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Chapter 25

Concerning a young Lady from London, who joins
the Company, and an elderly Admirer who follows
in her Train; with an affecting Ceremony
consequent on their Arrival.

The new piece being a decided hit, was announced for every
evening of performance until further notice, and the
evenings when the theatre was closed, were reduced from
three in the week to two. Nor were these the only tokens of
extraordinary success; for, on the succeeding Saturday, Nicholas
received, by favour of the indefatigable Mrs Grudden, no less a
sum than thirty shillings; besides which substantial reward, he
enjoyed considerable fame and honour: having a presentation
copy of Mr Curdle’s pamphlet forwarded to the theatre, with that
gentleman’s own autograph (in itself an inestimable treasure) on
the fly-leaf, accompanied with a note, containing many
expressions of approval, and an unsolicited assurance that Mr
Curdle would be very happy to read Shakespeare to him for three
hours every morning before breakfast during his stay in the town.

‘I’ve got another novelty, Johnson,’ said Mr Crummles one
morning in great glee.

‘What’s that?’ rejoined Nicholas. ‘The pony?’
‘No, no, we never come to the pony till everything else has
failed,’ said Mr Crummles. ‘I don’t think we shall come to the pony
at all, this season. No, no, not the pony.’

‘A boy phenomenon, perhaps?’ suggested Nicholas.

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