Snittle Timberry, having recovered from his late severe indisposition, would have the honour of appearing that evening; a fifth line said that there were `Cheers, Tears, and Laughter!' every night; a sixth, that that was positively the last appearance of Mr Vincent Crummles of Provincial Celebrity.

`Surely it must be the same man,' thought Nicholas. `There can't be two Vincent Crummleses.'

The better to settle this question he referred to the bill again, and finding that there was a Baron in the first piece, and that Roberto (his son) was enacted by one Master Crummles, and Spaletro (his nephew) by one Master Percy Crummles--their last appearances--and that, incidental to the piece, was a characteristic dance by the characters, and a castanet pas seul by the Infant Phenomenon--her last appearance--he no longer entertained any doubt; and presenting himself at the stage-door, and sending in a scrap of paper with `Mr Johnson' written thereon in pencil, was presently conducted by a Robber, with a very large belt and buckle round his waist, and very large leather gauntlets on his hands, into the presence of his former manager.

Mr Crummles was unfeignedly glad to see him, and starting up from before a small dressing-glass, with one very bushy eyebrow stuck on crooked over his left eye, and the fellow eyebrow and the calf of one of his legs in his hand, embraced him cordially; at the same time observing, that it would do Mrs Crummles's heart good to bid him goodbye before they went.

`You were always a favourite of hers, Johnson,' said Crummles, `always were from the first. I was quite easy in my mind about you from that first day you dined with us. One that Mrs Crummles took a fancy to, was sure to turn out right. Ah! Johnson, what a woman that is!'

`I am sincerely obliged to her for her kindness in this and all other respects,' said Nicholas. `But where are you going,' that you talk about bidding goodbye?'

`Haven't you seen it in the papers?' said Crummles, with some dignity.

`No,' replied Nicholas.

`I wonder at that,' said the manager. `It was among the varieties. I had the paragraph here somewhere-- but I don't know--oh, yes, here it is.'

So saying, Mr Crummles, after pretending that he thought he must have lost it, produced a square inch of newspaper from the pocket of the pantaloons he wore in private life (which, together with the plain clothes of several other gentlemen, lay scattered about on a kind of dresser in the room), and gave it to Nicholas to read:--

`The talented Vincent Crummles, long favourably known to fame as a country manager and actor of no ordinary pretensions, is about to cross the Atlantic on a histrionic expedition. Crummles is to be accompanied, we hear, by his lady and gifted family. We know no man superior to Crummles in his particular line of character, or one who, whether as a public or private individual, could carry with him the best wishes of a larger circle of friends. Crummles is certain to succeed.'

`Here's another bit,' said Mr Crummles, handing over a still smaller scrap. `This is from the notices to correspondents, this one.'

Nicholas read it aloud. `"Philo-Dramaticus.--Crummles, the country manager and actor, cannot be more than forty-three, or forty-four years of age. Crummles is NOT a Prussian, having been born at Chelsea." Humph!' said Nicholas, `that's an odd paragraph.'

`Very,' returned Crummles, scratching the side of his nose, and looking at Nicholas with an assumption of great unconcern. `I can't think who puts these things in. I didn't.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.