She stoops to conquer: or, the mistakes of a night. A comedy. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden. Written by Doctor Goldsmith.


She Stoops to Conquer: OR, The Miſtakes of a Night.

(Price One Shilling and Sixpence.)



LONDON: Printed for F. NEWBERY, in St. Paul's Church-Yard. MDCCLXXIII.



Dear Sir,

BY inſcribing this ſlight performance to you, I do not mean ſo much to compliment you as myſelf. It may do me ſome honour to inform the public, that I have lived many years in intimacy with you. It may ſerve the intereſts of mankind alſo to inform them, that the greateſt wit may be found in a character, without impairing the moſt unaffected piety.

I have, particularly, reaſon to thank you for your partiality to this performance. The undertaking a comedy, not merely ſentimental, was very dangerous; and Mr. Colman, who ſaw this piece in its various ſtages, always thought it ſo. However I ventured to truſt it to the public; and though it was neceſſarily delayed till late in the ſeaſon, I have every reaſon to be grateful.

I am, Dear Sir, Your moſt ſincere friend, And admirer, OLIVER GOLDSMITH.


Enter Mr. WOODWARD, Dreſſed in Black, and holding a Handkerchief to his Eyes.
EXCUSE me, Sirs, I pray—I can't yet ſpeak—
I'm crying now—and have been all the week!
'Tis not alone this mourning ſuit, good maſters;
I've that within—for which there are no plaiſters!
Pray wou'd you know the reaſon why I'm crying?
The Comic muſe, long ſick, is now a dying!
And if ſhe goes, my tears will never ſtop;
For as a play'r, I can't ſqueeze out one drop:
I am undone, that's all—ſhall loſe my bread—
I'd rather, but that's nothing—loſe my head.
When the ſweet maid is laid upon the bier,
Shuter and I ſhall be chief mourners here.
To her a mawkiſh [...] of ſpurious breed,
Who deals in ſ [...]t [...]tals will ſucceed!
Poor Ned and I are dead to all intents,
We can as ſoon ſpeak Greek as ſentiments!
Both nervous grown, to keep our ſpirits up,
We now and then take down a hearty cup.
What ſhall we do?—If Comedy forſake us!
They'll turn us out, and no one elſe will take us,
But why can't I be moral?—Let me try—
My heart thus preſſing—fix'd my face and eye—
With a ſententious look, that nothing means,
(Faces are blocks, in ſentimental ſcenes)
Thus I begin—All is not gold that glitters,
Pleaſure ſeems ſweet, but proves a glaſs of bitters.
When ign'rance enters, folly is at hand;
Learning is better far than houſe and land:
Let not your virtue trip, who trips may ſtumble,
And virtue is not virtue, if ſhe tumble.
I give it up—morals won't do for me;
To make you laugh I muſt play tragedy.
One hope remains—hearing the maid was ill,
A doctor comes this night to ſhew his ſkill.
To cheer her heart, and give your muſcles motion,
He in five draughts prepar'd, preſents a potion:
[Page] A kind of magic charm—for be aſſur'd,
If y [...] [...] ſwallow it, the maid is cur'd:
But d [...]p [...]te the Doctor, and her caſe is,
If you reject the d [...]ſe, and make wry faces!
This truth he boaſts, will beaſt it while he lives,
No pois'nous drugs are mix'd in what he gives;
Should he ſucceed, you'll give him his degree;
If not, within he will receive no fee!
The college you, muſt his pretenſions back,
Pronounce him regular, or dub him quack.


WELL, having ſtoop'd to conquer with ſucceſs,
And gain'd a huſband without aid from dreſs,
Still as a Bar-maid, I could wiſh it too,
As I have conquer'd him to conquer you:
And let me ſay, for all your reſolution,
That pretty Bar-maids have done execution.
Our life is all a play, compos'd to pleaſe,
"We have our exits and our entrances."
The firſt act ſhews the ſimple country maid,
Harmleſs and young, of ev'ry thing aſraid;
Bluſhes when hir'd, and with unmeaning action,
I hopes as how to give you ſatisfaction.
Her ſecond act diſplays a livelier ſcene,—
Th' unbluſhing Bar-maid of a country inn.
Who whiſks about the houſe, at market caters,
Talks loud, coquets the gueſts, and ſcolds the waiters.
Next the ſcene ſhifts to town, and there ſhe ſoars,
The chop houſe toaſt of ogling connoiſſieurs.
On 'Squires and Cits ſhe there diſplays her arts,
And on the gridiron broils her lover's hearts—
And as ſhe ſmiles, her triumphs to compleat,
Even Common Councilmen forget to eat.
The fourth act ſhews her wedded to the 'Squire,
And Madam now begins to hold it higher;
[Page] Pretends to taſte, at Operas cries caro,
And quits her Nancy Dawſon, for Che Faro.
Doats upon dancing, and in all her pride,
Swims round the room, the Heinel of Cheapſide:
Ogles and leers with artificial ſkill,
Till having loſt in age the power to kill,
She ſits all night at cards, and ogles at ſpadille.
Such, thro' our lives, the eventful hiſtory—
The fifth and laſt act ſtill remains for me.
The Bar-maid now for your protection prays,
Turns Female Barriſter, and leads for Bayes.



Young MARLOW (his Son)


Miſs Neville,

Landlord, Servants, &c. &c.

She Stoops to Conquer: OR, The Miſtakes of a Night.

