WHEN Burke the coachman reined in his horses before the theater at about eight-thirty, Charles Forbes, a personal attendant who served as footman, swung down to open the carriage door. A wooden platform or horse block stood at the curb, and the party, having alighted upon this, was convoyed through the main entrance by Forbes and the special guard John Parker. Burke drove forward some ten or fifteen paces toward F Street, then leaning back, elbow resting on the carriage roof, drowsed there, largely oblivious to what chanced around him.
To reach the "state box," the party, with Forbes and Parker, traversed the lobby to its northern end, where there was a staircase to the dress circle; then climbed the stair and, preceded by the usher, James O'Brien, crossed behind the seats of the dress circle to the opposite side of the house. Descending the steps of the dress circle, they came to a door that opened inward upon a small vestibule, about four feet in width by perhaps eight in length. They could not see behind that door a mortise cut roughly in the wall nor, lying near, a wooden bar about two inches square and four feet long.
On the left-hand side of this vestibule was the closed door of box 7; at the vestibule's end the door of box 8 stood open. By that farther door the party entered. Small wonder that in the door to box 7, in the angle of a panel, they did not notice a hole a quarter of an inch in diameter, looking as if made with a gimlet and reamed with a pocket knife. Removal of the partition (which was an inch thick and about seven feet high) had thrown the two boxes into one box of irregular shape and with a frontage of be