the greatness of mine; mentioned his heart, gave a short tragedy speech, and ended with pretended rapture.

Sir Cha. Now I'm perfectly convinced, indeed. I know his conversation among women to be modest and submissive: this forward canting ranting manner by no means describes him; and, I am confident, he never sat for the picture.

Miss Hard. Then, what, sir, if I should convince you to your face of my sincerity? If you and my papa, in about half an hour, will place yourselves behind that screen, you shall hear him declare his passion to me in person.

Sir Cha. Agreed. And if I find him what you describe, all my happiness in him must have an end.


Miss Hard. And if you don't find him what I describe-I fear my happiness must never have a beginning. [Exeunt. SCENE changes to the back of the Garden.


Hast. What an idiot am I, to wait here for a fellow who probably takes a delight in mortifying me. He never intended to be punctual, and I'll wait no longer. What do I see? It is he! and perhaps with news of my Constance.

Enter TONY, booted and spattered. Hast. My honest 'squire! I now find you a man of your word. This looks like friendship.

Tony. Ay, I'm your friend, and the best friend you have in the world, if you knew but all. This riding by night, by the bye, is cursedly tiresome. It has shook me worse than the basket of a stage-coach.

Hast. But how? where did you leave your fellow-travellers? Are they in safety? Are they housed?

Tony. Five and twenty miles in two hours and a half is no such bad driving. The poor beasts have smoked for it: rabbit me, but I'd rather ride forty miles after a fox than ten with such varment.

Hast. Well, but where have you left the ladies? I die with impatience.

Tony. Left them! Why where should I leave them but where I found them?

that goes round the house, and round house, and never touches the house? Hast. I'm still astray.

Tony. Why, that's it, mon. It led them astray. By jingo, there's a pond or a slough within five miles of place but they can tell the taste of

Hast. Ha! ha! ha! I understand: y took them in a round, while they s posed themselves going forward, ani you have at last brought them home ag

Tony. You shall hear. I first to them down Feather-bed Lane, where stuck fast in the mud. I then rattled the crack over the stones of Up-and-d Hill. I then introduced them to the gi on Heavy-tree Heath; and from that, w: a circumbendibus, I fairly lodged them : the horse-pond at the bottom of the garde

Hast. But no accident, I hope? Tony. No, no. Only mother is cor foundedly frightened. She thinks herse forty miles off. She's sick of the journey; and the cattle can scarce crawl. So ? your own horses be ready, you may wh off with cousin, and I'll be bound that n soul here can budge a foot to follow yea Hast. My dear friend, how can I be grateful?

Tony. Ay, now it's dear friend, noble 'squire. Just now, it was all idiot, cu and run me through the guts. your way of fighting, I say. Dama After we take a knock in this part of the country, we kiss and be friends. But if you ha run me through the guts, then I should be dead, and you might go kiss the hangman.

Hast. The rebuke is just. But I must hasten to relieve Miss Neville: if you keep the old lady employed, I promise to take care of the young one. [Exit Hastings Tony. Never fear me. Here she comes Vanish. She's got from the pond, and draggled up to the waist like a mermaid.


Mrs. Hard. Oh, Tony, I'm killed! Shook! Battered to death. I shall never survive it. That last jolt, that laid against the quickset hedge, has done my business.

Hast. This is a riddle.

Tony. Alack, mamma, it was all your

Tony. Riddle me this then. What's own fault. You would be for running

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Mrs. Hard. O lud! O lud! The most notorious spot in all the country. We only want a robbery to make a complete night on't.


Mrs. Hard. (From behind.) Ah, death! I find there's danger.

Don't be

Tony. Don't be afraid, mamma, don't
be afraid. Two of the five that kept here
are hanged, and the other three may not
find us.
Don't be afraid.-Is that a man
that's galloping behind us? No; it's only
a tree. Don't be afraid.

Mrs. Hard. The fright will certainly
kill me.

Tony. Do you see anything like a black
hat moving behind the thicket?
Mrs. Hard. Oh, death!
Tony. No; it's only a cow.
afraid, mamma; don't be afraid.

Mrs. Hard. As I'm alive, Tony, I see
a man coming towards us. Ah! I'm sure
on't. If he perceives us, we are undone.
Tony. (Aside.) Father-in-law, by all
that's unlucky, come to take one of his
night walks. (To her.) Ah, it's a high-
wayman with pistols as long as my arm.
A damned ill-looking fellow.

any mercy.

Hard. My wife, as I'm a Christian.

Mrs. Hard. Good Heaven defend us! From whence can she come? or what does He approaches. she mean?

Tony. Do you hide yourself in that thicket, and leave me to manage him. If there be any danger, I'll cough, and cry hem When I cough, be sure to keep close. (MRS. HARDCASTLE hides behind a tree in the back scene.)


Hard. I'm mistaken, or I heard voices of people in want of help. Oh, Tony! is that you? I did not expect you so soon back. Are your mother and her charge in safety?

Tony. Very safe, sir, at my aunt Pedigree's. Hem.

Hard. Forty miles in three hours; sure that's too much, my youngster.

