Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

Chapter 25
Concerning a young Lady from London, who joins the Company, and an elderly
Admirer who follows in her Train; with an affecting Ceremony consequent on
their Arrival
The new piece being a decided hit, was announced for every evening of
performance until further notice, and the evenings when the theatre was closed,
were reduced from three in the week to two. Nor were these the only tokens of
extraordinary success; for, on the succeeding Saturday, Nicholas received, by
favour of the indefatigable Mrs Grudden, no less a sum than thirty shillings;
besides which substantial reward, he enjoyed considerable fame and honour:
having a presentation copy of Mr Curdle's pamphlet forwarded to the theatre,
with that gentleman's own autograph (in itself an inestimable treasure) on the fly-
leaf, accompanied with a note, containing many expressions of approval, and an
unsolicited assurance that Mr Curdle would be very happy to read Shakespeare
to him for three hours every morning before breakfast during his stay in the town.
'I've got another novelty, Johnson,' said Mr Crummles one morning in great glee.
'What's that?' rejoined Nicholas. 'The pony?'
'No, no, we never come to the pony till everything else has failed,' said Mr
Crummles. 'I don't think we shall come to the pony at all, this season. No, no, not
the pony.'
'A boy phenomenon, perhaps?' suggested Nicholas.
'There is only one phenomenon, sir,' replied Mr Crummles impressively, 'and
that's a girl.'
'Very true,' said Nicholas. 'I beg your pardon. Then I don't know what it is, I am
'What should you say to a young lady from London?' inquired Mr Crummles.
'Miss So-and-so, of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane?'
'I should say she would look very well in the bills,' said Nicholas.
'You're about right there,' said Mr Crummles; 'and if you had said she would look
very well upon the stage too, you wouldn't have been far out. Look here; what do
you think of this?'
With this inquiry Mr Crummles unfolded a red poster, and a blue poster, and a
yellow poster, at the top of each of which public notification was inscribed in
enormous characters--'First appearance of the unrivalled Miss Petowker of the
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane!'
'Dear me!' said Nicholas, 'I know that lady.'
'Then you are acquainted with as much talent as was ever compressed into one
young person's body,' retorted Mr Crummles, rolling up the bills again; 'that is,
talent of a certain sort--of a certain sort. "The Blood Drinker,"' added Mr
Crummles with a prophetic sigh, '"The Blood Drinker" will die with that girl; and
she's the only sylph I ever saw, who could stand upon one leg, and play the
tambourine on her other knee, LIKE a sylph.'