`Let me see,' said Nicholas. `You play the faithful and attached servant; you are turned out of doors with the wife and child.'

`Always coupled with that infernal phenomenon,' sighed Mr Folair; `and we go into poor lodgings, where I won't take any wages, and talk sentiment, I suppose?'

`Why--yes,' replied Nicholas: `that is the course of the piece.'

`I must have a dance of some kind, you know,' said Mr Folair. `You'll have to introduce one for the phenomenon, so you'd better make a pas de deux, and save time.'

`There's nothing easier than that,' said Mr Lenville, observing the disturbed looks of the young dramatist.

`Upon my word I don't see how it's to be done,' rejoined Nicholas.

`Why, isn't it obvious?' reasoned Mr Lenville. `Gadzooks, who can help seeing the way to do it?--you astonish me! You get the distressed lady, and the little child, and the attached servant, into the poor lodgings, don't you?--Well, look here. The distressed lady sinks into a chair, and buries her face in her pocket-handkerchief. "What makes you weep, mamma?" says the child. "Don't weep, mamma, or you'll make me weep too!"--"And me!" says the favourite servant, rubbing his eyes with his arm. "What can we do to raise your spirits, dear mamma?" says the little child. "Ay, what can we do?" says the faithful servant. "Oh, Pierre!" says the distressed lady; "would that I could shake off these painful thoughts."-- "Try, ma'am, try," says the faithful servant; "rouse yourself, ma'am; be amused." -- "I will," says the lady, "I will learn to suffer with fortitude. Do you remember that dance, my honest friend, which, in happier days, you practised with this sweet angel? It never failed to calm my spirits then. Oh! let me see it once again before I die!" -- There it is--cue for the band, before I die, -- and off they go. That's the regular thing; isn't it, Tommy?'

`That's it,' replied Mr Folair. `The distressed lady, overpowered by old recollections, faints at the end of the dance, and you close in with a picture.'

Profiting by these and other lessons, which were the result of the personal experience of the two actors, Nicholas willingly gave them the best breakfast he could, and, when he at length got rid of them, applied himself to his task: by no means displeased to find that it was so much easier than he had at first supposed. He worked very hard all day, and did not leave his room until the evening, when he went down to the theatre, whither Smike had repaired before him to go on with another gentleman as a general rebellion.

Here all the people were so much changed, that he scarcely knew them. False hair, false colour, false calves, false muscles -- they had become different beings. Mr Lenville was a blooming warrior of most exquisite proportions; Mr Crummles, his large face shaded by a profusion of black hair, a Highland outlaw of most majestic bearing; one of the old gentlemen a gaoler, and the other a venerable patriarch; the comic countryman, a fighting-man of great valour, relieved by a touch of humour; each of the Master Crummleses a prince in his own right; and the low-spirited lover, a desponding captive. There was a gorgeous banquet ready spread for the third act, consisting of two pasteboard vases, one plate of biscuits, a black bottle, and a vinegar cruet; and, in short, everything was on a scale of the utmost splendour and preparation.

Nicholas was standing with his back to the curtain, now contemplating the first scene, which was a Gothic archway, about two feet shorter than Mr Crummles, through which that gentleman was to make his first entrance, and now listening to a couple of people who were cracking nuts in the gallery, wondering whether they made the whole audience, when the manager himself walked familiarly up and accosted him.

`Been in front tonight?' said Mr Crummles.

`No,' replied Nicholas, `not yet. I am going to see the play.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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