WATCH Hottest Scene of Elisha Cuthbert
Hot Elisha Cuthbert at MrSkin
CLICK HERE for Instant Access

Elisha Cuthbert Photos
The Pickwick Papers 16

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

a long black surtout; and below it he wore wide drab trousers, and large boots, running rapidly to seed. It was on this uncouth-looking person that Mr. Winkles eye rested, and it was towards him that Mr. Pickwick extended his hand when he said, A friend of our friends here. We discovered this morning that our friend was connected with the theatre in this place, though he is not desirous to have it generally known, and this gentleman is a member of the same profession. He was about to favour us with a little anecdote connected with it, when you entered. Lots of anecdote, said the green-coated stranger of the day before, advancing to Mr. Winkle and speaking in a low and confidential tone. Rum fellow--does the heavy business--no actor--strange man--all sorts of miseries--Dismal Jemmy, we call him on the circuit. Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass politely welcomed the gentleman, elegantly designated as Dismal Jemmy; and calling for brandy-and-water, in imitation of the remainder of the company, seated themselves at the table. Now sir, said Mr. Pickwick, will you oblige us by proceeding with what you were going to relate? The dismal individual took a dirty roll of paper from his pocket, and turning to Mr. Snodgrass, who had just taken out his note-book, said in a hollow voice, perfectly in keeping with his outward man--Are you the poet? I--I do a little in that way, replied Mr. Snodgrass, rather taken aback by the abruptness of the question. Ah! poetry makes life what light and music do the stage-- strip the one of the false embellishments, and the other of its illusions, and what is there real in either to live or care for? Very true, Sir, replied Mr. Snodgrass. To be before the footlights, continued the dismal man, is like sitting at a grand court show, and admiring the silken dresses of the gaudy throng; to be behind them is to be the people who make that finery, uncared for and unknown, and left to sink or swim, to starve or live, as fortune wills it. Certainly, said Mr. Snodgrass: for the sunken eye of the dismal man rested on him, and he felt it necessary to say something. Go on, Jemmy, said the Spanish traveller, like black-eyed Susan--all in the Downs--no croaking--speak out--look lively. Will you make another glass before you begin, Sir ? said Mr. Pickwick. The dismal man took the hint, and having mixed a glass of brandy-and-water, and slowly swallowed half of it, opened the roll of paper and proceeded, partly to read, and partly to relate, the following incident, which we find recorded on the Transactions of the Club as The Strollers Tale. THE STROLLERS TALE There is nothing of the marvellous in what I am going to relate, said the dismal man; there is nothing even uncommon in it. Want and sickness are too common in many stations of life to deserve more notice than is usually bestowed on the most ordinary vicissitudes of human nature. I have thrown these few notes together, because the subject of them was well known to me for many years. I traced his progress downwards, step by step, until at last he reached that excess of destitution from which he never rose again. The man of whom I speak was a low pantomime actor; and, like many people of his class, an habitual drunkard. in his better days, before he had become enfeebled by dissipation and emaciated by disease, he had been in the receipt of a good salary, which, if he had been careful and prudent, he might have continued to receive for some years--not many; because these men either die early, or by unnaturally taxing their bodily energies, lose, prematurely, those physical powers on which alone they can depend for subsistence. His besetting sin gained so fast upon him, however, that it was found impossible to employ him in the situations in which he really was useful to the theatre. The public-house had a fascination for him which he could not resist. Neglected disease and hopeless poverty were as certain to be his portion as death itself, if he persevered in the same course; yet he did persevere, and the result may be guessed. He could obtain no engagement, and he wanted bread. Everybody who is at all acquainted with theatrical matters knows what a host of shabby, poverty-stricken men hang about the stage of a large establishment--not regularly engaged actors, but ballet people, procession men, tumblers, and so forth, who are taken on during the run of a

The Pickwick Papers page 15        The Pickwick Papers page 17