1. ACT I.

SCENE, A CHAMBER in an old faſhioned HOUSE. Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE and Mr. HARDCASTLE.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I Vow, Mr. Hardcaſtle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country, but ourſelves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the ruſt a little? There's the two Miſs Hoggs, and our neighbour, Mrs. Grigſby, go to take a month's poliſhing every winter.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, and bring back vanity and affectation to laſt them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own fools at home. In my time, the follies of the town crept ſlowly among us, but now they travel faſter than a ſtage-coach. Its fopperies come down, not only as inſide paſſengers, but in the very baſket.
[Page 2] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Ay, your times were fine times, indeed; you have been telling us of them for many a long year. Here we live in an old rumbling manſion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never ſee company. Our beſt viſitors are old Mrs. Oddfiſh, the curate's wife, and little Cripplegate, the lame dancing-maſter: And all our entertainment your old ſtories of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marlborough. I hate ſuch old-faſhioned trumpery.
HARDCASTLE. And I love it. I love every thing that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and, I believe, Dorothy, (taking her hand) you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Lord, Mr. Hardcaſtle, you're for ever at your Dorothy's and your old wife's. You may be a Darby, but I'll be no Joan, I promiſe you. I'm not ſo old as you'd make me, by more than one good year. Add twenty to twenty, and make money of that.
HARDCASTLE. Let me ſee; twenty added to twenty, makes juſt fifty and ſeven.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. It's falſe, Mr. Hardcaſtle: I was but twenty when I was brought to bed of Tony, that I had by Mr. Lumpkin, my firſt huſband; and he's not come to years of diſcretion yet.
HARDCASTLE. Nor ever will, I dare anſwer for him. Ay, you have taught him finely.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. No matter, Tony Lumpkin has a good fortune. My ſon is not to live by his learning. I don't think a boy wants much learning to ſpend fifteen hundred a year.
[Page 3] HARDCASTLE. Learning, quotha! A mere compoſition of tricks and miſchief.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Humour, my dear: nothing but humour. Come, Mr. Hardcaſtle, you muſt allow the boy a little humour.
HARDCASTLE. I'd ſooner allow him an horſe-pond. If burning the footmens ſhoes, frighting the maids, and worrying the kittens, be humour, he has it. It was but yeſterday he faſtened my wig to the back of my chair, and when I went to make a bow, I popt my bald head in Mrs. Frizzle's face.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. And am I to blame? The poor boy was always too ſickly to do any good. A ſchool would be his death. When he comes to be a little ſtronger, who knows what a year or two's Latin may do for him?
HARDCASTLE. Latin for him! A cat and fiddle. No, no, the ale-houſe and the ſtable are the only ſchools he'll ever go to.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well, we muſt not ſnub the poor boy now, for I believe we ſhan't have him long among us. Any body that looks in his face may ſee he's conſumptive.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, if growing too fat be one of the ſymptoms.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. He coughs ſometimes.
HARDCASTLE. Yes, when his liquor goes the wrong way.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I'm actually afraid of his lungs.
HARDCASTLE. And truly ſo am I; for he ſometimes whoops like [Page 4] a ſpeaking trumpet— (Tony hallooing behind the Scenes)—O there he goes—A very conſumptive figure, truly.
Enter TONY, croſſing the Stage.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Tony, where are you going, my charmer? Won't you give papa and I a little of your company, lovee?
TONY. I'm in haſte, mother, I cannot ſtay.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. You ſhan't venture out this raw evening, my dear: You look moſt ſhockingly.
TONY. I can't ſtay, I tell you. The Three Pigeons expects me down every moment. There's ſome fun going forward.
HARDCASTLE. Ay; the ale-houſe, the old place: I thought ſo.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. A low, paltry ſet of fellows.
TONY. Not ſo low neither. There's Dick Muggins the exciſeman, Jack Slang the horſe doctor, Little Aminadab that grinds the muſic box, and Tom Twiſt that ſpins the pewter platter.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Pray, my dear, diſappoint them for one night at leaſt.
TONY. As for diſappointing them, I ſhould not ſo much mind; but I can't abide to diſappoint myſelf.
(Detaining him)
You ſhan't go.
TONY. I will, I tell you.
[Page 5] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I ſay you ſhan't.
TONY. We'll ſee which is ſtrongeſt, you or I.
[Exit. hawling her out.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, there goes a pair that only ſpoil each other, But is not the whole age in a combination to drive ſenſe and diſcretion out of doors? There's my pretty darling Kate; the faſhions of the times have almoſt infected her too. By living a year or two in town, ſhe is as fond of gauze, and French frippery, as the beſt of them.
HARDCASTLE. Bleſſings on my pretty innocence! Dreſt out as uſual my Kate. Goodneſs! What a quantity of ſuperfluous ſilk has thou got about thee, girl! I could never teach the fools of this age, that the indigent world could be cloathed out of the trimmings of the vain.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. You know our agreement, Sir. You allow me the morning to receive and pay viſits, and to dreſs in my own manner; and in the evening, I put on my houſewife's dreſs to pleaſe you.
HARDCASTLE. Well, remember I inſiſt on the terms of our agreement; and, by the bye, I believe I ſhall have occaſion to try your obedience this very evening.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I proteſt, Sir, I don't comprehend your meaning.
HARDCASTLE. Then, to be plain with you, Kate, I expect the [Page 6] young gentleman I have choſen to be your huſband from town this very day. I have his father's letter, in which he informs me his ſon is ſet out, and that he intends to follow himſelf ſhortly after.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Indeed! I wiſh I had known ſomething of this before. Bleſs me, how ſhall I behave? It's a thouſand to one I ſhan't like him; our meeting will be ſo formal, and ſo like a thing of buſineſs, that I ſhall find no room for friendſhip or eſteem.
HARDCASTLE. Depend upon it, child, I'll never controul your choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched upon, is the ſon of my old friend, Sir Charles Marlow, of whom you have heard me talk ſo often. The young gentleman has been bred a ſcholar, and is deſigned for an employment in the ſervice of his country. I am told he's a man of an excellent underſtanding.
HARDCASTLE. Very generous.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I believe I ſhall like him.
HARDCASTLE. Young and brave.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I'm ſure I ſhall like him.
HARDCASTLE. And very handſome.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. My dear Papa, ſay no more (kiſſing his hand) he's mine, I'll have him.
HARDCASTLE. And to crown all, Kate, he's one of the moſt baſhful and reſerved young fellows in all the world.
[Page 7] Miſs HARDCASTLE. Eh! you have frozen me to death again. That word reſerved, has undone all the reſt of his accompliſhments. A reſerved lover, it is ſaid, always makes a ſuſpicious huſband.
HARDCASTLE. On the contrary, modeſty ſeldom reſides in a breaſt that is not enriched with nobler virtues. It was the very feature in his character that firſt ſtruck me.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. He muſt have more ſtriking features to catch me, I promiſe you. However, if he be ſo young, ſo handſome, and ſo every thing, as you mention, I believe he'll do ſtill. I think I'll have him.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, Kate, but there is ſtill an obſtacle. Its more than an even wager, he may not have you.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. My dear Papa, why will you mortify one ſo?—Well, if he refuſes, inſtead of breaking my heart at his indifference, I'll only break my glaſs for its flattery. Set my cap to ſome newer faſhion, and look out for ſome leſs difficult admirer.
HARDCASTLE. Bravely reſolved! In the mean time I'll go prepare the ſervants for his reception; as we ſeldom ſee company they want as much training as a company of recruits, the firſt day's muſter.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Lud, this news of Papa's, puts me all in a ſlutter. Young, handſome; theſe he put laſt; but I put them foremoſt. Senſible, good-natured; I like all that. But then reſerved, and ſheepiſh, that's much againſt him. Yet can't he be cured of his timidity, by being taught to be proud of his wife? Yes, and can't I—But I vow I'm diſpoſing of the huſband, before I have ſecured the lover.
[Page] Enter Miſs NEVILLE.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I'm glad you're come, Neville, my dear. Tell me, Conſtance, how do I look this evening? Is there any thing whimſical about me? Is it one of my well looking days, child? Am I in face to day?
Miſs NEVILLE. Perfectly, my dear. Yet now I look again—bleſs me!—ſure no accident has happened among the canary birds or the gold fiſhes. Has your brother or the cat been meddling? Or has the laſt novel been too moving?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. No; nothing of all this. I have been threatened—I can ſcarce get it out—I have been threatened with a lover.
Miſs NEVILLE. And his name—
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Is Marlow.
Miſs NEVILLE. Indeed!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. The ſon of Sir Charles Marlow.
Miſs NEVILLE. As I live, the moſt intimate friend of Mr. Haſtings, my admirer. They are never aſunder. I believe you muſt have ſeen him when we lived in town.
Miſs NEVILLE. He's a very ſingular character, I aſſure you. Among women of reputation and virtue, he is the modeſteſt man alive; but his acquaintance give him a very different character among creatures of another ſtamp: you underſtand me.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. An odd character, indeed. I ſhall never be able [Page 9] to manage him. What ſhall I do? Pſhaw, think no more of him, but truſt to occurrences for ſucceſs. But how goes on your own affair my dear, has my mother been courting you for my brother Tony, as uſual?
Miſs NEVILLE. I have juſt come from one of our agreeable tête a-têtes. She has been ſaying a hundred tender things, and ſetting off her pretty monſter as the very pink of perfection.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And her partiality is ſuch, that ſhe actually thinks him ſo. A fortune like your's is no ſmall temptation. Beſides, as ſhe has the ſole management of it, I'm not ſurprized to ſee her unwilling to let it go out of the family.
Miſs NEVILLE. A fortune like mine, which chiefly conſiſts in jewels, is no ſuch mighty temptation. But at any rate if my dear Haſtings be but conſtant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at laſt. However, I let her ſuppoſe that I am in love with her ſon, and ſhe never once dreams that my affections are fixed upon another.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. My good brother holds out ſtoutly. I could almoſt love him for hating you ſo.
Miſs NEVILLE. It is a good natured creature at bottom, and I'm ſure would wiſh to ſee me married to any body but himſelf. But my aunt's bell rings for our afternoon's walk round the improvements. Allons. Courage is neceſſary as our affairs are critical.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Would it were bed time and all were well.
[Page 10]
SCENE, An Alehouſe Room. Several ſhabby fellows, with Punch and Tobacco. TONY at the head of t [...]e Table, a little higher than the reſt: A mallet in his hand.
OMNES. Hurrea, hurrea, hurrea, bravo.
Firſt FELLOW. Now, gentlemen, ſilence for a ſong. The 'Squire is going to knock himſelf down for a ſong.
OMNES. Ay, a ſong, a ſong.
TONY. Then I'll ſing you, gentlemen, a ſong I made upon this ale-houſe, the Three Pigeons.
Let ſchool-maſters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonſenſe, and learning;
Good liquor, I ſtoutly maintain,
Gives genus a better diſcerning.
Let them brag of their Heatheniſh Gods,
Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians;
Their Quis, and their Quaes, and their Quods,
They're all but a parcel of Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
When Methodiſt preachers come down,
A preaching that drinking is ſinful,
I'll wager the raſcals a crown,
They always preach beſt with a ſkinful.
But when you come down with your pence,
For a ſlice of their ſcurvy religion,
I'll leave it to all men of ſenſe,
But you my good friend are the pigeon.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
Then come, put the jorum about,
And let us be merry and dever,
Our hearts and our liquors are ſtout,
Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons for ever.
[Page 11] Let ſome cry up woodcock or hare,
Your buſtards, your ducks, and your widgeons;
But of all the birds in the air,
Here's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
OMNES. Bravo, bravo.
Firſt FELLOW. The 'Squire has got ſpunk in him.
Second FELLOW: I loves to hear him ſing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low.
Third FELLOW. O damn any thing that's low, I cannot bear it.
Fourth FELLOW. The genteel thing is the genteel thing at any time. If ſo be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
Third FELLOW. I like the maxum of it, Maſter Muggins. What, tho' I am obligated to dance a bear, a man may be a gentleman for all that. May this be my poiſon if my bear ever dances but to the very genteeleſt of tunes. Water Parted, or the minuet in Ariadne.
Second FELLOW. What a pity it is the 'Squire is not come to his own. It would be well for all the publicans within ten miles round of him.
TONY. Ecod and ſo it would Maſter Slang. I'd then ſhew what it was to keep choice of company.
Second FELLOW. O he takes after his own father for that. To be ſure old 'Squire Lumpkin was the fineſt gentleman I ever ſet my eyes on. For winding the ſtreight horn, or beating a thicket for a hare, or a wench he never had his fellow. It was a ſaying in [Page 12] the place, that he kept the beſt horſes, dogs and girls in the whole county.
TONY. Ecod, and when I'm of age I'll be no baſtard I promiſe you. I have been thinking of Bett Bouncer and the miller's grey mare to begin with. But come, my boys, drink about and be merry, for you pay no reckoning. Well Stingo, what's the matter?
LANDLORD. There be two gentlemen in a poſt-chaiſe at the door. They have loſt their way upo' the foreſt; and they are talking ſomething about Mr. Hardcaſtle.
TONY. As ſure as can be one of them muſt be the gentleman that's coming down to court my ſiſter. Do they ſeem to be Londoners?
LANDLORD. I believe they may. They look woundily like Frenchmen.
TONY. Then deſire them to ſtep this way, and I'll ſet them right in a twinkling. (Exit Landlord.) Gentlemen, as they mayn't be good enough company for you, ſtep down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the ſqueezing of a lemon.
[Exeunt Mob.
TONY ſolus.
TONY. Father-in-law has been calling me whelp, and hound, this half year. Now if I pleaſed, I could be ſo revenged upon the old grumbletonian. But then I'm afraid—afraid of what! I ſhall ſoon be worth fifteen hundred a year, and let him frighten me out of that if he can.
Enter LANDLORD, conducting Marlow and Haſtings.
MARLOW. What a tedious uncomfortable day have we had of [Page 13] it! We were told it was but forty miles acroſs the country, and we have come above threeſcore.
HASTINGS. And all Marlow, from that unaccountable reſerve of yours, that would not let us enquire more frequently on the way.
MARLOW. I own, Haſtings, I am unwilling to lay myſelf under an obligation to every one I meet; and often, ſtand the chance of an unmannerly anſwer.
HASTINGS. At preſent, however, we are not likely to receive any anſwer.
TONY. No offence, gentlemen. But I'm told you have been enquiring for one Mr. Hardcaſtle, in thoſe parts. Do you know what part of the country you are in?
HASTINGS. Not in the leaſt Sir, but ſhould thank you for information.
TONY. Nor the way you came?
HASTINGS. No, Sir; but if you can inform us—
TONY. Why, gentlemen, if you know neither the road you are going, nor where you are, nor the road you came, the firſt thing I have to inform you is, that—You have loſt your way.
MARLOW. We wanted no ghoſt to tell us that.
TONY. Pray, gentlemen, may I be ſo bold as to aſk the place from whence you came?
MARLOW. That's not neceſſary towards directing us where we are to go.
TONY. No offence; but queſtion for queſtion is all fair, [Page 14] you know. Pray, gentlemen, is not this ſame Hardcaſtle a croſs-grain'd, old-faſhion'd, whimſical fellow, with an ugly face; a daughter, and a pretty ſon?
HASTINGS. We have not ſeen the gentleman, but he has the family you mention.
TONY. The daughter, a tall trapeſing, trolloping, talkative maypole—The ſon, a pretty, well-bred, agreeable youth, that every body is fond of.
MARLOW. Our information differs in this. The daughter is ſaid to be well-bred and beautiful; the ſon, an aukward booby, reared up, and ſpoiled at his mother's apron-ſtring.
TONY. He-he-hem—Then, gentlemen, all I have to tell you is, that you won't reach Mr. Hardcaſtle's houſe this night, I believe.
HASTINGS. Unfortunate!
TONY. It's a damn'd long, dark, boggy, dirty, dangerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the way to Mr. Hardcaſtle's; (winking upon the Landlord) Mr. Hardcaſtle's, of Quagmire Marſh, you underſtand me.
LANDLORD. Maſter Hardcaſtle's! Lock-a-daiſy, my maſters, you're come a deadly deal wrong! When you came to the bottom of the hill, you ſhould have croſs'd down Squaſh-lane.
MARLOW. Croſs down Squaſh-lane!
LANDLORD. Then you were to keep ſtreight forward, 'till you came to four roads.
MARLOW. Come to where four roads meet!
[Page 15] TONY. Ay; but you muſt be ſure to take only one of them.
MARLOW. O Sir, you're facetious.
TONY. Then keeping to the right, you are to go ſide-ways till you come upon Crack-ſkull common: there you muſt look ſharp for the track of the wheel, and go forward, 'till you come to farmer Murrain's barn. Coming to the farmer's barn, you are to turn to the right, and then to the left, and then to the right about again, till you find out the old mill—
MARLOW. Zounds, man! we could as ſoon find out the longitude!
HASTINGS. What's to be done, Marlow?
MARLOW. This houſe promiſes but a poor reception; though perhaps the Landlord can accommodate us.
LANDLORD. Alack, maſter, we have but one ſpare bed in the whole houſe.
TONY. And to my knowledge, that's taken up by three lodgers already. (after a pauſe, in which the reſt ſeem diſconcerted) I have hit it. Don't you think, Stingo, our landlady could accommodate the gentlemen by the fire-ſide, with—three chairs and a bolſter?
HASTINGS. I hate ſleeping by the fire-ſide.
MARLOW. And I deteſt your three chairs and a bolſter.
TONY. You do, do you?—then let me ſee—what—if you go on a mile further, to the Buck's Head; the old Buck's Head on the hill, one of the beſt inns in the whole county?
[Page 16] HASTINGS. O ho! ſo we have eſcaped an adventure for this night, however.
(Apart to Tony)
Sure, you ben't ſending them to your father's as an inn, be you?
TONY. Mum, you fool you. Let them find that out. (to them) You have only to keep on ſtreight forward, till you come to a large old houſe by the road ſide. You'll ſee a pair of large horns over the door. That's the ſign. Drive up the yard, and call ſtoutly about you.
HASTINGS. Sir, we are obliged to you. The ſervants can't miſs the way?
TONY. No, no: But I tell you though, the landlord is rich, and going to leave off buſineſs; ſo he wants to be thought a Gentleman, ſaving your preſence, he! he! he! He'll be for giving you his company, and ecod if you mind him, he'll perſuade you that his mother was an alderman, and his aunt a juſtice of peace.
LANDLORD. A troubleſome old blade to be ſure; but a keeps as good wines and beds as any in the whole country.
MARLOW. Well, if he ſupplies us with theſe, we ſhall want no further connexion. We are to turn to the right, did you ſay?
TONY. No, no; ſtreight forward. I'll juſt ſtep myſelf, and ſhew you a piece of the way. (to the landlord) Mum.
LANDLORD. Ah, bleſs your heart, for a ſweet, pleaſant—damn'd miſchievous ſon of a whore.

