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Nicholas bowed his acknowledgments, and was unfeignedly
glad to see the cloth laid.
‘We have but a shoulder of mutton with onion sauce,’ said Mrs
Crummles, in the same charnel-house voice; ‘but such as our
dinner is, we beg you to partake of it.’
‘You are very good,’ replied Nicholas, ‘I shall do it ample
‘Vincent,’ said Mrs Crummles, ‘what is the hour?’
‘Five minutes past dinner-time,’ said Mr Crummles.
Mrs Crummles rang the bell. ‘Let the mutton and onion sauce
The slave who attended upon Mr Bulph’s lodgers, disappeared,
and after a short interval reappeared with the festive banquet.
Nicholas and the infant phenomenon opposed each other at the
pembroke-table, and Smike and the master Crummleses dined on
the sofa bedstead.
‘Are they very theatrical people here?’ asked Nicholas.
‘No,’ replied Mr Crummles, shaking his head, ‘far from it--far
‘I pity them,’ observed Mrs Crummles.
‘So do I,’ said Nicholas; ‘if they have no relish for theatrical
entertainments, properly conducted.’
‘Then they have none, sir,’ rejoined Mr Crummles. ‘To the
infant’s benefit, last year, on which occasion she repeated three of
her most popular characters, and also appeared in the Fairy
Porcupine, as originally performed by her, there was a house of no
more than four pound twelve.’
‘Is it possible?’ cried Nicholas.