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[203]

New interests were constantly arising. In these days Edwin Booth made his first appearance in Boston. Our mother and father went to the Boston Theatre one rainy evening, “expecting to see nothing more than an ordinary performance. The play was ‘Richelieu,’ and we had seen but little of Mr. Booth's part in it before we turned to each other and said, ‘This is the real thing!’ ”

Then they saw him in “Hamlet” and realized even more fully that a star had risen. He seemed

beautiful as dreams of maidenhood,
That doubt defy,
Young Hamlet, with his forehead grief-subdued,
And visioning eye.

Hamlet at the Boston, Later Lyrics, 1866.

Mr. Booth's manager asked her to write a play for the young tragedian. She gladly consented; Booth himself came to see her; she found him “modest, intelligent, and above all genuine,--the man as worthy of admiration as the artist.”

In all the range of classic fiction, to which her mind naturally turned, no character seemed to fit him so well as that of Hippolytus; his austere beauty, his reserve and shyness, all seemed to her the personification of the hunter-prince, beloved of Artemis, and she chose this theme for her play.

The writing of “Hippolytus” was accomplished under difficulties. She says of it:--

“I had at this time and for many years afterward a superstition about a north light. My eyes had given me some trouble, and I felt obliged to follow my literary work under circumstances most favorable for ”

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