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Mar. Mr. Hardcastle's house! Is this Mr. Hardcastle's house, child?
Miss Hard. Ay, sure! Whose else should it be?
Mar. So then, all's out, and I have been damnably imposed on. O, confound my stupid head, I shall be laughed at over the whole town. I shall be stuck up in caricatura in all the print-shops. The Dullissimo Maccaroni. To raistake this house of all others for an inn, and my father's old friend for an innkeeper! What a swaggering puppy must he take me for! What a silly puppy do I find my self! There again, may I be hanged, my dear, but I mistook you for the bar-maid. Miss Hard. Dear me! dear me! I'm sure there's nothing in my behaviour to put me on a level with one of that stamp. Mar. Nothing, my dear, nothing. But I was in for a list of blunders, and could not help making you a subscriber. My stupidity saw everything the wrong way. I mistook your assiduity for assurance, and your simplicity for allurement. But it's over. This house I no more show my
Miss Hard. I hope, sir, I have done nothing to disoblige you. I'm sure I should be sorry to affront any gentleman who has been so polite, and said so many civil things to me. I'm sure I should be sorry (pretending to cry) if he left the family upon my account. I'm sure I should be sorry if people said anything amiss, since I have no fortune but my character.
Mar. (Aside.) By Heaven! she weeps. This is the first mark of tenderness I ever had from a modest woman, and it touches (To her.) Excuse me, my lovely girl; you are the only part of the family I leave with reluctance. But to be plain with you, the difference of our birth, for tune, and education, makes an honourable connexion impossible; and I can never harbour a thought of seducing simplicity that trusted in my honour, of bringing ruin upon one whose only fault was being too lovely.
mind; and, until this moment, I never thought that it was bad to want a fortune. Mar. And why now, my pretty simplicity?
Miss Hard. Because it puts me at a distance from one that, if I had a thousand pounds, I would give it all to.
Mar. (Aside.) This simplicity bewitches me, so that if I stay, I'm undone. I must make one bold effort, and leave her. (To her.) Your partiality in my favour, my dear, touches me most sensibly: and were I to live for myself alone, I could easily fix my choice. But I owe too much to the opinion of the world, too much to the authority of a father; so that I can scarcely speak it—it affects me. Farewell. [Exit.
Miss Hard. (Aside.) Generous man! I now begin to admire him. (To him.) But I am sure my family is as good as Miss Hardcastle's; and though I'm poor, that's no great misfortune to a contented
I'm alive. I never saw Tony so sprightly I can. (To MRS. HARDCASTLE.) But not told you, madam, of my cousin's answer just now to Mr. Marlow. laughed.—You must know, madam.— way a little, for he must not hear us [They com Tony (Still gazing.) A damned cr piece of penmanship, as ever I saw in life. I can read your print hand very But here are such handles, and sh and dashes, that one can scarce tell head from the tail.-"To Anthony Lus kin, Esquire." It's very odd, I can rethe outside of my letters, where my or: name is, well enough; but when I co to open it, it's all――buzz. That's har very hard; for the inside of the letter s always the cream of the correspondero
Mrs. Hard. Ha! ha! ha! Very w very well. And so my son was too hard for the philosopher.
Miss Nev. Yes, madam; but you hear the rest, madam. A little more s way, or he may hear us. You'll hear how he puzzled him again. Mrs. Hard. He seems strangely puzzled now himself, methinks.
before. Ah! have I caught you, my pretty doves? What, billing, exchanging stolen glances and broken murmurs? Ah!
Tony. As for murmurs, mother, we grumble a little now and then, to be sure. But there's no love lost between us.
Mrs. Hard. A mere sprinkling, Tony, upon the flame, only to make it burn brighter.
Miss Nev. Cousin Tony promises to give us more of his company at home. Indeed, he shan't leave us any more. won't leave us, cousin Tony, will it?
Tony. O! it's a pretty creature. No, I'd sooner leave my horse in a pound, than leave you when you smile upon one so. Your laugh makes you so becoming.
Miss Nev. Agreeable cousin! Who can help admiring that natural humour, that pleasant, broad, red, thoughtless (patting his cheek)-ah! it's a bold face.
Mrs. Hard. Pretty innocence !
Tony. I'm sure I always loved cousin Con.'s hazle eyes, and her pretty long fingers, that she twists this way and that over the haspicholls, like a parcel of bobbins.
Mrs. Hard. Ah! he would charm the bird from the tree. I was never so happy before. My boy takes after his father, poor Mr. Lumpkin, exactly. The jewels, my dear Con., shall be yours incontinently. You shall have them. Isn't he a sweet boy, my dear? You shall be married tomorrow, and we'll put off the rest of his education, like Dr. Drowsy's sermons, to a fitter opportunity.
Dig. Where's the 'squire? I have got a letter for your worship.
Tony. Give it to my mamma. She reads all my letters first.
