One day shortly before her death, James Agate met Dame Marie Tempest returning from the Drury Lane theatre. She had been there, she explained, to rehearse. "Rehearse?" he asked, regarding the octogenarian actress with astonishment. "Yes," she replied. "I have to make a speech there tomorrow, and as I have never acted on the stage of that theatre I wanted to know exactly how to pitch my voice. So I went down to Drury Lane, walked to the place where I shall stand tomorrow and said to the charwomen cleaning the gallery, 'Ladies and gentlemen, can you hear me?' They said. 'Yes, Mum.' I said, 'Can you hear me perfectly?' and they said, 'Yes, Mum,' so now I know I shall be all right."