Nicholas Nickleby HTML version

Chapter 30
Festivities are held in honour of Nicholas, who suddenly withdraws himself from
the Society of Mr Vincent Crummles and his Theatrical Companions
Mr Vincent Crummles was no sooner acquainted with the public announcement
which Nicholas had made relative to the probability of his shortly ceasing to be a
member of the company, than he evinced many tokens of grief and
consternation; and, in the extremity of his despair, even held out certain vague
promises of a speedy improvement not only in the amount of his regular salary,
but also in the contingent emoluments appertaining to his authorship. Finding
Nicholas bent upon quitting the society--for he had now determined that, even if
no further tidings came from Newman, he would, at all hazards, ease his mind by
repairing to London and ascertaining the exact position of his sister--Mr
Crummles was fain to content himself by calculating the chances of his coming
back again, and taking prompt and energetic measures to make the most of him
before he went away.
'Let me see,' said Mr Crummles, taking off his outlaw's wig, the better to arrive at
a cool-headed view of the whole case. 'Let me see. This is Wednesday night.
We'll have posters out the first thing in the morning, announcing positively your
last appearance for tomorrow.'
'But perhaps it may not be my last appearance, you know,' said Nicholas. 'Unless
I am summoned away, I should be sorry to inconvenience you by leaving before
the end of the week.'
'So much the better,' returned Mr Crummles. 'We can have positively your last
appearance, on Thursday--re-engagement for one night more, on Friday--and,
yielding to the wishes of numerous influential patrons, who were disappointed in
obtaining seats, on Saturday. That ought to bring three very decent houses.'
'Then I am to make three last appearances, am I?' inquired Nicholas, smiling.
'Yes,' rejoined the manager, scratching his head with an air of some vexation;
'three is not enough, and it's very bungling and irregular not to have more, but if
we can't help it we can't, so there's no use in talking. A novelty would be very
desirable. You couldn't sing a comic song on the pony's back, could you?'
'No,' replied Nicholas, 'I couldn't indeed.'
'It has drawn money before now,' said Mr Crummles, with a look of
disappointment. 'What do you think of a brilliant display of fireworks?'
'That it would be rather expensive,' replied Nicholas, drily.
'Eighteen-pence would do it,' said Mr Crummles. 'You on the top of a pair of
steps with the phenomenon in an attitude; "Farewell!" on a transparency behind;
and nine people at the wings with a squib in each hand--all the dozen and a half
going off at once--it would be very grand--awful from the front, quite awful.'
As Nicholas appeared by no means impressed with the solemnity of the
proposed effect, but, on the contrary, received the proposition in a most
irreverent manner, and laughed at it very heartily, Mr Crummles abandoned the
project in its birth, and gloomily observed that they must make up the best bill
they could with combats and hornpipes, and so stick to the legitimate drama.