"I'm sure I hope so," said Mrs. Walton.
"I think the business is likely to be good on
the whole. This was always one of the best
theatrical towns in Ireland for its size."

"Half hour, ladies!" cried a high shrill voice
outside the door.

"What is it? What does he say, aunt?"
asked Mabel, combing out her long thick hair,
which she was to wear loose and dishevelled
about her shoulders; that being the indispensable
coiffure for a witch in the days of King

"That's the call-boy, Mabel. He is calling
the half hour; that is to say, you have still
thirty minutes before the overture begins."

"Miss Bell is completely new to things
theatrical, I see," said Mrs. Darling, affixing
two long matted elf-locks of grey hair to the
nondescript turban which she was about to put
on her head; having first carefully combed back
her own smooth light hair, and fastened it up
out of sight.

"Well, yes; in a measure she is new to
them. She lived for some years in my
family. But that was when she was a child,
and I never let the children be very much in
the theatre."

"Your son," said Mrs. Darling, grandly, "is,
I am pleased to hear, considered one of the
most rising scene-painters of the day. He has
won golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Mrs. Walton."

"I am very glad to hear you say so. Jack
is ambitious, for all his careless light-hearted

"He may justly be so. Many of our first
artists have sprung from the theatrical painting-
room. David Cox, Roberts——"

"Ten minutes, ladies!"

"Dear me, I must hasten. I did not think
it was so late."

Mrs. Darling continued her toilet somewhat
more quickly than before, but with a
sort of methodical majesty that never deserted

As soon as Mabel was dressedand perhaps
some of my readers may like to know that the
costume of a Scottish witch in that remote
period was supposed to be accurately
represented by a, clean white petticoat, a pair of
neat black leather shoes, a brown bedgown,
green and blue tartan cloak, and flowing
hairshe accompanied her aunt into the
green-room. It was lighted by a couple of
gas-burners fixed on each side of the chimney-
piece. Besides the spears and banners there
was now a pile of round pasteboard shields
covered with silver paper, and there were three
wooden propsof the kind used in suburban
gardens to sustain clothes-linesleaning up in
a corner, and intended for the use of the three
principal witches. The only person in the room
when Mabel and her aunt entered it, was Mr.
Shaw. He was transformed, by means of a
flowing white wig and beard, into a very venerable-
looking King Duncan, and was walking
up and down repeating his part in short jerky
sentences. Presently came in, various other
members of the company. Mr. Moffatt dressed
as Macduff, and looking very fierce about the
head, and very mild about the legs. Mr. Copestake
as Banquo, with a false black beard, like
the curly wig of a wax doll, and very pink
cotton stockings. Miss Lydia St. Aubert,
dignified and imposing in the long purple
robes of Lady Macbeth, and with a square of
white cashmere bound on her head by a golden

It was all poor enough, and had a large
element of the absurd in it, which Mabel was
fully alive to, but yet there was a certain
glamour of romance over the shabby place and the