2. ACT II.

[Page 17]
SCENE, An old-faſhioned HOUSE.
Enter HARDCASTLE, followed by three or four aukward Servants.
HARDCASTLE. WELL, I hope you're perfect in the table exerciſe I have been teaching you theſe three days. You all know your poſts and your places, and can ſhew that you have been uſed to good company, without ever ſtirring from home.
OMNES. Ay, ay,
HARDCASTLE. When company comes, you are not to pop out and ſtare, and then run in again, like frighted rabbits in a warren.
OMNES. No, no.
HARDCASTLE. You, Diggory, whom I have taken from the barn, are to make a ſhew at the ſide-table; and you, Roger, whom I have advanced from the plough, are to place yourſelf behind my chair. But you're not to ſtand ſo, with your hands in your pockets. Take your hands from your pockets, Roger; and from your head, you blockhead you. See how Diggory carries his hands. They're a little too ſtiff, indeed, but that's no great matter.
DIGGORY. Ay, mind how I hold them. I learned to hold my hands this way, when I was upon drill for the militia. And ſo being upon drill—
HARDCASTLE. You muſt not be ſo talkative, Diggory. You muſt be all attention to the gueſts. You muſt hear us talk, [Page 18] and not think of talking; you muſt ſee us drink, and not think of drinking; you muſt ſee us eat, and not think of eating.
DIGGORY. By the laws, your worſhip, that's parfectly unpoſſible. Whenever Diggory ſees yeating going forward, ecod he's always wiſhing for a mouthful himſelf.
HARDCASTLE. Blockhead! Is not a belly-full in the kitchen as good as a belly-full in the parlour? Stay your ſtomach with that reflection.
DIGGORY. Ecod I thank your worſhip, I'll make a ſhift to ſtay my ſtomach with a ſlice of cold beef in the pantry.
HARDCASTLE. Diggory, you are too talkative. Then if I happen to ſay a good thing, or tell a good ſtory at table, you muſt not all burſt out a-laughing, as if you made part of the company.
DIGGORY. Then ecod your worſhip muſt not tell the ſtory of Ould Grouſe in the gun-room: I can't help laughing at that—he! he! he!—for the ſoul of me. We have laughed at that theſe twenty years—ha! ha! ha!
HARDCASTLE. Ha! ha! ha! The ſtory is a good one. Well, honeſt Diggory, you may laugh at that—but ſtill remember to be attentive. Suppoſe one of the company ſhould call for a glaſs of wine, how will you behave? A glaſs of wine, Sir, if you pleaſe (to Diggory)—Eh, why don't you move?
DIGGORY. Ecod, your worſhip, I never have courage till I ſee the eatables and drinkables brought upo' the table, and then I'm as bauld as a lion.
HARDCASTLE. What, will no body move?
FIRST SERVANT. I'm not to leave this pleace.
[Page 19] SECOND SERVANT. I'm ſure it's no pleace of mine.
THIRD SERVANT. Nor mine, for ſartain.
DIGGORY. Wauns, and I'm ſure it canna be mine.
HARDCASTLE. You numbſkulls! and ſo while, like your betters, you are quarrelling for places, the gueſts muſt be ſtarved. O you dunces! I find I muſt begin all over again.—But don't I hear a coach drive into the yard? To your poſts, you blockheads. I'll go in the mean time and give my old friend's ſon a hearty reception at the gate.
[Exit Hardcaſtle.
DIGGORY. By the elevens, my pleace is gone quite out of my head.
ROGER. I know that my pleace is to be every where.
FIRST SERVANT. Where the devil is mine?
SECOND SERVANT. My pleace is to be no where at all; and ſo Ize go about my buſineſs.
[Exeunt Servants, running about as if frighted, different ways.
Enter SERVANT with Candles, ſhewing in MARLOW and HASTINGS.
SERVANT. Welcome, gentlemen, very welcome. This way.
HASTINGS. After the diſappointments of the day, welcome once more, Charles, to the comforts of a clean room and a good fire. Upon my word, a very well-looking houſe; antique, but creditable.
MARLOW. The uſual fate of a large manſion. Having firſt ruined the maſter by good houſekeeping, it at laſt comes to levy contributions as an inn.
[Page 20] HASTINGS. As you ſay, we paſſengers are to be taxed to pay all theſe fineries. I have often ſeen a good ſideboard, or a marble chimney-piece, tho' not actually put in the bill, enflame a reckoning confoundedly.
MARLOW. Travellers, George, muſt pay in all places. The only difference is, that in good inns, you pay dearly for luxuries; in bad inns, you are fleeced and ſtarved.
HASTINGS. You have lived pretty much among them. In truth, I have been often ſurprized, that you who have ſeen ſo much of the world, with your natural good ſenſe, and your many opportunities, could never yet acquire a requiſite ſhare of aſſurance.
MARLOW. The Engliſhman's malady. But tell me, George, where could I have learned that aſſurance you talk of? My life has been chiefly ſpent in a college, or an inn, in ſecluſion from that lovely part of the creation that chiefly teach men confidence. I don't know that I was ever familiarly acquainted with a ſingle modeſt woman—except my mother—But among females of another claſs you know—
HASTINGS. Ay, among them you are impudent enough of all conſcience.
MARLOW. They are of us you know.
HASTINGS. But in the company of women of reputation I never ſaw ſuch an ideot, ſuch a trembler; you look for all the world as if you wanted an opportunity of ſtealing out of the room.
MARLOW. Why man that's becauſe I do want to ſteal out of the room. Faith, I have often formed [Page 21] a reſolution to break the ice, and rattle away at any rate. But I don't know how, a ſingle glance from a pair of fine eyes has totally overſet my reſolution. An impudent fellow may counterfeit modeſty, but I'll be hanged if a modeſt man can ever counterfeit impudence.
HASTINGS. If you could but ſay half the fine things to them that I have heard you laviſh upon the bar-maid of an inn, or even a college bed maker—
MARLOW. Why, George, I can't ſay fine things to them, They freeze, they petrify me. They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or ſome ſuch bagatelle. But to me, a modeſt woman, dreſt out in all her finery, is the moſt tremendous object of the whole creation.
HASTINGS. Ha! ha! ha! At this rate, man, how can you ever expect to marry!
MARLOW. Never, unleſs as among kings and princes, my bride were to be courted by proxy. If, indeed, like an Eaſtern bridegroom, one were to be introduced to a wife he never ſaw before, it might be endured. But to go through all the terrors of a formal courtſhip, together with the epiſode of aunts, grandmothers and couſins, and at laſt to blurt out the broad ſtaring queſtion, of, madam will you marry me? No, no, that's ſtrain much above me I aſſure you.
HASTINGS. I pity you. But how do you intend behaving to the lady you are come down to viſit at the requeſt of your father?
MARLOW. As I behave to all other ladies. Bow very low. Anſwer yes, or no, to all her demands—But for [Page 22] the reſt, I don't think I ſhall venture to look in her face, till I ſee my father's again.
HASTINGS. I'm ſurprized that one who is ſo warm a friend can be ſo cool a lover.
MARLOW. To be explicit, my dear Haſtings, my chief inducement down was to be inſtrumental in forwarding your happineſs, not my own. Miſs Neville loves you, the family don't know you, as my friend you are ſure of a reception, and let honour do the reſt.
HASTINGS. My dear Marlow! But I'll ſuppreſs the emotion. Were I a wretch, meanly ſeeking to carry off a fortune, you ſhould be the laſt man in the world I would apply to for aſſiſtance. But Miſs Neville's perſon is all I aſk, and that is mine, both from her deceaſed father's conſent, and her own inclination.
MARLOW. Happy man! You have talents and art to captivate any woman. I'm doom'd to adore the ſex, and yet to converſe with the only part of it I deſpiſe. This ſtammer in my addreſs, and this aukward prepoſſeſſing viſage of mine, can never permit me to ſoar above the reach of a milliner's 'prentice, or one of the dutcheſſes of Drury-lane. Pſhaw! this fellow here to interrupt us.
HARDCASTLE. Gentlemen, once more you are heartily welcome. Which is Mr. Marlow? Sir, you're heartily welcome. It's not my way, you ſee, to receive my friends with my back to the fire. I like to give them a hearty reception in the old ſtile at my gate. I like to ſee their horſes and trunks taken care of.
He has got our names from the ſervants already. [Page 23] (To Him) We approve your caution and hoſpitality, Sir. (To Haſtings) I have been thinking, George, of changing our travelling dreſſes in the morning. I am grown confoundedly aſhamed of mine.
HARDCASTLE. I beg, Mr. Marlow, you'll uſe no ceremony in this houſe.
HASTINGS. I fancy, George, you're right: the firſt blow is half the battle. I intend opening the campaign with the white and gold.
Mr. HARDCASTLE. Mr. Marlow—Mr. Haſtings—gentlemen—pray be under no conſtraint in this houſe. This is Liberty-hall, gentlemen. You may do juſt as you pleaſe here.
MARLOW. Yet, George, if we open the campaign too fiercely at firſt, we may want ammunition before it is over. I think to reſerve the embroidery to ſecure a retreat.
HARDCASTLE. Your talking of a retreat, Mr. Marlow, puts me in mind of the Duke of Marlborough, when we went to beſiege Denain. He firſt ſummoned the garriſon.
MARLOW. Don't you think the ventre dor waiſtcoat will do with the plain brown?
HARDCASTLE. He firſt ſummoned the garriſon, which might conſiſt of about five thouſand men—
HASTINGS. I think not: Brown and yellow mix but very poorly.
HARDCASTLE. I ſay, gentlemen, as I was telling you, he ſummoned the garriſon, which might conſiſt of about five thouſand men—
MARLOW. The girls like finery.
[Page 24] HARDCASTLE. Which might conſiſt of about five thouſand men, well appointed with ſtores, ammunition, and other implements of war. Now, ſays the Duke of Marlborough, to George Brooks, that ſtood next to him—You muſt have heard of George Brooks; I'll pawn my Dukedom, ſays he, but I take that garriſon without ſpilling a drop of blood. So—
MARLOW. What, my good friend, if you gave us a glaſs of punch in the mean time, it would help us to carry on the ſiege with vigour.
HARDCASTLE. Punch, Sir! (aſide) This is the moſt unaccountable kind of modeſty I ever met with.
MARLOW. Yes, Sir, Punch. A glaſs of warm punch, after our journey, will be comfortable. This is Liberty-Hall, you know.
HARDCASTLE. Here's Cup, Sir.
So this fellow, in his Liberty-hall, will only let us have juſt what he pleaſes.
(Taking the Cup)
I hope you'll find it to your mind. I have prepared it with my own hands, and I believe you'll own the ingredients are tolerable. Will you, be ſo good as to pledge me, Sir? Here, Mr. Marlow, here is to our better acquaintance.
A very impudent fellow this! but he's a character, and I'll humour him a little. Sir, my ſervice to you.
I ſee this fellow wants to give us his company, and forgets that he's an innkeeper, before he has learned to be a gentleman.
[Page 25] MARLOW. From the excellence of your cup, my old friend, I ſuppoſe you have a good deal of buſineſs in this part of the country. Warm work, now and then, at elections, I ſuppoſe.
HARDCASTLE. No, Sir, I have long given that work over. Since our betters have hit upon the expedient of electing each other, there's no buſineſs for us that ſell ale.
HASTINGS. So, then you have no turn for politics I find.
HARDCASTLE. Not in the leaſt. There was a time, indeed, I fretted myſelf about the miſtakes of government, like other people; but finding myſelf every day grow more angry, and the government growing no better, I left it to mend itſelf. Since that, I no more trouble my head about Heyder Ally, or Ally Cawn, than about Ally Croaker. Sir, my ſervice to you.
HASTINGS. So that with eating above ſtairs, and drinking below, with receiving your friends within, and amuſing them without, you lead a good pleaſant buſtling life of it.
HARDCASTLE. I do ſtir about a great deal, that's certain. Half the differences of the pariſh are adjuſted in this very parlour.
(After drinking)
And you have an argument in your cup, old gentleman, better than any in Weſtminſter-hall.
HARDCASTE. Ay, young gentleman, that, and a little philoſophy.
Well, this is the firſt time I ever heard of an innkeeper's philoſophy.
[Page 26] HASTINGS. So then, like an experienced general, you attack them on every quarter. If you find their reaſon manageable, you attack it with your philoſophy; if you find they have no reaſon, you attack them with this. Here's your health, my philoſopher.
HARDCASTLE. Good, very good, thank you; ha, ha. Your Generalſhip puts me in mind of Prince Eugene, when he fought the Turks at the battle of Belgrade. You ſhall hear.
MARLOW. Inſtead of the battle of Belgrade. I believe it's almoſt time to talk about ſupper. What has your philoſophy got in the houſe for fupper?
HARDCASTLE. For Supper, Sir! (aſide) Was ever ſuch a requeſt to a man in his own houſe!
MARLOW. Yes, Sir, ſupper Sir; I begin to feel an appetite. I ſhall make deviliſh work to-night in the larder, I promiſe you.
Such a brazen dog ſure never my eyes beheld. (to him) Why really, Sir, as for ſupper I can't well tell. My Dorothy, and the cook maid, ſettle theſe things between them. I leave theſe kind of things entirely to them.
MARLOW. You do, do you?
HARDCASTLE. Entirely. By-the-bye, I believe they are in actual conſultation upon what's for ſupper this moment in the kitchen.
MARLOW. Then I beg they'll admit me as one of their privy [Page 27] council. It's a way I have got. When I travel, I always chuſe to regulate my own ſupper. Let the cook be called. No offence I hope, Sir.
HARDCASTLE. O no, Sir, none in the leaſt; yet I don't know how: our Bridget, the cook maid, is not very communicative upon theſe occaſions. Should we ſend for her, ſhe might ſcold us all out of the houſe.
HASTINGS. Let's ſee your liſt of the larder then. I aſk it as a favour. I always match my appetite to my bill of fare.
(To Hardcaſtle, who looks at them with ſurprize)
Sir, he's very right, and it's my way too.
HARDCASTLE. Sir, you have a right to command here. Here, Roger, bring us the bill of fare for to night's ſupper. I believe it's drawn out. Your manner, Mr. Haſtings, puts me in mind of my uncle, Colonel Wallop. It was a ſaying of his, that no man was ſure of his ſupper till he had eaten it.
All upon the high ropes! His uncle a Colonel! We ſhall ſoon hear of his mother being a juſtice of peace. But let's hear the bill of fare.
What's here? For the firſt courſe; for the ſecond courſe; for the deſert. The devil, Sir, do you think we have brought down the whole Joiners Company, or the Corporation of Bedford, to eat up ſuch a ſupper? Two or three little things, clean and comfortable, will do.
HASTINGS. But, let's hear it.
[Page 28] MARLOW.
For the firſt courſe at the top, a pig, and pruin ſauce.
HASTINGS. Damn your pig, I ſay.
MARLOW. And damn your pruin ſauce, ſay I.
HARDCASTLE. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry, pig, with pruin ſauce, is very good eating.
MARLOW. At the bottom, a calve's tongue and brains.
HASTINGS. Let your brains be knock'd out, my good Sir; I don't like them.
MARLOW. Or you may clap them on a plate by themſelves. I do.
Their impudence confounds me. (to them) Gentlemen, you are my gueſts, make what alterations you pleaſe. Is there any thing elſe you wiſh to retrench or alter, gentlemen?
MARLOW. Item. A pork pie, a boiled rabbet and ſaufages, a florentine, a ſhaking pudding, and a diſh of tiff—taff—taffety cream!
HASTINGS. Confound your made diſhes, I ſhall be as much at a loſs in this houſe as at a green and yellow dinner at the French ambaſſador's table. I'm for plain eating.
HARDCASTLE. I'm ſorry, gentlemen, that I have nothing you like, but if there be any thing you have a particular fancy to—
[Page 29] MARLOW. Why, really, Sir, your bill of fare is ſo exquiſite, that any one part of it is full as good as another. Send us what you pleaſe. So much for ſupper. And now to ſee that our beds are air'd, and properly taken care of.
HARDCASTLE. I entreat you'll leave all that to me. You ſhall not ſtir a ſtep.
MARLOW. Leave that to you! I proteſt, Sir, you muſt excuſe me, I always look to theſe things myſelf.
HARDCASTLE. I muſt inſiſt, Sir, you'll make yourſelf eaſy on that head.
MARLOW. You ſee I'm reſolved on it. (aſide) A very troubleſome fellow this, as ever I met with.
HARDCASTLE. Well, Sir, I'm reſolved at leaſt to attend you. (aſide) This may be modern modeſty, but I never ſaw any thing look ſo like old-faſhioned impudence.
[Exeunt Marlow and Hardcaſtle.
HASTINGS. So I find this fellow's civilities begin to grow troubleſome. But who can be angry at thoſe aſſiduities which are meant to pleaſe him? Ha! what do I ſee? Miſs Neville, by all that's happy!
[Page 30] Enter Miſs NEVILLE.
Miſs NEVILLE. My dear Haſtings! To what unexpected good fortune? to what accident am I to aſcribe this happy meeting?
HASTINGS. Rather let me aſk the ſame queſtion, as I could never have hoped to meet my deareſt Conſtance at an inn.
Miſs NEVILLE. An inn! ſure you miſtake! my aunt, my guardian, lives here. What could induce you to think this houſe an inn?
HASTINGS. My friend Mr. Marlow, with whom I came down, and I, have been ſent here as to an inn, I aſſure you. A young fellow whom we accidentally met at a houſe hard by directed us hither.
Miſs NEVILLE. Certainly it muſt be one of my hopeful couſin's tricks, of whom you have heard me talk ſo often, ha! ha! ha! ha!
HASTINGS. He whom your aunt intends for you? He of whom I have ſuch juſt apprehenſions?
Miſs NEVILLE. You have nothing to fear from him, I aſſure you. You'd adore him if you knew how heartily he deſpiſes me. My aunt knows it too, and has undertaken to court me for him, and actually begins to think ſhe has made a conqueſt.
[Page 31] HASTINGS. Thou dear diſſembler! You muſt know, my Conſtance, I have juſt ſeized this happy opportunity of my friend's viſit here to get admittance into the family. The horſes that carried us down are now fatigued with their journey, but they'll ſoon be refreſhed; and then if my deareſt girl will truſt in her faithful Haſtings, we ſhall ſoon be landed in France, where even among ſlaves the laws of marriage are reſpected.
