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Chapter IV.

Early in January there was a dress rehearsal of the Trial Scene of "The Merchant of Venice". The Grandee of the neighborhood who owned the great park, Sir W. W. W., some M. P.'s, notably a Mr. Whalley who had a pretty daughter and lived in the vicinity, and the Vicar and his family were invited, and others whom I did not know; but with the party from the Vicarage came Lucille.

The big schoolroom had been arranged as a sort of theatre and the estrade at one end where the Head-Master used to throne it on official occasions, was converted into a makeshift stage and draped by a big curtain that could be drawn back or forth at will.

The Portia was a very handsome lad of sixteen named Herbert, gentle and kindly, yet redeemed from effeminacy by the fact that he was the fleetest sprinter in the school and could do the hundred yards in eleven and a half seconds. The "Duke" was, of course, Jones and the merchant "Antonio" a big fellow named Vernon, and I had got Edwards the part of "Bassanio" and a pretty boy in the Fourth Form was taken as "Nerissa". So far as looks went the cast was passable; but the "Duke" recited his lines as if they had