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too. Say the word. I want a novelty.’

‘I don’t know anything about it,’ rejoined Nicholas, whose
breath had been almost taken away by this sudden proposal. ‘I
never acted a part in my life, except at school.’

‘There’s genteel comedy in your walk and manner, juvenile
tragedy in your eye, and touch-and-go farce in your laugh,’ said Mr
Vincent Crummles. ‘You’ll do as well as if you had thought of
nothing else but the lamps, from your birth downwards.’

Nicholas thought of the small amount of small change that
would remain in his pocket after paying the tavern bill; and he

‘You can be useful to us in a hundred ways,’ said Mr Crummles.
‘Think what capital bills a man of your education could write for
the shop-windows.’

‘Well, I think I could manage that department,’ said Nicholas.
‘To be sure you could,’ replied Mr Crummles. ‘“For further
particulars see small hand-bills”--we might have half a volume in
every one of ’em. Pieces too; why, you could write us a piece to
bring out the whole strength of the company, whenever we
wanted one.’

‘I am not quite so confident about that,’ replied Nicholas. ‘But I
dare say I could scribble something now and then, that would suit

‘We’ll have a new show-piece out directly,’ said the manager.
‘Let me see--peculiar resources of this establishment--new and
splendid scenery--you must manage to introduce a real pump and
two washing-tubs.’

‘Into the piece?’ said Nicholas.
‘Yes,’ replied the manager. ‘I bought ’em cheap, at a sale the

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