Miſs NEVILLE. I have often told you, that though ready to obey you, I yet ſhould leave my little fortune behind with reluctance. The greateſt part of it was left me by my uncle, the India Director, and chiefly conſiſts in jewels. I have been for ſome time perſuading my aunt to let me wear them. I fancy I'm very near ſucceeding. The inſtant they are put into my poſſeſſion you ſhall find me ready to make them and myſelf yours.
HASTINGS. Periſh the baubles! Your perſon is all I deſire. In the meantime, my friend Marlow muſt not be let into his miſtake. I know the ſtrange reſerve of his temper is ſuch, that if abruptly informed of it, he would inſtantly quit the houſe before our plan was ripe for execution.
Miſs NEVILLE. But how ſhall we keep him in the deception? Miſs Hardcaſtle is juſt returned from walking; what if we ſtill continue to deceive him?—This, this way—
[They confer.]
[Page 32] Enter MARLOW.
MARLOW. The aſſiduities of theſe good people teize me beyond bearing. My hoſt ſeems to think it ill manners to leave me alone, and ſo he claps not only himſelf but his old-faſhioned wife on my back. They talk of coming to ſup with us too; and then, I ſuppoſe, we are to run the gauntlet thro' all the reſt of the family.—What have we got here!—
HASTINGS. My dear Charles! Let me congratulate you!—The moſt fortunate accident!—Who do you think is juſt alighted?
MARLOW. Cannot gueſs.
HASTINGS. Our miſtreſſes boy, Miſs Hardcaſtle and Miſs Neville. Give me leave to introduce Miſs Conſtance Neville to your acquaintance. Happening to dine in the neighbourhood, they called, on their return to take freſh horſes, here. Miſs Hardcaſtle has juſt ſtept into the next room, and will be back in an inſtant. Wasn't it lucky? eh!
I have juſt been mortified enough of all conſcience, and here comes ſomething to complete my embarraſſment.
HASTINGS. Well! but wasn't it the moſt fortunate thing in the world?
MARLOW. Oh! yes. Very fortunate—a moſt joyful encounter—But our dreſſes, George, you know, [Page 33] are in diſorder—What if we ſhould poſtpone the happineſs 'till to-morrow?—To-morrow at her own houſe—It will be every bit as convenient—And rather more reſpectful—To-morrow let it be.
[offering to go.
Miſs NEVILLE. By no means, Sir. Your ceremony will diſpleaſe her. The diſorder of your dreſs will ſhew the ardour of your impatience. Beſides, ſhe knows you are in the houſe, and will permit you to ſee her.
MARLOW. O! the devil! how ſhall I ſupport it? Hem! hem! Haſtings, you muſt not go. You are to aſſiſt me, you know. I ſhall be confoundedly ridiculous. Yet, hang it! I'll take courage. Hem!
HASTINGS. Pſhaw man! it's but the firſt plunge, and all's over. She's but a woman, you know.
MARLOW. And of all women, ſhe that I dread moſt to encounter! Enter Miſs HARDCASTLE as returned from walking, a Bonnet, &c.
(introducing them.)
Miſs Hardcaſtle, Mr. Marlow, I'm proud of bringing two perſons of ſuch merit together, that only want to know, to eſteem each other.
Now, for meeting my modeſt gentleman with a demure face, and quite in his own manner. (After a pauſe, in which he appears very uneaſy and diſconcerted.) I'm glad of your ſafe arrival, Sir—I'm told you had ſome accidents by the way.
[Page 34] MARLOW. Only a few madam. Yes, we had ſome. Yes, Madam, a good many accidents, but ſhould be ſorry—Madam—or rather glad of any accidents—that are ſo agreeably concluded. Hem!
(To him.)
You never ſpoke better in your whole life. Keep it up, and I'll inſure you the victory.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I'm afraid you flatter, Sir. You that have ſeen ſo much of the fineſt company can find little entertainment in an obſcure corner of the country.
(Gathering courage.)
I have lived, indeed, in the world, Madam; but I have kept very little company. I have been but an obſerver upon life, Madam, while others were enjoying it.
Miſs NEVILLE. But that, I am told, is the way to enjoy it at laſt.
(To him.)
Cicero never ſpoke better. Once more, and you are confirm'd in aſſurance for ever.
(To him.)
Hem! Stand by me then, and when I'm down, throw in a word or two to ſet me up again.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. An obſerver, like you, upon life, were, I fear, diſagreeably employed, ſince you muſt have had much more to cenſure than to approve.
MARLOW. Pardon me, Madam. I was always willing to be amuſed. The folly of moſt people is rather an object of mirth than uneaſineſs.
[Page 35] HASTINGS.
(To him.)
Bravo, Bravo. Never ſpoke ſo well in your whole life. Well! Miſs Hardcaſtle, I ſee that you and Mr. Marlow are going to be very good company. I believe our being here will but embarraſs the interview.
MARLOW. Not in the leaſt, Mr. Haſtings. We like your company of all things. (To him.) Zounds! George, ſure you won't go? How can you leave us?
HASTINGS. Our preſence will but ſpoil converſation, ſo we'll retire to the next room. (To him) You don't conſider, man, that we are to manage a little tête-à-tête of our own.
(After a pauſe)
But you have not been wholly an obſerver, I preſume, Sir: The ladies I ſhould hope have employed ſome part of your addreſſes.
(Relapſing into timidity)
Pardon me, Madam, I—I—I—as yet have ſtudied—only—to—deſerve them.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And that ſome ſay is the very worſt way to obtain them.
MARLOW. Perhaps ſo, madam. But I love to converſe only with the more grave and ſenſible part of the ſex.—But I'm afraid I grow tireſome.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Not at all, Sir; there is nothing I like ſo much as grave converſation myſelf; I could hear it for ever. Indeed I have often been ſurprized how a [Page 36] man of ſentiment could ever admire thoſe light airy pleaſures, where nothing reaches the heart.
MARLOW. It's—a diſeaſe—of the mind, madam. In the variety of taſtes there muſt be ſome who wanting a reliſh—for—um—a—um.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I underſtand you, Sir. There muſt be ſome, who wanting a reliſh for refined pleaſures, pretend to deſpiſe what they are incapable of taſting.
MARLOW. My meaning, madam, but infinitely better expreſſed. And I can't help obſerving—a—
Who could ever ſuppoſe this fellow impudent upon ſome occaſions. (To him) You were going to obſerve, Sir—
MARLOW. I was obſerving, madam—I proteſt, madam, I forget what I was going to obſerve.
I vow and ſo do I. (To him) You were obſerving, Sir, that in this age of hypocriſy ſomething about hypocriſy, Sir.
MARLOW. Yes, madam. In this age of hypocriſy there are few who upon ſtrict enquiry do not—a—a—a—
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I underſtand you perfectly, Sir.
Egad! and that's more than I do myſelf.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. You mean that in this hypocritical age there are few that do not condemn in public what they practiſe [Page 37] in private, and think they pay every debt to virtue when they praiſe it.
MARLOW. True, madam; thoſe who have moſt virtue in their mouths, have leaſt of it in their boſoms. But I'm ſure I tire you, madam.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Not in the leaſt, Sir; there's ſomething ſo agreeable and ſpirited in your manner, ſuch life and force—pray, Sir, go on.
MARLOW. Yes, madam. I was ſaying—that there are ſome occaſions—when a total want of courage, madam, deſtroys all the—and puts us—upon a—a—a—
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I agree with you entirely, a want of courage upon ſome occaſions aſſumes the appearance of ignorance, and betrays us when we moſt want to excel. I beg you'll proceed.
MARLOW. Yes, madam. Morally ſpeaking, madam—But I ſee Miſs Neville expecting us in the next room. I would not intrude for the world.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I proteſt, Sir, I never was more agreeably entertained in all my life. Pray go on.
MARLOW. Yes, madam. I was—But ſhe beckons us to join her. Madam, ſhall I do myſelf the honour to attend you?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Well then, I'll follow.
[Page 38] MARLOW
This pretty ſmooth dialogue has done for me.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Ha! ha! ha! Was there ever ſuch a ſober ſentimental interview? I'm certain he ſcarce look'd in my face the whole time. Yet the fellow, but for his unaccountable baſhfulneſs, is pretty well too. He has good ſenſe, but then ſo buried in his fears, that it fatigues one more than ignorance. If I could teach him a little confidence, it would be doing ſomebody that I know of a piece of ſervice. But who is that ſomebody?—that, faith, is a queſtion I can ſcarce anſwer.
Enter TONY and Miſs NEVILLE, followed by Mrs. HARDCASTLE and HASTINGS.
TONY. What do you follow me for, couſin Con? I wonder you're not aſhamed to be ſo very engaging.
Miſs NEVILLE. I hope, couſin, one may ſpeak to one's own relations, and not be to blame.
TONY. Ay, but I know what ſort of a relation you want to make me though; but it won't do. I tell you, couſin Con, it won't do, ſo I beg you'll keep your diſtance, I want no nearer relationſhip.
[She follows coqueting him to the back ſcene.
[Page 39] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well! I vow, Mr. Haſtings, you are very entertaining. There's nothing in the world I love to talk of ſo much as London, and the faſhions, though I was never there myſelf.
HASTINGS. Never there! You amaze me! From your air and manner, I concluded you had been bred all your life either at Ranelagh, St. James's, or Tower Wharf.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. O! Sir, you're only pleaſed to ſay ſo. We Country perſons can have no manner at all. I'm in love with the town, and that ſerves to raiſe me above ſome of our neighbouring ruſtics; but who can have a manner, that has never ſeen the Pantheon, the Grotto Gardens, the Borough, and ſuch places where the Nobility chiefly reſort? All I can do, is to enjoy London at ſecond-hand. I take care to know every tête-à-tête from the Scandalous Magazine, and have all the faſhions, as they come out, in a letter from the two Miſs Rickets of Crookedlane. Pray how do you like this head, Mr. Haſtings?
HASTINGS. Extremely elegant and degagée, upon my word, Madam. Your Friſeur is a Frenchman, I ſuppoſe?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I proteſt I dreſſed it myſelf from a print in the Ladies Memorandum-book for the laſt year.
HASTINGS. Indeed. Such a head in a ſide-box, at the Playhouſe, would draw as many gazers as my Lady May'reſs at a City Ball.
[Page 40] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I vow, ſince inoculation began, there is no ſuch thing to be ſeen as a plain woman; ſo one muſt dreſs a little particular or one may eſcape in the crowd.
HASTINGS. But that can never be your caſe, Madam, in any dreſs.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Yet, what ſignifies my dreſſing when I have ſuch a piece of antiquity by my ſide as Mr. Hardcaſtle: all I can ſay will never argue down a ſingle button from his cloaths. I have often wanted him to throw off his great flaxen wig, and where he was bald, to plaiſter it over like my Lord Pately, with powder.
HASTINGS. You are right, Madam; for, as among the ladies, there are none ugly, ſo among the men there are none old.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. But what do you think his anſwer was? Why, with his uſual Gothic vivacity, he ſaid I only wanted him to throw off his wig to convert it into a tête for my own wearing.
HASTINGS. Intolerable! At your age you may wear what you pleaſe, and it muſt become you.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Pray, Mr. Haſtings, what do you take to be the moſt faſhionable age about town?
HASTINGS. Some time ago, forty was all the mode; but I'm told the ladies intend to bring up fifty for the enſuing winter.
[Page 41] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Seriouſly. Then I ſhall be too young for the faſhion.
HASTINGS. No lady begins now to put on jewels 'till ſhe's paſt forty. For inſtance, Miſs there, in a polite circle, would be conſidered as a child, as a mere maker of ſamplers.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. And yet Mrs. Niece thinks herſelf as much a woman, and is as fond of jewels as the oldeſt of us all.
HASTINGS. Your niece, is ſhe? And that young gentleman, a brother of yours, I ſhould preſume?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. My ſon, Sir. They are contracted to each other. Obſerve their little ſports. They fall in and out ten times a day, as if they were man and wife already. (To them.) Well Tony, child, what ſoft things are you ſaying to your couſin Conſtance this evening?
TONY. I have been ſaying no ſoft things; but that it's very hard to be followed about ſo. Ecod! I've not a place in the houſe now that's left to myſelf but the ſtable.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Never mind him, Con. my dear. He's in another ſtory behind your back.
Miſs NEVILLE. There's ſomething generous in my couſin's manner. He falls out before faces to be forgiven in private.
[Page 42] TONY. That's a damned confounded—crack.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Ah! he's a ſly one. Don't you think they're like each other about the mouth, Mr. Haſtings? The Blenkinſop mouth to a T. They're of a ſize too. Back to back, my pretties, that Mr. Haſtings may ſee you. Come Tony.
TONY. You had as good not make me, I tell you.
Miſs NEVILLE. O lud! he has almoſt cracked my head.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. O the monſter! For ſhame, Tony. You a man, and behave ſo!
TONY. If I'm a man, let me have my fortin. Ecod! I'll not be made a fool of no longer.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Is this, ungrateful boy, all that I'm to get for the pains I have taken in your education? I that have rock'd you in your cradle, and fed that pretty mouth with a ſpoon! Did not I work that waiſtcoat to make you genteel? Did not I preſcribe for you every day, and weep while the receipt was operating?
TONY. Ecod! you had reaſon to weep, for you have been doſing me ever ſince I was born. I have gone through every receipt in the complete huſwife ten times over; and you have thoughts of courſing me through Quincy next ſpring. But, Ecod! I tell you, I'll not be made a fool of no longer.
[Page 43] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Wasn't it all for your good, viper? Wasn't it all for your good?
TONY. I wiſh you'd let me and my good alone then. Snubbing this way when I'm in ſpirits. If I'm to have any good, let it come of itſelf; not to keep dinging it, dinging it into one ſo.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. That's falſe; I never ſee you when you're in ſpirits. No, Tony, you then go to the alehouſe or kennel. I'm never to be delighted with your agreeable, wild notes, unfeeling monſter!
TONY. Ecod! Mamma, your own notes are the wildeſt of the two.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Was ever the like? But I ſee he wants to break my heart, I ſee he does.
HASTINGS. Dear Madam, permit me to lecture the young gentleman a little. I'm certain I can perſuade him to his duty.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well! I muſt retire. Come, Conſtance, my love. You ſee Mr. Haſtings, the wretchedneſs of my ſituation: Was ever poor woman ſo plagued with a dear, ſweet, pretty, provoking, undutiful boy.
[Exeunt Mrs. Hardcaſtle and Miſs Neville.
There was a young man riding by, and fain would have his will. Rang do didlo dee. Don't mind her. [Page 44] Let her cry. It's the comfort of her heart. I have ſeen her and ſiſter cry over a book for an hour together, and they ſaid, they liked the book the better the more it made them cry.
HASTINGS. Then you're no friend to the ladies, I find, my pretty young gentleman?
TONY. That's as I find 'um.
HASTINGS. Not to her of your mother's chuſing, I dare anſwer? And yet ſhe appears to me a pretty well-tempered girl.
TONY. That's becauſe you don't know her as well as I. Ecod! I know every inch about her; and there's not a more bitter cantanckerous toad in all Chriſtendom.
Pretty encouragement this for a lover!
TONY. I have ſeen her ſince the height of that. She has as many tricks as a hare in a thicket, or a colt the firſt day's breaking.
HASTINGS. To me ſhe appears ſenſible and ſilent!
TONY. Ay, before company. But when ſhe's with her play-mates ſhe's as loud as a hog in a gate.
HASTINGS. But there is a meek modeſty about her that charms me.
[Page 45] TONY. Yes, but curb her never ſo little, ſhe kicks up, and you're flung in a ditch.
HASTINGS. Well, but you muſt allow her a little beauty.—Yes, you muſt allow her ſome beauty.
TONY. Bandbox! She's all a made up thing, mun. Ah! could you but ſee Bet Bouncer of theſe parts, you might then talk of beauty. Ecod, ſhe has two eyes as black as ſloes, and cheeks as broad and red as a pulpit cuſhion. She'd make two of ſhe.
HASTINGS. Well, what ſay you to a friend that would take this bitter bargain off your hands?
TONY. Anon.
HASTINGS. Would you thank him that would take Miſs Neville and leave you to happineſs and your dear Betſy?
TONY. Ay; but where is there ſuch a friend, for who would take her?
HASTINGS. I am he. If you but aſſiſt me, I'll engage to whip her off to France, and you ſhall never hear more of her.
TONY. Aſſiſt you! Ecod I will, to the laſt drop of my blood. I'll clap a pair of horſes to your chaiſe that ſhall trundle you off in a twinkling, and may be get you a part of her fortin beſide, in jewels, that you little dream of.
[Page 46] HASTINGS. My dear ſquire, this looks like a lad of ſpirit.
TONY. Come along then, and you ſhall ſee more of my ſpirit before you have done with me (ſinging). We are the boys that fears no noiſe where the thundering cannons roar.


