Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. VII.]                      Societies.                                     89
We had been having in 1881, at our house, several Shakesperian readings for charity purposes, in particular for the Princess Alice Hospital, and I was waited upon one day by the principal man of the Mutual Improvement Society, to ask if I thought that the ladies and gentlemen who had assembled at our house for our private readings, would consent to appear on a public platform to read before the members of his Society as spectators, as they had read at our house, with all the same details of music, evening dress, etc., which we had had. I said in reply that I would consult my lady friends. I did so, -and there was at first some little reluctance manifested at the idea of appearing in public before a middle-class audience in their best frocks and jewels ; but they eventually consented, without, I think, any exception, and the reading came off at the New Hall on February 13, 1882. The play was Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, and the following was the cast:—
ORSINO, Duke of Illyria..............................Rev. H. R. Whelpton
Sebastian, brother of Viola...........................Mr. J. Devonshire
Antonio, Sea Captain, brother of Viola.........Mr. G. F. Chambers
Sea Captain, friend of Viola ..........................Rev. J. H. Usill
Valentine, gentleman attending the Duke...Rev. W. A. Bathurst
Curio, gentleman attending the Duke...............Mr. J. G. Morison
Sir Toby Belch, Uncle of Olivia........................Rev. R.Allen
Sir Andrew Aguecheek ..............................Rev. J. Fletcher
MALVOLIO, Steward to Olivia........................Rev. F. W. Haines
Fabian, Servant to Olivia..............................Mr. J. H. C. Coles
CLOWN .........................................................Mr. W. Morrison
PRIEST—(Act V., Scene i.) ...........................Rev. W. A. Bathurst
Olivia, a rich Countess....................................Miss A. Withers
VIOLA, in love with the Duke .....................Mrs. G. F. Chambers
MARIA, Olivia's Maid..........................................Miss Vulliamy
Servant—(Act III., Scene iv.) .....................Mr. G. F. Chambers
1ST OFFICER—(Act III., Scene iv.)...........................Dr. Hayman
2ND Officer—(Act III., Scene iv.)...............Mr. G. H. Lawrence
The Vocalists were the Rev. W. Smith-Dorrien, Miss H. Lowe, Mrs. G. F. Chambers, and Madame Talon. The Trios and Quartets were sung by Mrs. Wheatcroft, Miss Vulliamy, Miss Devonshire, Mrs. and Miss Coles, Miss Boileau, Miss Withers, the Revs. V. J. A. Browne, J. B. Fletcher and H. R. Whelpton, and Mr. J. H. C. Coles. The accompanist was Mr. G. Legge. The Hall was crowded to its utmost capacity, and a substantial sum realised for the funds of the Society. I heard afterwards
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