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The Anecdotage of Glasgow
First appearance of a stage struck hero


THE following is derived from the narrative of the hero of the story:

"A stage-struck youth, who had got the part of Hamlet letter perfect, applied to the manager of a small theatre in what he terms Threadyton (evidently Paisley), for an engagement. His desire was gratified, and the performance was duly announced, the play-bill intimating :—

THE CHARACTER OF HAMLET
By a Gentleman
His First Appearance on any Stage.

But when the New Hamlet faced the audience he was suddenly struck dumb, and could make no utterance. Cold drops of sweat ran down his back, his head felt on fire, his knees grew shaky, his eyes glassy, and the sea of human heads before him seemed converted into one great petrified face—and oh! how terribly hard it looked at him, seeming to read his soul.

In vain the prompter prompted; the Hew Hamlet could do nothing else but stare with a helpless, vacant stare. He felt what he had to say, but could not speak it. The audience got impatient and began to hiss, upon which the would-be Hamlet, gazing at his sombre dress with a woebegone look, said to himself, as he thought, "What would my mother say to this if she saw me making such a terrible fool of myself ?"

Roars of laughter from the audience, again and again repeated, broke the dream-like spell, and brought the stage-struck hero to his senses, and awake to the fact that he had really uttered the words he imagined he had only thought. When he awoke to this consciousness, and heard the audience shouting with wild and gleeful mirth at the tragedy turned into a comedy—although to him it was the former and not the latter—the next and last act was to look first one way and then another, ending the performance with a horrorstruck rush from the stage, amid a renewed shout from the audience and of the theatrical company.

And so ended the first appearance of this gentleman on a stage.


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