[Page 47]
Enter HARDCASTLE ſolus.
HARDCASTLE. WHAT could my old friend Sir Charles mean by recommending his ſon as the modeſteſt young man in town? To me he appears the moſt impudent piece of braſs that ever ſpoke with a tongue. He has taken poſſeſſion of the eaſy chair by the fire-ſide already. He took off his boots in the parlour, and deſired me to ſee them taken care of. I'm deſirous to know how his impudence affects my daughter.—She will certainly be ſhocked at it.
Enter Miſs HARDCASTLE, plainly dreſs'd.
HARDCASTLE. Well, my Kate, I ſee you have changed your dreſs as I bid you; and yet, I believe, there was no great occaſion.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I find ſuch a pleaſure, Sir, in obeying your commands, that I take care to obſerve them without ever debating their propriety.
HARDCASTLE. And yet, Kate, I ſometimes give you ſome cauſe, particularly when I recommended my modeſt gentleman to you as a lover to-day.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. You taught me to expect ſomething extraordinary, and I find the original exceeds the deſcription.
[Page 48] HARDCASTLE. I was never ſo ſurprized in my life! He has quite confounded all my faculties!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I never ſaw any thing like it: And a man of the world too!
HARDCASTLE. Ay, he learned it all abroad,—what a fool was I, to think a young man could learn modeſty by travelling. He might as ſoon learn wit at a maſquerade.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. It ſeems all natural to him.
HARDCASTLE. A good deal aſſiſted by bad company and a French dancing-maſter.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Sure you miſtake, papa! a French dancing-maſter could never have taught him that timid look,—that aukward addreſs,—that baſhful manner—
HARDCASTLE. Whoſe look? whoſe manner? child!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Mr. Marlow's: his meanvaiſe Loute, his timidity ſtruck me at the firſt ſight.
HARDCASTLE. Then your firſt ſight deceived you; for I think him one of the moſt brazen firſt ſights that ever aſtoniſhed my ſenſes.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Sure, Sir, you rally! I never ſaw any one ſo modeſt.
[Page 49] HARDCASTLE. And can you be ſerious! I never ſaw ſuch a bouncing ſwaggering puppy ſince I was born. Bully Dawſon was but a fool to him.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Surprizing! He met me with a reſpectful bow, a ſtammering voice, and a look fixed on the ground.
HARDCASTLE. He met me with a loud voice, a lordly air, and a familiarity that made my blood freeze again.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. He treated me with diffidence and reſpect; cenſured the manners of the age; admired the prudence of girls that never laughed; tired me with apologies for being tireſome; then left the room with a bow, and, madam, I would not for the world detain you.
HARDCASTLE. He ſpoke to me as if he knew me all his life before. Aſked twenty queſtions, and never waited for an anſwer. Interrupted my beſt remarks with ſome ſilly pun, and when I was in my beſt ſtory of the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, he aſked if I had not a good hand at making punch. Yes, Kate, he aſk'd your father if he was a maker of punch!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. One of us muſt certainly be miſtaken.
HARDCASTLE. If he be what he has ſhewn himſelf, I'm determined he ſhall never have my conſent.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And if he be the ſullen thing I take him, he ſhall never have mine.
[Page 50] HARDCASTLE. In one thing then we are agreed—to reject him.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Yes. But upon conditions. For if you ſhould find him leſs impudent, and I more preſuming; if you find him more reſpectful, and I more importunate—I don't know—the fellow is well enough for a man—Certainly we don't meet many ſuch at a horſe race in the country.
HARDCASTLE. If we ſhould find him ſo—But that's impoſſible. The firſt appearance has done my buſineſs. I'm ſeldom deceived in that.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And yet there may be many good qualities under that firſt appearance.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, when a girl finds a fellow's outſide to her taſte, ſhe then ſets about gueſſing the reſt of his furniture. With her, a ſmooth face ſtands for good ſenſe, and a genteel figure for every virtue.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I hope, Sir, a converſation begun with a compliment to my good ſenſe won't end with a ſneer at my underſtanding?
HARDCASTLE. Pardon me, Kate. But if young Mr. Brazen can find the art of reconciling contradictions, he may pleaſe us both, perhaps.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And as one of us muſt be miſtaken, what if we go to make further diſcoveries?
HARDCASTLE. Agreed. But depend on't I'm in the right.
[Page 51] Miſs HARDCASTLE. And depend on't I'm not much in the wrong.
Enter TONY running in with a Caſket.
TONY. Ecod! I have got them. Here they are. My Couſin Con's necklaces, bobs and all. My mother ſhan't cheat the poor ſouls out of their fortune neither. O! my genus, is that you?
HASTINGS. My dear friend, how have you managed wit your mother? I hope you have amuſed her with pretending love for your couſin, and that you are willing to be reconciled at laſt? Our horſes will be refreſhed in a ſhort time, and we ſhall ſoon be ready to ſet off.
TONY. And here's ſomething to bear your charges by the way, (giving the caſket.) Your ſweetheart's jewels. Keep them, and hang thoſe, I ſay, that would rob you of one of them.
HASTINGS. But how have you procured them from your mother?
TONY. Aſk me no queſtions, and I'll tell you no fibs. I procured them by the rule of thumb. If I had not a key to every drawer in mother's bureau, how could I go to the alehouſe ſo often as I do? An honeſt man may rob himſelf of his own at any time.
[Page 52] HASTINGS. Thouſands do it every day. But to be plain with you; Miſs Neville is endeavouring to procure them from her aunt this very inſtant. If ſhe ſucceeds, it will be the moſt delicate way at leaſt of obtaining them.
TONY. Well, keep them, till you know how it will be. But I know how it will be well enough, ſhe'd as ſoon part with the only ſound tooth in her head.
HASTINGS. But I dread the effects of her reſentment, when ſhe finds ſhe has loſt them.
TONY. Never you mind her reſentment, leave me to manage that. I don't value her reſentment the bounce of a cracker. Zounds! here they are. Morrice. Prance.
[Exit Haſtings.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Indeed, Conſtance, you amaze me. Such a girl as you want jewels? It will be time enough for jewels, my dear, twenty years hence, when your beauty begins to want repairs.
Miſs NEVILLE. But what will repair beauty at forty, will certainly improve it at twenty, Madam.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Yours, my dear, can admit of none. That natural bluſh is beyond a thouſand ornaments. Beſides, child, jewels are quite out at preſent. Don't you ſee half the ladies of our acquaintance, my lady, Kill day light, and Mrs. Crump, and the reſt of them, [Page 53] carry their jewels to town, and bring nothing but Paſte and Marcaſites back.
Miſs NEVILLE. But who knows, Madam, but ſomebody that ſhall be nameleſs would like me beſt with all my little finery about me?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Conſult your glaſs, my dear, and then ſee, if with ſuch a pair of eyes, you want any better ſparklers. What do you think, Tony, my dear, does your couſin Con. want any jewels, in your eyes, to ſet off her beauty.
TONY. That's as thereafter may be.
Miſs NEVILLE. My dear aunt, if you knew how it would oblige me.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. A parcel of old-faſhioned roſe and table-cut things. They would make you look like the court of king Solomon at a puppet-ſhew. Beſides, I believe I can't readily come at them. They may be miſſing for aught I know to the contrary.
(Apart to Mrs. Hardcaſtle.)
Then why don't you tell her ſo at once, as ſhe's ſo longing for them. Tell her they're loſt. It's the only way to quiet her. Say they're loſt, and call me to bear witneſs.
(Apart to Tony.)
You know, my dear, I'm only keeping them for you. So if I ſay they're gone, you'll bear me witneſs, will you? He! he! he!
TONY. Never fear me. Ecod! I'll ſay I ſaw them taken out with my own eyes.
[Page 54] Miſs NEVILLE. I deſire them but for a day, Madam. Juſt to be permitted to ſhew them as relicks, and then they may be lock'd up again.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. To be plain with you, my dear Conſtance; if I could find them, you ſhould have them. They're miſſing, I aſſure you. Loſt, for aught I know; but we muſt have patience wherever they are.
Miſs NEVILLE. I'll not believe it; this is but a ſhallow pretence to deny me. I know they're too valuable to be ſo ſlightly kept, and as you are to anſwer for the loſs.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Don't be alarm'd, Conſtance. If they be loſt, I muſt reſtore an equivalent. But my ſon knows they are miſſing, and not to be found.
TONY. That I can bear witneſs to. They are miſſing, and not to be found, I'll take my oath on't.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. You muſt learn reſignation, my dear; for tho' we loſe our fortune, yet we ſhould not loſe our patience. See me, how calm I am.
Miſs NEVILLE. Ay, people are generally calm at the misfortunes of others.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Now, I wonder a girl of your good ſenſe ſhould waſte a thought upon ſuch trumpery. We ſhall ſoon find them; and, in the mean time, you ſhall make uſe of my garnets till your jewels be found.
Miſs NEVILLE. I deteſt garnets.
[Page 55] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. The moſt becoming things in the world to ſet off a clear complexion. You have often ſeen how well they look upon me. You ſhall have them.
Miſs NEVILLE. I diſlike them of all things. You ſhan't ſtir.—Was ever any thing ſo provoking to miſlay my own jewels, and force me to wear her trumpery.
TONY. Don't be a fool. If ſhe gives you the garnets, take what you can get. The jewels are your own already. I have ſtolen them out of her bureau, and ſhe does not know it. Fly to your ſpark, he'll tell you more of the matter. Leave me to manage her.
Miſs NEVILLE. My dear couſin.
TONY. Vaniſh. She's here, and has miſſed them already. Zounds! how ſhe fidgets and ſpits about like a Catharine wheel.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Confuſion! thieves! robbers! We are cheated, plundered, broke open, undone.
TONY. What's the matter, what's the matter, mamma? I hope nothing has happened to any of the good family!
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. We are robbed. My bureau has been broke open, the jewels taken out, and I'm undone.
TONY. Oh! is that all? Ha, ha, ha. By the laws, I [Page 56] never ſaw it better acted in my life. Ecod, I thought you was ruin'd in earneſt, ha, ha, ha.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Why boy, I am ruin'd in earneſt. My bureau has been broke open, and all taken away.
TONY. Stick to that; ha, ha, ha; ſtick to that. I'll bear witneſs, you know, call me to bear witneſs.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I tell you, Tony, by all that's precious, the jewels are gone, and I ſhall be ruin'd for ever.
TONY. Sure I know they're gone, and I am to ſay ſo.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. My deareſt Tony, but hear me. They're gone, I ſay.
TONY. By the laws, mamma, you make me for to laugh, ha, ha. I know who took them well enough, ha, ha, ha.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Was there ever ſuch a blockhead, that can't tell the difference between jeſt and earneſt. I tell you I'm not in jeſt, booby.
TONY. That's right, that's right: You muſt be in a bitter paſſion, and then nobody will ſuſpect either of us. I'll bear witneſs that they are gone.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Was there ever ſuch a croſs-grain'd brute, that won't hear me! Can you bear witneſs that you're no better than a fool? Was ever poor woman ſo beſet with fools on one hand, and thieves on the other.
TONY. I can bear witneſs to that.
[Page 57] Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Bear witneſs again, you blockhead you, and I'll turn you out of the room directly. My poor niece, what will become of her! Do you laugh, you unfeeling brute, as if you enjoy'd my diſtreſs?
TONY. I can bear witneſs to that.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Do you inſult me, monſter? I'll teach you to vex your mother, I will.
TONY. I can bear witneſs to that.
(He runs off, ſhe follows him.
Enter Miſs HARDCASTLE and Maid.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. What an unaccountable creature is that brother of mine, to ſend them to the houſe as an inn, ha, ha. I don't wonder at his impudence.
MAID. But what is more, madam, the young gentleman as you paſſed by in your preſent dreſs, aſk'd me if you were the bar maid? He miſtook you for the bar maid, madam.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Did he? Then as I live I'm reſolved to keep up the deluſion. Tell me, Pimple, how do you like my preſent dreſs. Don't you think I look ſomething like Cherry in the Beaux Stratagem?
MAID. It's the dreſs, madam, that every lady wears in the country, but when ſhe viſits or receives company.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And are you ſure he does not remember my face or perſon?
[Page 58] MAID. Certain of it.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I vow I thought ſo; for though we ſpoke for ſome time together, yet his fears were ſuch, that he never once looked up during the interview. Indeed, if he had, my bonnet would have kept him from ſeeing me.
MAID. But what do you hope from keeping him in his miſtake?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. In the firſt place, I ſhall be ſeen, and that is no ſmall advantage to a girl who brings her face to market. Then I ſhall perhaps make an acquaintance and that's no ſmall victory gained over one who never addreſſes any but the wildeſt of her ſex. But my chief aim is to take my gentleman off his guard, and like an inviſible champion of romance examine the giant's force before I offer to combat.
MAID. But are you ſure you can act your part, and diſguiſe your voice, ſo that he may miſtake that, as he has already miſtaken your perſon?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Never fear me. I think I have got the true bar cant.—Did your honour call?—Attend the Lion there.—Pipes and tobacco for the Angel.—The Lamb has been outrageous this half hour.
MAID. It will do, madam. But he's here.
[Exit Maid.
MARLOW. What a bawling in every part of the houſe; I have ſcarce a moment's repoſe. If I go to the beſt [Page 59] room, there I find my hoſt and his ſtory. If I fly to the gallery, there we have my hoſteſs with her curteſy down to the ground. I have at laſt got a moment to myſelf, and now for recollection.
[Walks and muſes.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Did you call, Sir? did your honour call?
As for Miſs Hardcaſtle, ſhe's too grave and ſentimental for me.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Did your honour call?
(She ſtill places herſelf before him, he turning away.
MARLOW. No, child (muſing). Beſides from the glimpſe I had of her, I think ſhe ſquints.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I'm ſure, Sir, I heard the bell ring.
MARLOW. No, No. (muſing) I have pleaſed my father, however, by coming down, and I'll to-morrow pleaſe myſelf by returning.
(Taking out his tablets, and peruſing.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Perhaps the other gentleman called, Sir.
MARLOW. I tell you, no.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I ſhould be glad to know, Sir. We have ſuch a parcel of ſervants.
MARLOW. No, no, I tell you. (Looks full in her face.) Yes, child, I think I did call. I wanted—I wanted—I vow, child, you are vaſtly handſome.
[Page 60] Miſs HARDCASTLE. O la, Sir, you'll make one aſham'd.
MARLOW. Never ſaw a more ſprightly malicious eye. Yes, yes, my dear, I did call. Have you got any of your—a—what d'ye call it in the houſe?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. No, Sir, we have been out of that theſe ten days.
MARLOW. One may call in this houſe, I find, to very little purpoſe. Suppoſe I ſhould call for a taſte, juſt by way of trial, of the nectar of your lips; perhaps I might be diſappointed in that too.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Nectar! nectar! that's liquor there's no call for in theſe parts. French, I ſuppoſe. We keep no French wines here, Sir.
MARLOW. Of true Engliſh growth, I aſſure you.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Then it's odd I ſhould not know it. We brew all ſorts of wines in this houſe, and I have lived here theſe eighteen years.
MARLOW. Eighteen years! Why one would think, child, you kept the bar before you were born. How old are you?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. O! Sir, I muſt not tell my age. They ſay women and muſic ſhould never be dated.
MARLOW. To gueſs at this diſtance, you can't be much above forty (approaching.) Yet nearer I don't think ſo much (approaching.) By coming cloſe to ſome women they look younger ſtill; but when we come very cloſe indeed (attempting to kiſs her.)
[Page 61] Miſs HARDCASTLE. Pray, Sir, keep your diſtance. One would think you wanted to know one's age as they do horſes, by mark of mouth.
MARLOW. I proteſt, child, you uſe me extremely ill. If you keep me at this diſtance, how is it poſſible you and I can be ever acquainted?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And who wants to be acquainted with you? I want no ſuch acquaintance, not I. I'm ſure you did not treat Miſs Hardcaſtle that was here awhile ago in this obſtropalous manner. I'll warrant me, before her you look'd daſh'd, and kept bowing to the ground, and talk'd, for all the world, as if you was before a juſtice of peace.
Egad! ſhe has hit it, ſure enough. (To her.) In awe of her, child? Ha! ha! ha! A mere, aukward, ſquinting thing, no, no. I find you don't know me. I laugh'd, and rallied her a little; but I was unwilling to be too ſevere. No, I could not be too ſevere, curſe me!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. O! then, Sir, you are a favourite, I find, among the ladies?
MARLOW. Yes, my dear, a great favourite. And yet, hang me, I don't ſee what they find in me to follow. At the Ladies Club in town, I'm called their agreeable Rattle. Rattle, child, is not my real name, but one I'm known by. My name is Solomons. Mr. Solomons, my dear, at your ſervice.
(Offering to ſalute her.)
[Page 62] Miſs HARDCASTLE. Hold, Sir; you were introducing me to your club, not to yourſelf. And you're ſo great a favourite there you ſay?
MARLOW. Yes, my dear. There's Mrs. Mantrap, Lady Betty Blackleg, the Counteſs of Sligo, Mrs. Langhorns, old Miſs Biddy Buckſkin, and your humble ſervant, keep up the ſpirit of the place.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Then it's a very merry place, I ſuppoſe.
MARLOW. Yes, as merry as cards, ſuppers, wine, and old women can make us.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And their agreeable Rattle, ha! ha! ha!
Egad! I don't quite like this chit. She looks knowing, methinks. You laugh, child!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I can't but laugh to think what time they all have for minding their work or their family.
All's well, ſhe don't laugh at me. (To her) Do you ever work, child?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Ay, ſure. There's not a ſcreen or a quilt in the whole houſe but what can bear witneſs to that.
MARLOW. Odſo! Then you muſt ſhew me your embroidery. I embroider and draw patterns myſelf a little. If you want a judge of your work you muſt apply to me.
[Seizing her hand.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Ay, but the colours don't look well by candle light. You ſhall ſee all in the morning.
[Page 63] MARLOW. And why not now, my angel? Such beauty fires beyond the power of reſiſtance.—Pſhaw! the father here! My old luck: I never nick'd ſeven that I did not throw ames ace three times following.
[Exit Marlow.
Enter HARDCASTLE, who ſtands in ſurprize.
HARDCASTLE. So, madam! So I find this is your modeſt lover. This is your humble admirer that kept his eyes fixed on the ground, and only ador'd at humble diſtance. Kate, Kate, art thou not aſham'd to deceive your father ſo?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Never truſt me, dear papa, but he's ſtill the modeſt man I firſt took him for, you'll be convinced of it as well as I.
HARDCASTLE. By the hand of my body I believe his impudence is infectious! Didn't I ſee him ſeize your hand? Didn't I ſee him hawl you about like a milk maid? and now you talk of his reſpect and his modeſty, forſooth!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. But if I ſhortly convince you of his modeſty, that he has only the faults that will paſs off with time, and the virtues that will improve with age, I hope you'll forgive him.
HARDCASTLE. The girl would actually make one run mad! I tell you I'll not be convinced. I am convinced. He has ſcarcely been three hours in the houſe, and he has already encroached on all my prerogatives. You may like his impudence, and call it modeſty. [Page 64] But my ſon-in-law, madam, muſt have very different qualifications.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Sir, I aſk but this night to convince you.
HARDCASTLE. You ſhall not have half the time, for I have thoughts of turning him out this very hour.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Give me that hour then, and I hope to ſatisfy you.
HARDCASTLE. Well, an hour let it be then. But I'll have no trifling with your father. All fair and open do you mind me.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I hope, Sir, you have ever found that I conſidered your commands as my pride; for your kindneſs is ſuch, that my duty as yet has been inclination.