Tony. Stout horses and willing minds make short journeys, as they say. Hem. Mrs. Hard. (From behind.) Sure he'll do the dear boy no harm.

Hard. But I heard a voice here; I should be glad to know from whence it came.

Tony. It was I, sir, talking to myself, sir. I was saying that forty miles in four hours was very good going. Hem. As to be sure it was. Hem. I have got a sort of cold by being out in the air. We'll go in, if you please. Hem.

Hard. But if you talked to yourself you did not answer yourself. I'm certain I heard two voices, and am resolved (raising his voice) to find the other out.

Mrs. Hard. (From behind.) Oh! he's coming to find me out. Oh!

Tony. What need you go, sir, if I tell you? Hem. I'll lay down my life for the truth-hem-I'll tell you all, sir.

[Detaining him.

Hard. I tell you I will not be detained. I insist on seeing. It's in vain to expect I'll believe you. Mrs. Hard. (Running forward from behind.) O lud! he'll murder my poor boy, my darling! Here, good gentleman, whet your rage upon me. Take my money, my life, but spare that young gentleman; spare my child, if you have

Mrs. Hard. (Kneeling.) Take compassion on us, good Mr. Highwayman. Take our money, our watches, all we have, but spare our lives. We will never bring you to justice; indeed we won't, good Mr. Highwayman.

Hard. I believe the woman's out of her senses. What, Dorothy, don't you know me?

Mrs. Hard. Mr. Hardcastle, as I'm alive! My fears blinded me. But who, my dear, could have expected to meet you here, in this frightful place, so far from home? What has brought you to follow


SCENE changes.

Hard. Sure, Dorothy, you have not lost your wits? So far from home, when Enter SIR CHARLES and MISS HARDyou are within forty yards of your own door! (To him.) This is one of your old tricks, you graceless rogue, you. (To her.) Don't you know the gate, and the mulberry-tree; and don't you remember the horse-pond, my dear?


Mrs. Hard. Yes, I shall remember the horse-pond as long as I live; I have caught my death in it. (To TONY.) And is it to you, you graceless varlet, I owe all this? I'll teach you to abuse your mother,



Tony. Ecod, mother, all the parish says you have spoiled me, and so you may take the fruits on't.

Mrs. Hard. I'll spoil you, I will. [Follows him off the stage. Exit. Hard. There's morality, however, in his reply. [Exit. Enter HASTINGS and MISS NEVILLE.

Hast. My dear Constance, why will you deliberate thus? If we delay a moment, all is lost for ever. Pluck up a little resolution, and we shall soon be out of the reach of her malignity.

Miss Nev. I find it impossible. My spirits are so sunk with the agitations I have suffered, that I am unable to face any new danger. Two or three years' patience will at last crown us with happi


Hast. Such a tedious delay is worse than inconstancy. Let us fly, my charmer. Let us date our happiness from this very moment. Perish fortune! Love and content will increase what we possess beyond a monarch's revenue. Let me prevail!


Miss Nev. No, Mr. Hastings, no. Prudence once more comes to my relief, and I will obey its dictates. In the moment of passion fortune may be despised, but it ever produces a lasting repentance. I'm resolved to apply to Mr. Hardcastle's compassion and justice for redress.

Hast. But though he had the will, he has not the power to relieve you.


Miss Nev. But he has influence, upon that I am resolved to rely. Hast. I have no hopes. persist, I must reluctantly

But since you
obey you.


Sir Cha. What a situation am I in! If what you say appears, I shall then find a guilty son. If what he says be true, I shall then lose one that, of all others, I most wished for a daughter.

Miss Hard. I am proud of your approbation, and to show I merit it, if you place yourselves as I directed, you shall hear his explicit declaration. But he comes. Sir Cha. I'll to your father, and keep him to the appointment. [Exit Sir Charles. Enter MARLOW.

Mar. Though prepared for setting out, I come once more to take leave; nor did I, till this moment, know the pain I feel in the separation.

Miss Hard. (In her own natural manner.) I believe these sufferings cannot be very great, sir, which you can so easily remove. A day or two longer, perhaps, might lessen your uneasiness, by showing the little value of what you now think proper to regret.

Mar. (Aside.) This girl every moment improves upon me. (To her.) It must not be, madam. I have already trifled too long with my heart. My very pride begins to submit to my passion. The disparity of education and fortune, the anger of a parent, and the contempt of my equals, begin to lose their weight; and nothing can restore me to myself but this painful effort of resolution.

Miss Hard. Then go, sir: I'll urge nothing more to detain you. Though my family be as good as hers you came down to visit, and my education, I hope, no inferior, what are these advantages without equal affluence? I must remain contentel with the slight approbation of imputed merit; I must have only the mockery of your addresses, while all your serious ams are fixed on fortune.

Enter HARDCASTLE and SIR CHARLES from behind.

Sir Char. Here, behind this screen. Hard. Ay, ay; make no noise. I. engage my Kate covers him with confusi at last.

