Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Stage Temptations.
    Dear Madam--I would appreciate it very much if you
would kindly give me some advice on the following statement:
I am a young lady, seventeen years of age, and am considered
quite good looking.  I am now a stenographer and typewriter,
and am employed at $7 per week.  As I have quite a poor
family, I have to help along.  My $7 is very little compared
to what I need.  I have also had a desire for the stage, and
am now being offered a position in a well-known company at
$20 a week.  I really don't know what to do, as I want to be
respectable all my life, and am afraid that the stage is too
    I kindly ask your advice if a girl can be respectable while
she is on the stage, or if the career of an actress is a profes-
sion to be ashamed of? Twenty dollars would be a great help
to my folks, as well as to myself, and I am quite sure of being
successful, as the manager gave me all the encouragement
that I want.  I know the most that I can work myself up to
at my present profession is about $10.
    Although I love the stage, I would not go on it if there is
anything that would stain my reputation.   Awaiting your
advice, I remain,                       UNFORTUNATE.

    The girl who is afraid of the temptations of any
career had better keep out of it.
    As a man thinketh, so is he--and a woman also.
    The girl who is looking for pitfalls usually finds
    The woman who is on the watch for a betrayer is
rarely disappointed.
    Meanwhile, the virtues which will withstand the
temptations of a stenographer's life may safely face
those of a theatrical career.
    A temptation, to be dangerous, must originate
with ourselves.  Those which are merely external
are harmless.
    I knew a young woman who was fond of excite-
ment and adventure, to go into theatrical work with
bright anticipations of much amusement.
    At the end of the second season she retired,
utterly disillusioned.
    "I never had one temptation," she said, "and the
hard work and the monotonous grind of it all was
killing.  I would rather be a saleswoman."  The
girl whose reputation will not bear the strain of
stage life needs to take out an accident policy.
    Whether we believe it or not, we make our own
temptations in this life.  There is an element with-
in us which attracts that particular sort of experi-
ence which comes to us.
    There are hundreds of theatrical companies, com-
posed of thousands of American girls and women;
among those thousands, a few are immoral and
weak, just as a few foolish and unfortunate beings
can be found in every profession, art or trade.
    But the great majority are as respectable, hard-
working and worthy women as those who teach in
our public schools, or typewrite letters in our bus-
iness offices.
    The virtue which anticipates temptation will fine
its opportunity, and the honor which is confident of
its own strength will walk unharmed through
earth's most dangerous pathways.

Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.

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