ALONG with tidings of imminent peace, spring was coming to Washington City. Judas trees and dogwoods were in bloom and a reassuring mildness filled the air. A wood fire might still be burning in Lincoln's office fireplace, where old-fashioned brass andirons and fender were linked with a white marble Victorian mantel. Yet gardeners were at work outside, and before many days the sojourners in hotel lobbies would be moving to chairs on the sidewalk, townspeople would be sitting on their doorsteps to take the evening breeze, and merrymakers would be going for an outing to the Great Falls.
On April 10th the polished comédienne Laura Keene, at one time New York's favorite actress, was opening the second week of an engagement at Ford's. With her, supplementing Ford's own company, were two capable and seasoned actors, John Dyott and Harry Hawk. She appeared on Monday as Miss Hardcastle in "She Stoops to Conquer," on Tuesday as Lady Teazle in "The School for Scandal," on Wednesday as Martha Savage in "The Workmen of Washington" (adapted by Miss Keene from the French, given in New York as "The Workingmen of New York, or, The Curse of Drink" and advertised as "A great moral sensational drama"). The bill for the 13th was "The Story of Peggy, the Actress," with Miss Keene as Peg Woffington.
That morning E. A. Emerson, member of the Ford company, was standing, he said, in front of the theater when John Booth walked up. Emerson had acted with Booth, was well acquainted with him, and said of him, "He was a kind-hearted, genial person, and no cleverer gentleman ever lived." John now was evidently in