Dig. I had orders to deliver it into your own hands.
Tony. Who does it come from? Dig. Your worship mun ask that o' the letter itself.
Tony. I could wish to know though (turning the letter, and gazing on it).
Miss Nev. (Aside.) Undone! undone! A letter to him from Hastings. I know the hand. If my aunt sees it, we are ruined for ever. I'll keep her employed a little if
Teny. (Still gazing.) A damned up ur! down hand, as if it was disguised in lique
(Reading) Dear sir,-ay, that's t Then there's an M, and a T, and an S but whether the next be an izzard, or R, confound me, I cannot tell.
Mrs. Hard. What's that, my dear Can I give you any assistance?
Miss Nev. Pray, aunt, let me read it Nobody reads a cramp hand better than (Twitching the letter from him.) Doye know who it is from?
Tony. Can't tell, except from D Ginger, the feeder.
Miss Nev. Ay, so it is. (Pretending " read.) Dear 'Squire, hoping that you're health, as I am at this present. T gentlemen of the Shake-bag club has the gentlemen of Goose-green quite in of feather. The odds-um-odd b
um-long fighting-um-here, be it's all about cocks and fighting; it's of consequence; here, put it up, put it = (Thrusting the crumpled letter upon Asm
Tony. But I tell you, miss, it's of the consequence in the world. I wat not lose the rest of it for a guinea. hes
other, do you make it out. Of no conequence! (Giving MRS. HARDCASTLE he letter.)
Mrs. Hard. How's this?-(Reads.) 'Dear 'Squire, I'm now waiting for Miss Neville, with a post-chaise and pair, at he bottom of the garden, but I find my horses yet unable to perform the journey. [ expect you'll assist us with a pair of fresh horses, as you promised. Dispatch is necessary, as the hag (ay, the hag), your mother, will otherwise suspect us! Yours, Hastings." Grant me patience. I shall >>run distracted! My rage chokes me,
Miss Nev. I hope, madam, you'll suspend your resentment for a few moments, and not impute to me any impertinence, Cor sinister design, that belongs to another.
Mrs. Hard. (Curtseying very low.) Fine spoken, madam, you are most miraculously polite and engaging, and quite the very pink of courtesy and circumspection, madam. (Changing her tone.) And you, you great ill-fashioned oaf, with scarce 5 sense enough to keep your mouth shut: were you, too, joined against me? But I'll defeat all your plots in a moment. As for you, madam, since you have got a pair of fresh horses ready, it would be cruel to disappoint them. So, if you please, instead of running away with your spark, prepare, this very moment, to run off with me. Your old aunt Pedigree will keep you secure, I'll warrant me. You too, sir, may mount your horse, and guard us upon the way. Here, Thomas, Roger, Diggory! I'll show you, that I wish you better than you do yourselves. [Exit. Miss Nev. So now I'm completely ruined.
you have shown my letter, and betrayed us. Was this well done, young gentleman? Tony. Here's another. Ask miss there, who betrayed you. Ecod, it was her doing, not mine.
Tony. Ay, that's a sure thing.
Miss Nev. What better could be expected from being connected with such a stupid fool,-and after all the nods and signs I made him?
Tony. By the laws, miss, it was your own cleverness, and not my stupidity, that did your business. You were so nice and so busy with your Shake-bags and Goosegreens, that I thought you could never be making believe.
Hast. An insensible cub.
Mar. Replete with tricks and mischief. Tony. Baw! damme, but I'll fight you both, one after the other-with baskets. Mar. As for him, he's below resentBut your conduct, Mr. Hastings, requires an explanation. You knew of my mistakes, yet would not undeceive me.
Hast. Tortured as I am with my own disappointments, is this a time for explanations? It is not friendly, Mr. Marlow.
Mar. But, sir
Miss Nev. Mr. Marlow, we never kept on your mistake till it was too late to undeceive you.
Ser. My mistress desires you'll get ready immediately, madam. The horses are putting to. Your hat and things are in the next room. We are to go thirty miles before morning. [Exit Servant.
Miss Nev. Well, well: I'll come presently.
Mar. (To HASTINGS.) Was it well done, sir, to assist in rendering me ridiculous? To hang me out for the scorn of all my acquaintance? Depend upon it, sir, I shall expect an explanation.
Hast. Was it well done, sir, if you're Hast. So, sir, I find by my servant, that upon that subject, to deliver what I en
Miss Nev. I come. If I leave you thus, apprehension.
Ser. Your fan, muff, and gloves, madam, The horses are waiting.
Miss Nev. O, Mr. Marlow! if you knew what a scene of constraint and illnature lies before me, I'm sure it would convert your resentment into pity.
Mar. I'm so distracted with a variety of passions, that I don't know what I do. Forgive me, madam. George, forgive me. You know my hasty temper, and should not exasperate it.
Hast. The torture of my situation is only excuse.
