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MR. VANSTONE'S inquiries into the proposed theatrical entertainment at
Evergreen Lodge were answered by a narrative of dramatic disasters; of which
Miss Marrable impersonated the innocent cause, and in which her father and
mother played the parts of chief victims.
Miss Marrable was that hardest of all born tyrants -- an only child. She had never
granted a constitutional privilege to her oppressed father and mother since the
time when she cut her first tooth. Her seventeenth birthday was now near at
hand; she had decided on celebrating it by acting a play; had issued her orders
accordingly; and had been obeyed by her docile parents as implicitly as usual.
Mrs. Marrable gave up the drawing-room to be laid waste for a stage and a
theater. Mr. Marrable secured the services of a respectable professional person
to drill the young ladies and gentlemen, and to accept all the other
responsibilities incidental to creating a dramatic world out of a domestic chaos.
Having further accustomed themselves to the breaking of furniture and the
staining of walls -- to thumping, tumbling, hammering, and screaming; to doors
always banging, and to footsteps perpetually running up and down stairs -- the
nominal master and mistress of the house fondly believed that their chief troubles
were over. Innocent and fatal delusion! It is one thing in private society to set up
the stage and choose the play -- it is another thing altogether to find the actors.
Hitherto, only the small preliminary annoyances proper to the occasion had
shown themselves at Evergreen Lodge. The sound and serious troubles were all
"The Rivals" having been chosen as the play, Miss Marrable, as a matter of
course, appropriated to herself the part of "Lydia Languish." One of her favored
swains next secured "Captain Absolute," and another laid violent hands on "Sir
Lucius O'Trigger." These two were followed by an accommodating spinster
relative, who accepted the heavy dramatic responsibility of "Mrs. Malaprop" -and