4. ACT IV.

[Page 65]
HASTINGS. YOU ſurpriſe me! Sir Charles Marlow expected here this night? Where have you had your information?
Miſs NEVILLE. You may depend upon it. I juſt ſaw his letter to Mr. Hardcaſtle, in which he tells him he intends ſetting out a few hours after his ſon.
HASTINGS. Then, my Conſtance, all muſt be completed before he arrives. He knows me; and ſhould he find me here, would diſcover my name, and perhaps my deſigns, to the reſt of the family.
Miſs NEVILLE. The jewels, I hope, are ſafe.
HASTINGS. Yes, yes. I have ſent them to Marlow, who keeps the keys of our baggage. In the meantime, I'll go to prepare matters for our elopement. I have had the Squire's promiſe of a freſh pair of horſes; and, if I ſhould not ſee him again, will write him further directions.
Miſs NEVILLE. Well! ſucceſs attend you. In the meantime, I'll go amuſe my aunt with the old pretence of a violent paſſion for my couſin.
[Page 66] Enter MARLOW, followed by a Servant.
MARLOW. I wonder what Haſtings could mean by ſending me ſo valuable a thing as a caſket to keep for him, when he knows the only place I have is the ſeat of a poſt-coach at an Inn-door. Have you depoſited the caſket with the landlady, as I ordered you? Have you put it into her own hands?
SERVANT. Yes, your honour.
MARLOW. She ſaid ſhe'd keep it ſafe, did ſhe?
SERVANT. Yes, ſhe ſaid ſhe'd keep it ſafe enough; ſhe aſk'd me how I came by it? and ſhe ſaid ſhe had a great mind to make me give an account of myſelf.
[Exit Servant.
MARLOW. Ha! ha! ha! They're ſafe however. What an unaccountable ſet of beings have we got amongſt! This little bar-maid though runs in my head moſt ſtrangely, and drives out the abſurdities of all the reſt of the family. She's mine, ſhe muſt be mine, or I'm greatly miſtaken.
HASTINGS. Bleſs me! I quite forgot to tell her that I intended to prepare at the bottom of the garden. Marlow here, and in ſpirits too!
MARLOW. Give me joy, George! Crown me, ſhadow me with laurels! Well, George, after all, we modeſt fellows don't want for ſucceſs among the women.
[Page 67] HASTINGS. Some women you mean. But what ſucceſs has your honour's modeſty been crowned with now, that it grows ſo inſolent upon us?
MARLOW. Didn't you ſee the tempting, briſk, lovely, little thing that runs about the houſe with a bunch of keys to its girdle?
HASTINGS. Well! and what then?
MARLOW. She's mine, you rogue you. Such fire, ſuch motion, ſuch eyes, ſuch lips—but, egad! ſhe would not let me kiſs them though.
HASTINGS. But are you ſo ſure, ſo very ſure of her?
MARLOW. Why man, ſhe talk'd of ſhewing me her work above-ſtairs, and I am to improve the pattern.
HASTINGS. But how can you, Charles, go about to rob a woman of her honour?
MARLOW. Pſhaw! pſhaw! we all know the honour of the bar-maid of an inn. I don't intend to rob her, take my word for it, there's nothing in this houſe, I ſhan't honeſtly pay for.
HASTINGS. I believe the girl has virtue.
MARLOW. And if ſhe has, I ſhould be the laſt man in the world that would attempt to corrupt it.
HASTINGS. You have taken care, I hope, of the caſket I ſent you to lock up? It's in ſafety?
[Page 68] MARLOW. Yes, yes. It's ſafe enough. I have taken care of it. But how could you think the ſeat of a poſt-coach at an Inn-door a place of ſafety? Ah! numbſkull! I have taken better precautions for you than you did for yourſelf.—I have—
MARLOW. I have ſent it to the landlady to keep for you.
HASTINGS. To the landlady!
MARLOW. The landlady.
HASTINGS. You did.
MARLOW. I did. She's to be anſwerable for its forth-coming, you know,
HASTINGS. Yes, ſhe'll bring it forth, with a witneſs.
MARLOW. Wasn't I right? I believe you'll allow that I acted prudently upon this occaſion?
He muſt not ſee my uneaſineſs.
MARLOW. You ſeem a little diſconcerted though, methinks. Sure nothing has happened?
HASTINGS. No, nothing. Never was in better ſpirits in all my life. And ſo you left it with the landlady, who, no doubt, very readily undertook the charge?
[Page 69] MARLOW. Rather too readily. For ſhe not only kept the caſket; but, thro' her great precaution, was going to keep the meſſenger too. Ha! ha! ha!
HASTINGS. He! he! he! They're ſafe however.
MARLOW. As a guinea in a miſer's purſe.
So now all hopes of fortune are at an end, and we muſt ſet off without it. (To him.) Well, Charles, I'll leave you to your meditations on the pretty bar-maid, and, he! he! he! may you be as ſucceſsful for yourſelf as you have been for me.
MARLOW. Thank ye, George! I aſk no more. Ha! ha! ha!
HARDCASTLE. I no longer know my own houſe. It's turned all topſey-turvey. His ſervants have got drunk already. I'll bear it no longer, and yet, from my reſpect for his father, I'll be calm. (To him.) Mr. Marlow, your ſervant. I'm your very humble ſervant.
(bowing low.
MARLOW. Sir, your humble ſervant. (Aſide.) What's to be the wonder now?
HARDCASTLE. I believe, Sir, you muſt be ſenſible, Sir, that no man alive ought to be more welcome than your father's ſon, Sir. I hope you think ſo?
[Page 70] MARLOW. I do from my ſoul, Sir. I don't want much intreaty. I generally make my father's ſon welcome wherever he goes.
HARDCASTLE. I believe you do, from my ſoul, Sir. But tho' I ſay nothing to your own conduct, that of your Servants is inſufferable. Their manner of drinking is ſetting a very bad example in this houſe, I aſſure you.
MARLOW. I proteſt, my very good Sir, that's no fault of mine. If they don't drink as they ought they are to blame. I ordered them not to ſpare the cellar. I did, I aſſure you. (To the ſide ſcene.) Here, let one of my ſervants come up. (To him.) My poſitive directions were, that as I did not drink myſelf, they ſhould make up for my deficiencies below.
HARDCASTLE. Then they had your orders for what they do! I'm ſatisfied!
MARLOW. They had, I aſſure. You ſhall hear from one of themſelves.
Enter SERVANT drunk.
MARLOW. You, Jeremy! Come forward, ſirrah! What were my orders? Were you not told to drink freely, and call for what you thought fit, for the good of the houſe?
I begin to loſe my patience.
JEREMY. Pleaſe your honour, liberty and Fleet-ſtreet for ever! Tho' I'm but a ſervant, I'm as good as another [Page 71] man. I'll drink for no man before ſupper, Sir, dammy! Good liquor will ſit upon a good ſupper, but a good ſupper will not ſit upon—hiccup—upon my conſcience, Sir.
MARLOW. You ſee, my old friend, the fellow is as drunk as he can poſſibly be. I don't know what you'd have more, unleſs you'd have the poor devil ſouſed in a beer-barrel.
HARDCASTLE. Zounds! He'll drive me diſtracted if I contain myſelf any longer. Mr. Marlow. Sir; I have ſubmitted to your inſolence for more than four hours, and I ſee no likelihood of its coming to an end. I'm now reſolved to be maſter here, Sir, and I deſire that you and your drunken pack may leave my houſe directly.
MARLOW. Leave your houſe!—Sure you jeſt, my good friend? What, when I'm doing what I can to pleaſe you.
HARDCASTLE. I tell you, Sir, you don't pleaſe me; ſo I deſire you'll leave my houſe.
MARLOW. Sure you cannot be ſerious? At this time o'night, and ſuch a night. You only mean to banter me?
HARDCASTLE. I tell you, Sir, I'm ſerious; and, now that my paſſions are rouzed, I ſay this houſe is mine, Sir; this houſe is mine, and I command you to leave it directly.
MARLOW. Ha! ha! ha! A puddle in a ſtorm. I ſhan't ſtir a ſtep, I aſſure you. (In a ſerious tone.) This, your houſe, fellow! It's my houſe. This is my [Page 72] houſe. Mine, while I chuſe to ſtay. What right have you to bid me leave this houſe, Sir? I never met with ſuch impudence, curſe me, never in my whole life before.
HARDCASTLE. Nor I, confound me if ever I did. To come to my houſe, to call for what he likes, to turn me out of my own chair, to inſult the family, to order his ſervants to get drunk, and then to tell me This houſe is mine, Sir. By all that's impudent it makes me laugh. Ha! ha! ha! Pray, Sir, (bantering.) as you take the houſe, what think you of taking the reſt of the furniture? There's a pair of ſilver candleſticks, and there's a fire-ſcreen, and here's a pair of brazen noſed bellows, perhaps you may take a fancy to them?
MARLOW. Bring me your bill, Sir, bring me your bill, and let's make no more words about it.
HARDCASTLE. There are a ſet of prints too. What think you of the rake's progreſs for your own apartment?
MARLOW. Bring me your bill, I ſay; and I'll leave you and your infernal houſe directly.
HARDCASTLE. Then there's a mahogony table, that you may ſee your own face in.
MARLOW. My bill, I ſay.
HARDCASTLE. I had forgot the great chair, for your own particular ſlumbers, after a hearty meal.
MARLOW. Zounds! bring me my bill, I ſay, and let's hear no more on't.
[Page 73] HARDCASTLE. Young man, young man, from your father's letter to me, I was taught to expect a well-bred modeſt man, as a viſitor here, but now I find him no better than a coxcomb and a bully; but he will be down here preſently, and ſhall hear more of it.
MARLOW. How's this! Sure I have not miſtaken the houſe! Every thing looks like an inn. The ſervants cry, coming. The attendance is aukward; the bar-maid too to attend us. But ſhe's here, and will further inform me. Whither ſo faſt, child. A word with you.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Let it be ſhort then. I'm in a hurry. (Aſide.) (I believe he begins to find out his miſtake, but its too ſoon quite to undeceive him.)
MARLOW. Pray, child, anſwer me one queſtion. What are you, and what may your buſineſs in this houſe be?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. A relation of the family, Sir.
MARLOW. What. A poor relation?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Yes, Sir. A poor relation appointed to keep the keys, and to ſee that the gueſts want nothing in my power to give them.
MARLOW. That is, you act as the bar-maid of this inn.
[Page 74] Miſs HARDCASTLE. Inn. O law—What brought that in your head. One of the beſt families in the county keep an inn. Ha, ha, ha, old Mr. Hardcaſtle's houſe an inn.
MARLOW. Mr. Hardcaſtle's houſe! Is this houſe Mr. Hardcaſtle's houſe, child!
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Ay, ſure. Whoſe elſe ſhould it be.
MARLOW. So then all's out, and I have been damnably impoſed on. O, confound my ſtupid head, I ſhall be laugh'd at over the whole town. I ſhall be ſtuck up in caricatura in all the print-ſhops. The Dulliſſimo Maccaroni. To miſtake this houſe of all others for an inn, and my father's old friend for an inn-keeper. What a ſwaggering puppy muſt he take me for. What a ſilly puppy do I find myſelf. There again, may I be hang'd, my dear, but I miſtook you for the bar-maid.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Dear me! dear me! I'm ſure there's nothing in my behavour to put me upon a level with one of that ſtamp.
