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oblong shape, sat a stout, portly female, apparently between forty
and fifty, in a tarnished silk cloak, with her bonnet dangling by the
strings in her hand, and her hair (of which she had a great
quantity) braided in a large festoon over each temple.

‘Mr Johnson,’ said the manager (for Nicholas had given the
name which Newman Noggs had bestowed upon him in his
conversation with Mrs Kenwigs), ‘let me introduce Mrs Vincent

‘I am glad to see you, sir,’ said Mrs Vincent Crummles, in a
sepulchral voice. ‘I am very glad to see you, and still more happy
to hail you as a promising member of our corps.’

The lady shook Nicholas by the hand as she addressed him in
these terms; he saw it was a large one, but had not expected quite
such an iron grip as that with which she honoured him.

‘And this,’ said the lady, crossing to Smike, as tragic actresses
cross when they obey a stage direction, ‘and this is the other. You
too, are welcome, sir.’

‘He’ll do, I think, my dear?’ said the manager, taking a pinch of

‘He is admirable,’ replied the lady. ‘An acquisition indeed.’
As Mrs Vincent Crummles recrossed back to the table, there
bounded on to the stage from some mysterious inlet, a little girl in
a dirty white frock with tucks up to the knees, short trousers,
sandaled shoes, white spencer, pink gauze bonnet, green veil and
curl papers; who turned a pirouette, cut twice in the air, turned
another pirouette, then, looking off at the opposite wing, shrieked,
bounded forward to within six inches of the footlights, and fell into
a beautiful attitude of terror, as a shabby gentleman in an old pair
of buff slippers came in at one powerful slide, and chattering his

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