Mar. By heavens, madam! fortune was ever my smallest consideration. Your beauty at first caught my eye; for who could see that without emotion? But every moment that I converse with you steals in some new grace, heightens the picture, and gives it stronger expression. What at first seemed rustic plainness, now appears refined simplicity. What seemed forward assurance, now strikes me as the result of courageous innocence and conscious virtue.

Sir Cha. What can it mean? He

amazes me !

Hard. I told you how it would be. Hush!

Mar. I am now determined to stay, madam; and I have too good an opinion of my father's discernment, when he sees you, to doubt his approbation.


Miss Hard. No, Mr. Marlow, I will not, cannot detain you. Do you think I could suffer a connexion in which there is the smallest room for repentance? Do you think I would take the mean advantage of a transient passion, to load you with confusion? Do you think I could ever relish that happiness which was acquired by lessening yours?

Mar. By all that's good, I can have no happiness but what's in your power to grant me! Nor shall I ever feel repentance but in not having seen your merits before. I will stay even contrary to your wishes; and though you should persist to shun me, I will make my respectful assi duities atone for the levity of my past conduct.

Miss Hard. Sir, I must entreat you'll desist. As our acquaintance began, so let it end, in indifference. I might have given an hour or two to levity; but seriously, Mr. Marlow, do you think I could ever submit to a connexion where I must appear mercenary, and you imprudent? Do you think I could ever catch at the confident addresses of a secure admirer?

Sir Cha. I can hold it no longer. Charles, Charles, how hast thou deceived me ! Is this your indifference, your uninteresting conversation?

Hard. Your cold contempt; your formal interview! What have you to say now? Mar. That I'm all amazement! What can it mean?

Mar. (Kneeling.) Does this look like security? Does this look like confidence? No, madam, every moment that shows me your merit, only serves to increase my diffidence and confusion. Here let me continue

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Miss Hard. Yes, sir, that very identical tall squinting lady you were pleased to take me for (courtesying); she that you addressed as the mild, modest, sentimental man of gravity, and the bold, forward, agreeable Rattle of the Ladies' Club. Ha! ha! ha!

Mar. Zounds! there's no bearing this; it's worse than death!

Miss Hard. In which of your characters, sir, will you give us leave to address you? As the faltering gentleman, with looks on the ground, that speaks just to be heard, and hates hypocrisy; or the loud confident creature, that keeps it up with Mrs. Mantrap, and old Miss Biddy Buckskin, till three in the morning? Ha! ha! ha! Mar. O, curse on my noisy head. I never attempted to be impudent yet, that I was not taken down. I must be gone.

Hard. By the hand of my body, but you shall not. I see it was all a mistake, and I am rejoiced to find it. You shall not, sir, I tell you. I know she'll forgive you. Won't you forgive him, Kate? We'll all forgive you. Take courage, man. (They retire, she tormenting him, to the back scene.) Enter MRS. HARDCASTLE and TONY, Mrs. Hard. So, so, they're gone off. Let them go, I care not. Hard. Who gone?

Mrs. Hard. My dutiful niece and her gentleman, Mr. Hastings, from town. He who came down with our modest visitor here.

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Mrs. Hard. (Aside.) What, returned so soon! I begin not to like it.

Hast. (To HARDCASTLE.) For my late attempt to fly off with your niece let my present confusion be my punishment. We are now come back, to appeal from your justice to your humanity. By her father's consent, I first paid her my addresses, and our passions were first founded in duty.

Miss Nev. Since his death, I have been obliged to stoop to dissimulation to avoid oppression. In an hour of levity, I was ready to give up my fortune to secure my choice. But I am now recovered from the delusion, and hope from your tenderness what is denied me from a nearer connexion.

Mrs. Hard. Pshaw, pshaw ! this is all but the whining end of a modern novel.

Hard. Be it what it will, I'm glad they're come back to reclaim their due. Come hither, Tony, boy. Do you refuse this lady's hand whom I now offer you?

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Tony. Then you'll see the first use I'll make of my liberty. (Taking Miss NEVILLE'S hand.) Witness all men by these presents, that I, Anthony Lumpkin, Esquire, of BLANK place, refuse you, Constantia Neville, spinster, of no place at all, for my true and lawful wife. So Constance Neville may marry whom she pleases, and Tony Lumpkin is his own man again. Sir Cha. Q brave 'squire ! Hast. My worthy friend! Mrs. Hard. My undutiful offspring! Mar. Joy, my dear George! I give you joy sincerely. And could I prevail upon my little tyrant here to be less arbitrary, I should be the happiest man alive, if you would return me the favour.

Hast. (To MISS HARDCASTLE.) Come, madam, you are now driven to the very last scene of all your contrivances. I know you like him, I'm sure he loves you, and you must and shall have him.

Hard. (Joining their hands.) And I say so too. And, Mr. Marlow, if she makes as good a wife as she has a daughter, I don't believe you'll ever repent your bargain. So now to supper. To-morrow we shall gather all the poor of the parish about us, and the mistakes of the night shall be crowned with a merry morning. So, boy, take her; and as you have been mistaken in the mistress, my wish is, that you may never be mistaken in the wife. [Exeunt Omnes.


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