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[565] He loved Shakespeare, and never lost an opportunity of seeing his character rendered by the masters of dramatic art. But on that evening, it is said, he was not eager to go. The play was new, consequently not alluring to him; but he yielded to the wishes of Mrs. Lincoln and went. They took with them Miss Harris and Major Rathbone, daughter and stepson of Senator Harris, of New York.

The theatre was crowded. At 9:20 the President and his party entered. The audience rose and cheered enthusiastically as they passed to the “state box” reserved for them. Little did anyone present dream that within the hour enthusiasm would give place to shrieks of horror. It was ten o'clock when Booth came upon the scene to enact the last and greatest tragedy of the war. He had planned carefully, but not correctly. A good horse awaited him at the rear of the theatre, on which he intended to ride into friendly shelter among the hills of Maryland. He made his way to the President's box — a double one in the second tier, at the left of the stage. The separating partition had been removed, and both boxes thrown into one.

Booth entered the theatre nonchalantly, glanced at the stage with apparent interest, then slowly worked his way around into the outer passage leading toward the box occupied by the President. At the end of an inner passage leading to the box door, one of the President's “messengers” was stationed to prevent unwelcome intrusions. Booth presented a card to him, stating that Mr. Lincoln had sent

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