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find they have no reason, you attack them with this. Here's your health, my philosopher. [Drinks.
Hard. 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.
Mar. Instead of the battle of Belgrade, I think it's almost time to talk about supper. What has your philosophy got in the house for supper?
Hard. For supper, sir! [Aside.'] Was ever such a request to a man in his own house!
Mar. Yes, sir, supper, sir; I begin to feel an appetite. I shall make devilish work to-night in the larder, I promise you.
Hard. [Aside.] Such a brazen dog sure never my eyes beheld. [To Marlow.] Why, really, sir, as for supper, I can't well tell. My Dorothy, and the cookmaid, settle these things between them. I leave these kind of things entirely to them.
Mar. You do, do yon?
Hard. Entirely. By-the-bye, I believe they are in actual consultation upon what's for supper this moment in the kitchen.
Mar. Then I beg they'll admit me as one of their privy council. It's a way I have got. When I travel, I always choose to regulate my own supper. Let the cook be called. No offence, I hope, sir.
Hard. 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.
Hast. Let's see the list of the larder then. I ask it as a favour. I always match my appetite to my bill of fare.
Mar. [ To Hardcastle, who looks at them with surprise.] Sir, he's very right, and it's my way too.
Hard. 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 Gunthorp. It was a saying of his, that no man was sure of his supper till he had eaten it.
Hast. [Aside.] All upon the high ropes! His unci* a colonel! we shall soon hear of his mother being a justice of peace. But let's hear the bill of fare.
Mar. [Perusing.'] What's here? For the first course, for the second course; for the dessert. The devil, sir, do you think we have brought down the whole joiner's company, or the corporation of Bedford? two or three little things, clean and comfortable, will do.
Hast. But, let's hear it.
Mar. [Reading.] For the first course at the top, a pig's face and prune sauce.
Hast. D—n your pig, I say.
Mar. D—n your prune sauce, say I.
Hard. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry, pig, with prune sauce, is very good eating. But, gentlemen, you are my guests, make what alterations you please. Is there any thing else you wish to retrench or alter, gentlemen?
Mar. 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.
Hard. I entreat you'll leave all that to me. You shall not stir a step.
Mar. Leave that to you! I protest, sir, you must excuse me, I always look to these things myself.
Hard. I must insist, sir, you'll make yourself easy on that head.
Mar. You see I'm resolved on it. [Aside.] A very troublesome fellow this, as ever I met with.
Hard. 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.
Hast. 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!
Enter Miss Neville.
Mi*s Nev. Hastings! To what unexpected good fortune, to what accident, am I to ascribe this happy meeting?
Hast. Let me ask the same question, as I could never have hoped to meet my dearest Constance at an inn.
Miss Nev. An inn ! Sure you mistake! my aunt, my guardian, lives here. What could induce you to think this house an inn?
Hast. 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 Nev. Certainly it must be one of my hopeful cousin's tricks, of whom you have heard me talk so often; ha! ha! ha! ha!
Hast. He whom your aunt intends for you? He of whom I have such just apprehensions?
Miss Nev. 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.
Hast. 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 the journey, but they'll soon be refreshed; and then, if my dearest girl will trust in her faithful Hastings we shall soon be out of their power. '.
Miss Nev. 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.
Hast. Perish the baubles! Your person is all I desire. In the mean time, 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 Nev. But how shall we keep him in the deception? Miss Hardcastle is just returned from walking; what if we persuade him she is come to thishouse as to an inn? This way.
Enter Ma Blow. y:. *J«- Jj)
Mar. The assiduities of these good peopTe^teare 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 through all the rest of the family—What have we got here?
Hast. My dear Charles! Let me congratulate you —The most fortunate accident!—Who do you think is just alighted?
3 ar. Cannot guess.
Hast. 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, anil will be back in an instant. Wasn't it lucky, eh?
Mar. [Aside.] I have just been mortified enough of all conscience, and here comes something to complete my embarrassment.
Hast. Well, but wasn't it the most fortunate thing in the world?
Mar. O, yes, very fortunate—a most joyful encounter! But our dresses, George, you know, 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 Nev. By no means sir. Your ceremony will displease her. The disorder of your dress will show the ardour of your impatience. Besides, she knows you are in the house, and will permit you to see her.
Mar. 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.
Hast. Pshaw, man ! it's but the first plunge, and all's over. She's but a woman, you know.
Mar. And of all women, she that I dread most to encounter!
Enter Miss Hardcastle as returning from walking, a bonnet, tfc.
Hast. [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.
Miss Hard. [Aside.] Now for meeting my modest gentleman. [After a pause, in which he appear* very