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CHAPTER 24: Of the Great Bespeak for Miss Snevellicci... (continued)
'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, mama?" says the child. "Don't weep, mama, 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 mama?" 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.
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