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Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Salvation Girl

While rumour has it that some of our actor-managers are to be knighted, an actress has been righted, for Miss Ada Ward has become a Salvation lass. Miss Ward has had a varied career. She has been on the stage for twenty years, having played with Modjeska and as leading lady of the Theatre Royal, Melbourne. Indeed, she has been four times around the world in that time. She has also been twice married, divorcing her first husband in her seventeenth year; and she served as a nurse during the Siege of Paris, writing a magazine article about her experiences thereat. Recently she has been playing in Portsmouth as Lady Isabel in “East Lynne”, and in “The Forger’s Wife”.
But all that she has renounced. She called the members of the company around her on the stage when the curtain fell on Saturday night week, and informed them that she had renounced the sock and buskin for the tambourine. Then, distributing her dresses and jewels, she left the stage for the Army barracks, and addressed a crowded meeting on Sunday. She is quite frank about it all, and told the Daily Mail man about her transformation scene –

“For the past four months I have been stopping in Portsmouth, preparing for a tour I had booked this season. During that time I occasionally went to the Salvation Army meetings, the simple, earnest demeanour of the people there had always attracted me, but I did not go to the penitent form entirely of my own volition. It was on the night of the 6th of last January, I felt something touch me. Thinking it was someone wanting to pass, I looked up with the intention of moving, when, right in front of me, I saw the figure of the Saviour as distinctly and plainly as I see you now. I got up and went to the penitent form. Something led me, and the feeling was such a peculiar one that I cannot describe it, but the presence has never left me.”
The Sketch. March 10th 1887.

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