Roses", a "romantic drama" to be played that night, and I was determined to get a seat and see it. Do you know what courage that act required? More than was needed to cut loose from everyone I loved and go to America. For my father was a Puritan of the Puritans and had often spoken of the theatre as the "open door to Hell".
I had lost all belief in Hell or Heaven, but a cold shiver went through me as I bought my ticket and time and again in the next four hours I was on the point of forfeiting it without seeing the play. What if my father was right? I couldn't help the fear that came over me like a vapour.
I was in my seat as the curtain rose and sat for three hours enraptured; it was just a romantic love-story but the heroine was lovely and affectionate and true and I was in love with her at first sight. When the play was over I went into the street, resolved to keep myself pure for some girl like the heroine: no moral lesson I have received before or since can compare with that given me by that first night in a theatre. The effect lasted for many a month and made self-abuse practically impossible to me ever afterwards. The preachers may digest this fact at their leisure.
The next morning I had a good breakfast at the Adelphi Hotel and before ten was on board the steamer, had stowed away my trunk and taken my station by my sleeping place traced in chalk on the deck. About noon the Doctor came round, a young man of good height with a nonchalant manner, reddish hair, roman nose and easy, unconventional ways.
"Whose is this berth?" he asked, pointing to mine.
"Mine, Sir" I replied.
"Tell your father or mother", he said curtly, "that