Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray - Страница 1 из 1142


Vanity Fair
by
William Makepeace Thackeray
BEFORE THE CURTAIN
As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards
and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over
him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of
eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the
contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are
bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets,
policemen on the look-out, quacks (OTHER quacks, plague take them!)
bawling in front of their booths, and yokels looking up at the
tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the
light-fingered folk are operating upon their pockets behind. Yes, this
is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though
very noisy. Look at the faces of the actors and buffoons when they
come off from their business; and Tom Fool washing the paint off his
cheeks before he sits down to dinner with his wife and the little Jack
Puddings behind the canvas. The curtain will be up presently, and he
will be turning over head and heels, and crying, "How are you?"
A man with a reflective turn of mind, walking through an exhibition of
this sort, will not be oppressed, I take it, by his own or other
people's hilarity. An episode of humour or kindness touches and
amuses him here and there--a pretty child looking at a gingerbread
stall; a pretty girl blushing whilst her lover talks to her and chooses
her fairing; poor Tom Fool, yonder behind the waggon, mumbling his bone


-10     пред. Страница 1 из 1142 след.     +10