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1908 - The book begins: It was in the Theater St. Philippe (they had laid a temporary floor over the parquette seats) in the city we now call New Orleans, in the month of September, and in the year 1803. Under the twinkle of numberless candles, and in a perfumed air thrilled with the wailing ecstasy of violins, the little Creole capital's proudest and best were offering up the first cool night of the languidly departing summer to the divine Terpsichore. For summer there, bear in mind, is a loitering gossip, that only begins to talk of leaving when September rises to go. It was like hustling her out, it is true, to give a select bal masque at such a very early - such an amusingly early date; but it was fitting that something should be done for the sick and destitute; and why not this? Everybody knows the Lord loveth a cheerful giver.