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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
Hast. Ay, among them you are impudent enough of all conscience.
Mar. They are of us you know.
Hast. But in the company of women of reputation I never saw such an idiot, such a trembler ; you look for all the world as if you wanted an opportunity of stealing out of the room.
Mar. Why man that's because I do want to steal out of the room. Faith, I have often formed 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 impu. dence.
Hast. 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.
Mar. 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.
Hast. Ha! ha! ha! At this rate, man, how can you ever expect to marry.
Mar. 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 star-question, of, Madam, will you marry me? No, no, that's a strain much above me, I assure you. · Hast. I pity you. But how do you intend behaving to the lady you are come down to visit at the request of your father? - Mar. As I behave to all other ladies. Bow very low. Answer yes, or no, to all her demands—But for the rest, I don't think I shall venture to look in her face, till I see my father's again.
Hast. I'm surprised that one who is so warm a friend can be so cool a lover.
Mar. 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.
Hast. 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 for assistance. But Miss Neville's person is all I ask, and that is mine, both from her de. ceased father's consent; and her own inclination.
Mar. 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 awkward 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.
Hard. Gentlemen, once more you are heartily wel. come. 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 style at my gate. I like to see their horses and trunks taken care of.
Mar. [ Aside.] He has got our names from the servants already. [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.
Hard. I beg, Mr. Marlow, you'll use no ceremony in this house.
Hast. I fancy, George, you're right: the first blow is half the battle. I intend opening the campaign with the white and gold.
Hard. Mr. Marlow-Mr. Hastings-gentlemenpray be under no restraint in this house. This is Li. berty-hall, gentlemen. You may do just as you please here.
Mar. 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.
Hard. Your talking of a retreat, Mr. Marlow, puts me in mind of the Duke of Marlborough, when he went to besiege Denain. He first summoned the garrison.
Mar. Don't you think the ventre dor waistcoat will do with the plain brown?
Hard. He first summoned the garrison, which might consist of about five thousand men
Hast. I think not : Brown and yellow mix but very poorly.
Hard. I say, gentlemen, as I was telling you, he summoned the garrison, which might consist of about five thousand men. Mar. The girls like finery. .
Hard. 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. Som
Mar. What, my good friend, if you give us a glass of punch in the mean time, it would help us to carry on the siege with vigour.
Hard. Punch, Sir! [Aside] This is the most unaccountable kind of modesty I ever met with.
Mar. Yes, Sir, punch. A glass of warm punch, after our journey, will be comfortable. This is Liberty-hall, you know..
Hard. Here's Cup, Sir. Mer. [ Aside] So this fellow, in his Liberty-hall, will only let us have just what he pleases.
Hard. [Taking the cup] I hope you'll find it to your mind. I have prepar'd 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. [Drinks.
Mar. [Aside] A very impudent fellow this ! but he's a character, and I'll humour him a little. Sir, my service to you. [Drinks. ]
Hast. [ Aside] I see this fellow wants to give us his company, and forgets that he's an inn-keeper, before he has learned to be a gentleman.
Mar. 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.
Hard. 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
Hast. So, then you have no turn for politics, I find.
Hard. 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