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—♦ A scene of considerable confusion was witnessed on October 19- outride the stage door of Drury Lane Theatre. The manager had issued an advertisement in the following terms:“/ ( One hundred pretty young ladies wanted. One hundred pretty, well-made, and intelligent young ladies, from seventeen to twenty, for the forthcoming pantomine at Drury Lane Theatre. Apply, stage door, Drury Lane, on October 19, at 1 o’clock. Anyone who is not young and not pretty will be stopped by officials appointed for that purpose.” The wide publicity given to this 'apnouncement seems to have beehT’regarded somewhat in the light o£ an invitation to idlers to come down', and see this novel exhibition of youth and beauty. In fact, even before the time appointed a large crowd assembled under the colonade and in the street at the side of the Theatre, and the thoroughfare from Drury Lane to Bow street and Convent Garden was almost completely blockaded. A suspicion seemed pretty generally prevalent at first that the whole affair was a hoax, and that the advertisement had been the work of some person acting without authority. It was soon discovered, however, that this was not so. The stage door was flung wide open, and inside stood the officials—the judges of beauty and age—ready for the discharge of their somewhat invidious duties. Those among the candidates who were not to be deterred at the last moment by the thought of the scrutiny to which they would be subjected inside the Theatre, found that they had 'to run the gauntlet outside between dense rows of spectators, who displayed the deepest interest in their personal appearance. and in their prospects of securing an engagement. Ever and anon the appearance of a lady who could not by the utmost stretch of courtesy be held to comply with the stern requirements of the management was the signal for an outburst of cheers and yells. For the most part, however, the applicants, who were three or four times as many as the required number, were quiet and respectable-looking young women, who were naturally somewhat surprised at the reception accorded to them. Many had perforce to leave in despair of ever reaching the stage dopr, while those who did succeed in ing their way through the crowd were hustled and jeered at by tne,roughs, who were present in considerable numbers. Several policemen were on the spot, but were only partly successful in maintaining order, the scene lasting for upwards of an hour. Finally the candidates, to the number of &6out four hundred, were all admitted .Indiscriminately, and retained inside , with closed doors until the excitement Had had time to subside, and only few stragglers remained in the street. ”• ,

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 509, 15 December 1881

Word Count

ONE HUNDRED PRETTY YOUNG LADIES WANTED. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 509, 15 December 1881