MARLOW. Nothing, my dear, nothing. But I was in for a liſt of blunders, and could not help making you a ſubſcriber. My ſtupidity ſaw every thing the wrong way. I miſtook your aſſiduity for aſſurance, and your ſimplicity for allurement. But its over—This houſe I no more ſhew my face in.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. 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 [Page 75] 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, people ſaid any thing amiſs, ſince I have no fortune but my character.
By heaven, ſhe weeps. This is the firſt mark of tenderneſs I ever had from a modeſt woman, and it touches me; (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, fortune and education, make an honourable connexion impoſſible; and I can never harbour a thought of ſeducing ſimplicity that truſted in my honour, or bringing ruin upon one, whoſe only fault was being too lovely.
Generous man! I now begin to admire him. (to him.) But I'm ſure my family is as good as miſs Hardcaſtle's, and though I'm poor, that's no great misfortune to a contented mind, and, until this moment, I never thought that it was bad to want fortune.
MARLOW. And why now, my pretty ſimplicity?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Becauſe it puts me at a diſtance from one, that if I had a thouſand pound I would give it all to.
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 [Page 76] 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.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I never knew half his merit till now. He ſhall not go, if I have power or art to detain him. I'll ſtill preſerve the character in which I ſtoop'd to conquer, but will undeceive my papa, who, perhaps, may laugh him out of his reſolution.
TONY. Ay, you may ſteal for yourſelves the next time. I have done my duty. She has got the jewels again, that's a ſure thing; but ſhe believes it was all a miſtake of the ſervants.
Miſs NEVILLE. But, my dear couſin, ſure you won't forſake us in this diſtreſs. If ſhe in the leaſt ſuſpects that I am going off, I ſhall certainly be locked up, or ſent to my aunt Pedigree's, which is ten times worſe.
TONY. To be ſure, aunts of all kinds are damn'd bad things. But what can I do? I have got you a pair of horſes that will fly like Whiſtlejacket, and I'm ſure you can't ſay but I have courted you nicely before her face. Here ſhe comes, we muſt court a bit or two more, for fear ſhe ſhould ſuſpect us.
[They retire, and ſeem to fondle.
[Page 77] Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well, I was greatly fluttered, to be ſure. But my ſon tells me it was all a miſtake of the ſervants. I ſhan't be eaſy, however, till they are fairly married, and then let her keep her own fortune. But what do I ſee! Fondling together, as I'm alive. I never ſaw Tony ſo ſprightly 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. HARDCASTLE. A mere ſprinkling, Tony, upon the flame, only to make it burn brighter.
Miſs NEVILLE. Couſin Tony promiſes to give us more of his company at home. Indeed, he ſhan't leave us any more. It 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 NEVILLE. Agreeable couſin! Who can help admiring that natural humour, that pleaſant, broad, red, thoughtleſs, (patting his cheek) ah! it's a bold face.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Pretty innocence.
[Page 78] TONY. I'm ſure I always lov'd 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. HARDCASTLE. 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 your's incontinently. You ſhall have them. Isn't he a ſweet boy, my dear? You ſhall be married to-morrow, and we'll put off the reſt of his education, like Dr. Drowſy's ſermons, to a fitter opportunity.
DIGGORY. Where's the 'Squire? I have got a letter for your worſhip.
TONY. Give it to my mamma. She reads all my letters firſt.
DIGGORY. I had o [...]ders to deliver it into your own hands.
TONY. Who does it come from?
DIGGORY. Your worſhip mun aſk that o' the letter itſelf.
TONY. I could wiſh to know, tho'
[turning the letter, and gazing on it.]
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 employ'd [Page 79] a little if I can. [To Mrs. Hardcaſtle.] But I have not told you, Madam, of my couſin's ſmart anſwer juſt now to Mr. Marlow. We ſo laugh'd—You muſt know, Madam—this way a little, for he muſt not hear us.
[They confer.
[Still gazing.]
A damn'd cramp piece of penmanſhip, as ever I ſaw in my life. I can read your print-hand very well. But here there are ſuch handles, and ſhanks, and daſhes, that one can ſcarce tell the head from the tail. To Anthony Lumpkin, Eſquire. It's very odd, I can read the outſide of my letters, where my own name is, well enough. But when I come to open it, it's all—buzz. That's hard, very hard; for the inſide of the letter is always the cream of the correſpondence.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Ha, ha, ha. Very well, very well. And ſo my ſon was too hard for the philoſopher.
Miſs NEVILLE. Yes, Madam; but you muſt hear the reſt, Madam. A little more this way, or he may hear us. You'll hear how he puzzled him again.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. He ſeems ſtrangely puzzled now himſelf, methinks.
[Still gazing.]
A damn'd up and down hand, as if it was diſguiſed in liquor. [Reading.] Dear Sir. Ay, that's that. Then there's an M, and a T, and an S, but whether the next be an izzard or an R, confound me, I cannot tell.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. What's that, my dear. Can I give you any aſſiſtance?
[Page 80] Miſs NEVILLE. Pray, aunt, let me read it. No body reads a cramp hand better than I. (twitching the letter from her.) Do you know who it is from?
TONY. Can't tell, except from Dick Ginger the feeder.
Miſs NEVILLE. Ay, ſo it is, (pretending to read) Dear 'Squire, Hoping that you're in health, as I am at this preſent. The gentlemen of the Shake bag club has cut the gentlemen of gooſe-green quite out of feather. The odds—um—odd battle—um—long fighting—um here, here, it's all about cocks, and fighting; it's of no conſequence, here, put it up, put it up,
[thruſting the crumpled letter upon him.
TONY. But I tell you, Miſs, it's of all the conſequence in the world. I would not loſe the reſt of it for a guinea. Here, mother, do you make it out. Of no conſequence!
[giving Mrs. Hardcaſtle the letter.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. How's this! (reads) Dear 'Squire, I'm now waiting for Miſs Neville, with a poſt-chaiſe and pair, at the bottom of the garden, but I find my horſes yet unable to perform the journey. I 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. Your's, Haſtings. Grant me patience. I ſhall run diſtracted. My rage choaks me.
Miſs NEVILLE. I hope, Madam, you'll ſuſpend your reſentment for a few moments, and not impute to me any impertinence, or ſiniſter deſign that belongs to another.
[Page 81] Mrs. HARDCASTLE.
(Curteſying very low.)
Fine ſpoken, Madam, you are moſt miraculouſly polite and engaging, and quite the very pink of curteſy and circumſpection, Madam. (Changing her tone.) And you, you great ill-faſhioned oaf, with ſcarce ſenſe enough to keep your mouth ſhut. Were you too join'd 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 ſhew you, that I wiſh you better than you do yourſelves.
Miſs NEVILLE. So now I'm completely ruined.
TONY. Ay, that's a ſure thing.
Miſs NEVILLE. 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 Gooſe-greens, that I thought you could never be making believe.
[Page 82] Enter HASTINGS.
HASTINGS. So. Sir, I find by my ſervant, that you have ſhewn my letter, and betray'd us. Was this well done, young gentleman.
TONY. Here's another. Aſk Miſs there who betray'd you. Ecod, it was her doing, not mine.
MARLOW. So I have been finely uſed here among you. Rendered contemptible, driven into ill manners, deſpiſed, inſulted, laugh'd at.
TONY. Here's another. We ſhall have old Bedlam broke looſe preſently.
Miſs NEVILLE. And there, Sir, is the gentleman to whom we all owe every obligation.
MARLOW. What can I ſay to him, a mere boy, an ideot, whoſe ignorance and age are a protection.
HASTINGS. A poor contemptible booby, that would but diſgrace correction.
Miſs NEVILLE. Yet with cunning and malice enough to make himſelf merry with all our embarraſſments.
HASTINGS. An inſenſible cub.
MARLOW. Replete with tricks and miſchief.
[Page 83] TONY. Baw! damme, but I'll fight you both one after the other,—with baſkets.
MARLOW. As for him, he's below reſentment. But your conduct, Mr. Haſtings, requires an explanation. You knew of my miſtakes, yet would not undeceive me.
HASTINGS. Tortured as I am with my own diſappointments, is this a time for explanations. It is not friendly, Mr. Marlow.
MARLOW. But, Sir—
Miſs NEVILLE. Mr. Marlow, we never kept on your miſtake, till it was too late to undeceive you. Be pacified.
SERVANT. 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 NEVILLE. Well, well; I'll come preſently.
[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.
HASTINGS. Was it well done, Sir, if you're upon that ſubject, to deliver what I entruſted to yourſelf, to the care of another, Sir.
[Page 84] Miſs NEVILLE. Mr. Haſtings. Mr. Marlow. Why will you increaſe my diſtreſs by this groundleſs diſpute. I implore, I intreat you—
SERVANT. Your cloak, Madam. My miſtreſs is impatient.
Miſs NEVILLE. I come. Pray be pacified. If I leave you thus, I ſhall die with apprehenſion.
SERVANT. Your fan, muff, and gloves, Madam. The horſes are waiting.
Miſs NEVILLE. O, Mr. Marlow! if you knew what a ſcene of conſtraint and ill-nature lies before me, I'm ſure it would convert your reſentment into pity.
MARLOW. 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.
HASTINGS. The torture of my ſituation is my only excuſe.
Miſs NEVILLE. 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 encreaſe the happineſs of our future connexion. If—
Miſs Neville. Conſtance, why Conſtance, I ſay.
[Page 85] Miſs NEVILLE. I'm coming. Well, conſtancy. Remember, conſtancy is the word.
HASTINGS. My heart! How can I ſupport this. To be ſo near happineſs, and ſuch happineſs.
[To Tony.]
You ſee now, young gentleman, the effects of your folly. What might be amuſement to you, is here diſappointment, and even diſtreſs.
[From a reverie.]
Ecod, I have hit it. Its 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 good-natur'd 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.