Miss Nev. Well, my dear Hastings, if you have that esteem for me that I think, that I am sure you have, your constancy for three years will but increase the happiness of our future connexion. If-
Mrs. Hard. (Within.) Miss Neville. Constance, why Constance, I say. Miss Nea. I'm coming. Well, constancy, remember, constancy is the word. [Exit. Hast. My heart! how can I support this? To be so near happiness, and such happiness!
Mar. (To TONY.) You see now, young gentleman, the effects of your folly. What might be amusement to you, is here disappointment, and even distress.
Tony. (From a reverie.) Ecod, I have hit it. It's here. Your hands. Yours and yours, my poor Sulky!-My boots there, ho!-Meet me two hours hence at the bottom of the garden; and if you don't find Tony Lumpkin a more goodnatured fellow than you thought for, I'll give you leave to take my best horse, and Bet Bouncer into the bargain. Come along. My boots, ho! [Exeunt.
ACT THE FIFTH. (SCENE continued.) Enter HASTINGS and Servant. Hast. You saw the old lady and M Neville drive off, you say?
Ser. Yes, your honour. They went in a post-coach, and the young 'sc went on horseback. They're thirty off by this time.
Hast. Then all my hopes are over. Ser. Yes, sir. Old Sir Charles arrived. He and the old gentleman of mistake this half hour. They are com house have been laughing at Mr. Marles: this way.
Hast. Then I must not be seen. S bottom of the garden. This is abou now to my fruitless appointment at Enter SIR CHARLES and HARDCASTLE the time. [Exi
Hard. Ha! ha! ha! The peremptor tone in which he sent forth his sublice commands!
Sir Cha. And the reserve with which 1 suppose he treated all your advances.
Hard. And yet he might have seen something in me above a common innkeeper, too.
Sir Cha. Yes, Dick, but he mistook you for an uncommon innkeeper, ha! ha! ha!
Hard. Well, I'm in too good spirits to think of anything but joy. Yes, my dear friend, this union of our families will make our personal friendships hereditary; and though my daughter's fortune is but small
Sir Cha. Why, Dick, will you talk of fortune to me? My son is possessed of more than a competence already, and can want nothing but a good and virtuous girl to share his happiness and increase it. If they like each other, as you say they do
Hard. If, man! I tell you they do like each other. My daughter as good as told me so.
Sir Cha. But girls are apt to flatter themselves, you know.
Hard. I saw him grasp her hand in the warmest manner myself; and here he comes to put you out of your ifs, I warrant him.
Hard. Come, boy, I'm an old fellow, and know what's what as well as you that are younger. I know what has passed between you; but mum.
Mar. Sure, sir, nothing has passed between us but the most profound respect on my side, and the most distant reserve on hers. You don't think, sir, that my impudence has been passed upon all the rest of the family.
Hard. Impudence! No, I don't say that-not quite impudence -though girls like to be played with, and rumpled a little too, sometimes. But she has told no tales, I assure you.
Mar. I never gave her the slightest
Hard. Well, well, I like modesty in its place well enough. But this is over-acting, young gentleman. You may be open. Your father and I will like you all the better for it.
Mar. May I die, sir, if I ever-▬▬▬ Hard. I tell you, she don't dislike you; and as I'm sure you like her-
Mar. Dear sir--I protest, sir
Hard. I see no reason why you should not be joined as fast as the parson can tie you.
Hardcastle the slightest mark of my attachment, or even the most distant hint to suspect me of affection. We had but one interview, and that was formal, modest, and uninteresting.
Mar. But hear me, sir
Hard. Your father approves the match, I admire it; every moment's delay will be doing mischief. SoMar. But why won't you hear me? By all that's just and true, I never gave Miss
Hard. (Aside.) This fellow's formal modest impudence is beyond bearing. Sir Cha. And you never grasped her hand, or made any protestations?
Mar. As Heaven is my witness, I came down in obedience to your commands. I saw the lady without emotion, and parted without reluctance. I hope you'll exact no farther proofs of my duty, nor prevent me from leaving a house in which I suffer so many mortifications. [Exit. Sir Cha. I'm astonished at the air of sincerity with which he parted.
Hard. And I'm astonished at the deliberate intrepidity of his assurance.
Sir Cha. I dare pledge my life and honour upon his truth.
Hard. Here comes my daughter, and would stake my happiness upon her veracity.
Enter MISS HARDCASTLE.
Hard. Kate, come hither, child. Answer us sincerely and without reserve: has Mr. Marlow made you any professions of love and affection?
Miss Hard. The question is very abrupt, sir. But since you require unreserved sincerity, I think he has.
Hard. (To SIR CHARLES.) You see. Sir Cha. And pray, madam, have you and my son had more than one interview? Miss Hard. Yes, sir, several.
Hard. (To SIR CHARLES.) You see. Sir Cha. But did he profess any attachment?