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‘“Who calls so loud?”’ cried Smike.
Thus they continued to ask each other who called so loud, over
and over again; and when Smike had that by heart Nicholas went
to another sentence, and then to two at a time, and then to three,
and so on, until at midnight poor Smike found to his unspeakable
joy that he really began to remember something about the text.
Early in the morning they went to it again, and Smike,
rendered more confident by the progress he had already made, got
on faster and with better heart. As soon as he began to acquire the
words pretty freely, Nicholas showed him how he must come in
with both hands spread out upon his stomach, and how he must
occasionally rub it, in compliance with the established form by
which people on the stage always denote that they want something
to eat. After the morning’s rehearsal they went to work again, nor
did they stop, except for a hasty dinner, until it was time to repair
to the theatre at night.
Never had master a more anxious, humble, docile pupil. Never
had pupil a more patient, unwearying, considerate, kind-hearted
As soon as they were dressed, and at every interval when he
was not upon the stage, Nicholas renewed his instructions. They
prospered well. The Romeo was received with hearty plaudits and
unbounded favour, and Smike was pronounced unanimously,
alike by audience and actors, the very prince and prodigy of