5. ACT V.

[Page 86]
SCENE Continues.
HASTINGS. YOU ſaw the Old Lady and Miſs Neville drive off, you ſay.
SERVANT. Yes, your honour. They went off in a poſt coach, and the young 'Squire went on horſeback. They're thirty miles off by this time.
HASTINGS. Then all my hopes are over.
SERVANT. Yes, Sir. Old Sir Charles is arrived. He and the Old Gentleman of the houſe have been laughing at Mr. Marlow's miſtake this half hour. They are coming this way.
HASTINGS. Then I muſt not be ſeen. So now to my fruitleſs appointment at the bottom of the garden. This is about the time.
HARDCASTLE. Ha, ha, ha. The peremptory tone in which he ſent forth his ſublime commands.
Sir CHARLES. And the reſerve with which I ſuppoſe he treated all your advances.
[Page 87] HARDCASTLE. And yet he might have ſeen ſomething in me above a common inn-keeper, too.
Sir CHARLES. Yes, Dick, but he miſtook you for an uncommon innkeeper, ha, ha, ha.
HARDCASTLE. Well, I'm in too good ſpirits to think of any thing but joy. Yes, my dear friend, this union of our families will make our perſonal friendſhips hereditary; and tho' my daughter's fortune is but ſmall—
Sir CHARLES. 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 encreaſe it. If they like each other, as you ſay they do—
HARDCASTLE. If, man. I tell you they do like each other. My daughter as good as told me ſo.
Sir CHARLES. But girls are apt to flatter themſelves, you know.
HARDCASTLE. I ſaw him graſp her hand in the warmeſt manner myſelf; and here he comes to put you out of your iffs, I warrant him.
MARLOW. I come, Sir, once more, to aſk pardon for my ſtrange conduct. I can ſcarce reflect on my inſolence without confuſion.
[Page 88] HARDCASTLE. Tut, boy, a trifle. You take it too gravely. An hour or two's laughing with my daughter will ſet all to rights again. She'll never like you the worſe for it.
MARLOW. Sir, I ſhall be always proud of her approbation.
HARDCASTLE. Approbation is but a cold word, Mr. Marlow; if I am not deceived, you have ſomething more than approbation thereabouts. You take me.
MARLOW. Really, Sir, I have not that happineſs.
HARDCASTLE. Come, boy, I'm an old fellow, and know what's what, as well as you that are younger. I know what has paſt between you; but mum.
MARLOW. Sure, Sir, nothing has paſt between us but the moſt profound reſpect on my ſide, and the moſt diſtant reſerve on her's. You don't think, Sir, that my impudence has been paſt upon all the reſt of the family.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Impudence! No, I don't ſay that—Not quite impudence—Though girls like to be play'd with, and rumpled a little too ſometimes. But ſhe has told no tales, I aſſure you.
MARLOW. I never gave her the ſlighteſt cauſe.
HARDCASTLE. 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 the better for it.
[Page 89] MARLOW. May I die. Sir, if I ever—
HARDCASTLE. I tell you, ſhe don't diſlike you; and as I'm ſure you like her—
MARLOW. Dear Sir—I proteſt, Sir—
HARDCASTLE. I ſee no reaſon why you ſhould not be joined as faſt as the parſon can tie you.
MARLOW. But hear me, Sir—
HARDCASTLE. Your father approves the match, I admire it, every moment's delay will be doing miſchief, ſo—
MARLOW. But why won't you hear me? By all that's juſt and true, I never gave miſs 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.
This fellow's formal modeſt impudence is beyond bearing.
Sir CHARLES. And you never graſp'd her hand, or made any proteſtations!
MARLOW. 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 further proofs of my duty, nor prevent me from leaving a houſe in which I ſuffer ſo many mortifications.
[Page 90] Sir CHARLES. I'm aſtoniſh'd at the air of ſincerity with which he parted.
HARDCASTLE. And I'm aſtoniſh'd at the deliberate intrepidity of his aſſurance.
Sir CHARLES. I dare pledge my life and honour upon his truth.
HARDCASTLE. Here comes my daughter, and I would ſtake my happineſs upon her veracity.
HARDCASTLE. Kate, come hither, child. Anſwer us ſincerely, and without reſerve; has Mr. Marlow made you any profeſſions of love and affection?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. The queſtion is very abrupt, Sir! But ſince you require unreſerved ſincerity, I think he has.
(To Sir Charles)
You ſee.
Sir CHARLES. And pray, madam, have you and my ſon had more than one interview?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Yes, Sir, ſeveral.
(To Sir Charles)
You ſee.
Sir CHARLES. But did he profeſs any attachment?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. A laſting one.
Sir CHARLES. Did he talk of love?
[Page 91] Miſs HARDCASTLE. Much, Sir.
Sir CHARLES. Amazing! And all this formally?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Formally.
HARDCASTLE. Now, my friend, I hope you are ſatisfied.
Sir CHARLES. And how did he behave, madam?
Miſs HARDCASTLE. As moſt profeſt admirers do. Said ſome civil things of my face, talked much of his want of merit, and the greatneſs of mine; mentioned his heart, gave a ſhort tragedy ſpeech, and ended with pretended rapture.
Sir CHARLES. 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 ſate for the picture.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. 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 CHARLES. Agreed. And if I find him what you deſcribe, all my happineſs in him muſt have an end.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. And if you don't find him what I deſcribe—I fear my happineſs muſt never have a beginning.
[Page 92] SCENE changes to the Back of the Garden.
HASTINGS. What an ideot 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, bocted and ſpattered.
HASTINGS. 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.
HASTINGS. 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 ſmoaked for it: Rabbet me, but I'd rather ride forty miles after a fox, than ten with ſuch varment.
HASTINGS. 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.
[Page 93] HASTINGS. This is a riddle.
TONY. Riddle me this then. What's that goes round the houſe, and round the houſe, and never touches the houſe?
HASTINGS. I'm ſtill aſtray.
TONY. Why that's it, mon. I have led them aſtray. By jingo, there's not a pond or ſlough within five miles of the place but they can tell the taſte of.
HASTINGS. Ha, ha, ha, I underſtand; you took them in a round, while they ſuppoſed themſelves going forward. And ſo you have at laſt brought them home again.
TONY. You ſhall hear. I firſt took them down Feather-bed-lane, where we ſtuck faſt in the mud. I then rattled them crack over the ſtones of Up-and-down Hill—I then introduc'd them to the gibbet on Heavy-tree Heath, and from that, with a circumbendibus, I fairly lodged them in the horſepond at the bottom of the garden.
HASTINGS. But no accident, I hope.
TONY. No, no. Only mother is confoundedly frightened. She thinks herſelf forty miles off. She's ſick of the journey, and the cattle can ſcarce crawl. So if your own horſes be ready, you may whip off with couſin, and I'll be bound that no ſoul here can budge a foot to follow you.
HASTINGS. My dear friend, how can I be grateful?
[Page 94] TONY. Ay, now its dear friend, noble 'Squire. Juſt now, it was all ideot, cub, and run me through the guts. Damn your way of fighting, I ſay. After we take a knock in this part of the country, we kiſs and be friends. But if you had run me through the guts, then I ſhould be dead, and you might go kiſs the hangman.
HASTINGS. 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. HARDCASTLE. Oh, Tony, I'm killed. Shook. Battered to death. I ſhall never ſurvive it. That laſt jolt that laid us againſt the quickſet hedge has done my buſineſs.
TONY. Alack, mama, it was all your own fault. You would be for running away by night, without knowing one inch of the way.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I wiſh we were at home again. I never met ſo many accidents in ſo ſhort a journey. Drench'd in the mud, overturn'd in a ditch, ſtuck faſt in a ſlough, jolted to a jelly, and at laſt to loſe our way. Whereabouts do you think we are, Tony?
[Page 95] TONY. By my gueſs we ſhould be upon Crackſkull common, about forty miles from home.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. O lud! O lud! the moſt notorious ſpot in all the country. We only want a robbery to make a complete night on't.
TONY. Don't be afraid, mama, 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; its only a tree. Don't be afraid.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. The fright will certainly kill me.
TONY. Do you ſee any thing like a black hat moving behind the thicket?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. O death!
TONY. No, it's only a cow. Don't be afraid, mama; don't be afraid.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. 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.
Father-in-law, by all that's unlucky, come to take one of his night walks. [To her.] Ah, it's a highwayman, with piſtils as long as my arm. A damn'd ill-looking fellow.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Good heaven defend us! He approaches.
TONY. Do you hide yourſelf in that thicket, and leave me to manage him. If there be any danger I'll [Page 96] cough and cry hem. When I cough be ſure to keep cloſe.
[Mrs. Hardcaſtle hides behind a tree in the back ſcene.
HARDCASTLE. 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.
[From behind.]
Ah death! I find there's danger.
HARDCASTLE. Forty miles in three hours; ſure, that's too much, my youngſter.
TONY. Stout horſes and willing minds make ſhort journies, as they ſay. Hem.
[From behind.]
Sure he'll do the dear boy no harm.
HARDCASTLE. 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.
HARDCASTLE. But if you talk'd to yourſelf, you did not anſwer yourſelf. I am certain I heard two voices, and am reſolved (raiſing his voice) to find the other out.
[Page 97] Mrs. HARDCASTLE.
(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.
HARDCASTLE. I tell you, I will not be detained. I inſiſt on ſeeing. It's in vain to expect I'll believe you.
(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 any mercy.
HARDCASTLE. My wife! as I'm a Chriſtian. From whence can ſhe come, or what does ſhe mean!
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.
HARDCASTLE. I believe the woman's out of her ſenſes. What, Dorothy, don't you know me?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. 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 us?
HARDCASTLE. Sure, Dorothy, you have not loſt your wits. So far from home, when you are within forty [Page 98] 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 horſepond, my dear?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Yes, I ſhall remember the horſepond 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, I will.
TONY. Ecod, mother, all the pariſh ſays you have ſpoil'd me, and ſo you may take the fruits on't.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I'll ſpoil you, I will.
[Follows him off the ſtage. Exit.
HARDCASTLE. There's morality, however, in his reply.
HASTINGS. 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 NEVILLE. 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 happineſs.
HASTINGS. 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 encreaſe what we poſſeſs beyond a monarch's revenue. Let me prevail.
[Page 99] Miſs NEVILLE. 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.
HASTINGS. But tho' he had the will, he has not the power to relieve you.
Miſs NEVILLE. But he has influence, and upon that I am reſolved to rely.
HASTINGS. I have no hopes. But ſince you perſiſt, I muſt reluctantly obey you.
SCENE Changes.
Sir CHARLES. 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 wiſh'd for a daughter.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. I am proud of your approbation, and to ſhew I merit it, if you place yourſelves as I directed, you ſhall hear his explicit declaration. But he comes.
Sir CHARLES. I'll to your father, and keep him to the appointment.
[Exit Sir Charles.
[Page 100] Enter MARLOW.
MARLOW. Tho' prepar'd for ſetting out, I come once more to take leave, nor did I, till this moment, know the pain I feel in the ſeparation.
(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 ſhewing the little value of what you now think proper to regret.
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 HARDCASTLE. Then go, Sir. I'll urge nothing more to detain you. Tho' my family be as good as her's you came down to viſit, and my education, I hope, not inferior, what are theſe advantages without equal affluence? I muſt remain contented with the ſlight approbation of imputed merit; I muſt have only the mockery of your addreſſes, while all your ſerious aims are fix'd on fortune.
Enter HARDCASTLE and Sir CHARLES from behind.
Sir CHARLES. Here, behind this ſcreen.
[Page 101] HARDCASTLE. Ay, Ay, make no noiſe. I'll engage my Kate covers him with confuſion at laſt.
MARLOW. 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 ſeem'd ruſtic plainneſs, now appears refin'd ſimplicity. What ſeem'd forward aſſurance, now ſtrikes me as the reſult of courageous innocence, and conſcious virtue.
Sir CHARLES. What can it mean! He amazes me!
HARDCASTLE. I told you how it would be. Huſh!
MARLOW. 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 HARDCASTLE. 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 your's?
MARLOW. 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 tho' you ſhould perſiſt to ſhun me, I [Page 102] will make my reſpectful aſſiduities atone for the levity of my paſt conduct.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. 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 feriouſly, 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?
Does this look like ſecurity. Does this look like confidence. No, Madam, every moment that ſhews me your merit only ſerves to encreaſe my diffidence and confuſion. Here let me continue—
Sir CHARLES. I can hold it no longer. Charles, Charles, how haſt thou deceived me! Is this your indifference, your unintereſting converſation!
HARDCASTLE. Your cold contempt; your formal interview. What have you to ſay now?
MARLOW. That I'm all amazement! What can it mean!
HARDCASTLE. It means that you can ſay and unſay things at pleaſure. That you can addreſs a lady in private, and deny it in public; that you have one ſtory for us, and another for my daughter.
[Page 103] MARLOW. Daughter!—this lady your daughter!
HARDCASTLE. Yes, Sir, my only daughter. My Kate, whoſe elſe ſhould ſhe be.
MARLOW. Oh, the devil.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. Yes, Sir, that very identical tall ſquinting lady you were pleaſed to take me for, (curteſying.) 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.
MARLOW. Zounds, there's no bearing this; it's worſe than death.
Miſs HARDCASTLE. In which of your characters, Sir, will you give us leave to addreſs you. As the faultering 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.
MARLOW. O, curſe on my noiſy head. I never attempted to be impudent yet, that I was not taken down. I muſt be gone.
HARDCASTLE. 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.
[Page 104] Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE. TONY.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. So, ſo, they're gone off. Let them go, I care not.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. My dutiful niece and her gentleman, Mr. Haſtings, from Town. He who came down with our modeſt viſitor here.
Sir CHARLES. Who, my honeſt George Haſtings. As worthy a fellow as lives, and the girl could not have made a more prudent choice.
HARDCASTLE. Then, by the hand of my body, I'm proud of the connexion.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well, if he has taken away the lady, he has not taken her fortune, that remains in this family to conſole us for her loſs.
HARDCASTLE. Sure Dorothy you would not be ſo mercenary?
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Ay, that's my affair, not your's. But you know if your ſon, when of age, refuſes to marry his couſin, her whole fortune is then at her own diſpoſal.
HARDCASTLE. Ay, but he's not of age, and ſhe has not thought proper to wait for his refuſal.
What returned ſo ſoon, I begin not to like it.
(To Hardcaſtle.)
For my late attempt to fly off with your niece, let my preſent confuſion be [Page 105] 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 NEVILLE. Since his death, I have been obliged to ſtoop to diſſimulation to avoid oppreſſion. In an hour of levity, I was ready even to give up my fortune to ſecure my choice. But I'm now recover'd from the deluſion, and hope from your tenderneſs what is denied me from a nearer connexion.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Pſhaw, pſhaw, this is all but the whining end of a modern novel.
HARDCASTLE. 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?
TONY. What ſignifies my refuſing. You know I can't refuſe her till I'm of age, father.
HARDCASTLE. While I thought concealing your age boy was likely to conduce to your improvement, I concurred with your mother's deſire to keep it ſecret. But ſince I find ſhe turns it to a wrong uſe, I muſt now declare, you have been of age theſe three months.
TONY. Of age! Am I of age, father?
HARDCASTLE. Above three months.
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, [Page 106] 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 CHARLES. O brave 'Squire.
HASTINGS. My worthy friend.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. My undutiful offspring.
MARLOW. 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.
(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.
(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 miſtakenn in the miſtreſs, my wiſh is, that you may never be miſtaken in the wife.

EPILOGUE To be Spoken in the Character of TONY LUMPKIN.

WELL—now all's ended—and my comrades gone,
Pray what becomes of mother's nonly ſon?
A hopeful blade!—in town I'll fix my ſtation,
And try to make a bluſter in the nation.
As for my couſin Neville, I renounce her,
Off—in a crack—I'll carry big Bett Bouncer.
Why ſhould not I in the great world appear?
I ſoon ſhall have a thouſand pounds a year;
No matter what a man may here inherit,
In London—'gad, they've ſome regard to ſpirit.
I ſee the horſes prancing up the ſtreets,
And big Bet Bouncer, bobs to all ſhe meets;
Then hoikes to jiggs and paſtimes ev'ry night—
Not to the plays—they ſay it a'n't polite,
To Sadler's-Wells perhaps, or Operas go,
And once by chance, to the roratorio.
Thus here and there, for ever up and down,
We'll ſet the faſhions too, to half the town;
And then at auctions—money ne'er regard,
Buy pictures like the great, ten pounds a yard;
Zounds, we ſhall make theſe London gentry ſay,
We know what's damn'd genteel, as well as they. 1
* This came too late to be Spoken.