Authors: Jenny Pattrick
THE LITTLE FRENCH GIRL, LILY ALOUETTE, WAS SINGING AND DANCING ALMOST AS SOON AS SHE COULD WALK, AND PERFORMING BECAME AS MUCH A PART OF HER AS BREATHING.
When she is left an orphan in an unfamiliar country after her parents have emigrated to the goldfields, it is performing in a circus that offers survival. Later she takes to the stage in New Zealand and Australia, which is where she attracts the attention of two men. One is the faithful Jack Lacey; the other is the renowned pirate Bully Hayes. While Jack has to compete with both Bully and the theatre to win Lily’s attention, Lily finds she must share Jack, too.
This lively, unconventional love story is set amid real figures from nineteenth-century theatre, giving a vivid and entertaining picture of the life of actors and circus performers, of gold miners, of horse breeders, of colonial settlers. Filtered through a unique and intriguing narrative, it is page-turning, heart-warming and full of surprises.
In memory of my parents, Don and Tim Priestley, and for the many performers among my friends and family members.
Almost all the performers, performing groups and theatres mentioned in these pages were real. The places and times of their performances, the names of the plays and songs are accurate. Naturally, since this novel is an entertainment in itself, a little dramatic licence has been employed. Almost all of the events described really happened; the rest certainly could have.
The Horseman, The Actress and The Wench at the Gate
or Who is the Wife?
Mrs Mathilda Lacey
The Tragic Tale of Theodore Valentin Lacey
INCLUDING CONTRIBUTIONS BY JUVENILE AMATEURS
Madame Lily Alouette!
archivist’s annotations throughout
Dear thoughts are in my mind And my soul soars enchanted, As I hear the sweet lark sing In the clear air of the day
traditional Irish ballad,
The Lark in the Clear Air
, lyrics by Samuel Ferguson