Nicholas Nickleby: the Infant Phenomenon, hilarious member of the acting troupe Nicholas joins.
|A jigsaw puzzle of Nicholas Nickleby.|
"This, sir," said Mr. Vincent Crummles, bringing the Maiden forward, "This is the Infant Phenomenon--Miss Ninetta Crummles."
"Your daughter?" inquired Nicholas.
"My daughter--my daughter," replied Mr. Crummles; "the idol of every place we go into, sir. We have had complimentary letters about this girl, sir, from the nobility and gentry of almost every town in England."
"I am not surprised at that," said Nicholas; "she must be quite a natural genius."
"Quite a--!" Mr. Crummles stopped: language was not powerful enough to describe the Infant Phenomenon. "I'll tell you what, sir," he said; "the talent of this child is not to be imagined. She must be seen, sir--seen--to be ever so faintly appreciated. There; go to your mother, my dear."
"May I ask how old she is?" inquired Nicholas.
"You may, sir," replied Mr. Crummles, "She is ten years of age, sir,"
"Not a day."
"Dear me," said Nicholas, "it's extraordinary."
It was; for the Infant Phenomenon certainly looked older, and had moreover, been precisely the same age for certainly five years. But she had been kept up late every night, and put upon an unlimited allowance of gin and water from infancy, to prevent her growing tall, and perhaps this system of training had produced in the Infant Phenomenon these additional phenomena."