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No longer do we harken to the rich resonance of the Drama of Rhetoric; no longer do our minds kindle with the brilliant epigrams of the Drama of Conversation. Good reading is disappearing from the stage; and in its place we are left the devices of the stage-carpenter.

Few things, indeed, are quite impossible to the modern stage; but there are many that had much better not be attempted. It need scarcely be added that the more serious a play is, or aspires to be, the more carefully should the author avoid any such effects as call for the active collaboration of the stage-carpenter, machinist, or electrician.

"Madame is dressing," announced that most faithful of old servitors, Henri, who before Alice conferred a full-fledged butlership upon him in his old age was since his youth a stage-carpenter at the Théâtre Français.

The boy would have been correct had the question applied to accused persons before a court-martial. Spangler, the scene-shifter and stage-carpenter, has the face and bearing of a day-laborer. His blue woollen shirt does not confuse him, as he is used to it. He has an oldish face, wrinkled by fearful anticipations, and his hair is thin.

Sam Arnold was of respectable appearance, about thirty years of age, with dark hair and beard and a good countenance. Spangler, the stage-carpenter, was a chunky, light-haired, rather bloated and whisky-soaked looking man. Atzerott had a decided lager beer look, with heavy blue eyes, light hair, and sallow complexion.

Titus Maccius Plautus was born of poor parents, in the little Umbrian town of Sarsina, in the year 254 B.C., thus falling midway in age between Naevius and Ennius. Somehow or other he drifted to the capital, to find employment as a stage-carpenter.

When I had finished the scene, and had retired from the stage, the stage-carpenter came up and said: "That long-haired gentleman, who passed out a few minutes ago, requested me to tell you that you could go to thunder with your old show." That was the last time that Wild Bill and I ever performed together on the stage. After the evening's entertainment I met him at the Osborn House.

A forlorn bird here and there made a thin piping, as it flitted homelessly amid the bleached long grasses, and the frail silk of the milkweed pods came floating along ghostlike on the evening breeze. Yes! It was true. Summer was beginning to pack up, the great stage-carpenter was about to change the scene, and the great theatre was full of echoes and sighs and sounds of farewell.

And he who was to be called its author stood there a Made Man, unless some accident befell. Miss Ellsling spoke and came forward, another actor with her. The scene was over. There was a clearing of throats; everybody moved. The stage-carpenter and his assistant went away blinking, like men roused from deep sleep.

Yet on this solemn night Lemaitre had one of his explosions of temper, and stopped the play to publicly scold the stage-carpenter for setting a scene wrong in some trifling detail. The incident was destructive to the power of the play, or would have been in an ordinary case; but before the evening was over Lemaitre regained perfect control of himself and swept his audience with him as by storm.