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Mrs. Hard. My son, sir. They are contracted to each other. Observe their little sports. They quarrel and make it up again 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's 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. Hard. Never mind him, Con, my dear. He's in another story behind your back.
Miss Nev. There's something generous in my cousin's manner. He falls out before faces to be forgiven in private.
Tony. That's a d—ned confounded crack.
Mrs. Hard. 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. Hard. Is this, ungrateful boy, all that I'm to get for the pains I have taken in your education? Did not I work that waistcoat and those ruffles to make you look like a gentleman?
Tony. Ecod! I tell you, I'll not be made a fool of no longer.
Mrs. Hard. 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. Hard. That's false ; I never see you when you're in spirits. No, Tony, you then go to the ale-house 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. Hard. Was ever the like? But I see he wants to break my heart, I see he does.
Hast. Dear madam, permit me to lecture the young gentleman a little. I'm certain I can persuade him to his duty.
Mrs. Hard. 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.
Tony. Don't mind her. 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.
Hast. Then you're no friend to the ladies, I find, my pretty young gentleman?
Tony. That's as I find 'um.
Hast. Not to her of your mother's choosing, I dare answer? And yet she appears to me a pretty, welltempered girl.
Tony. That's because you don't know her as well as L Ecod! I know every inch about her; and there's not a more bitter cantanckerous toad in all Christendom.
Hast. [Aside.'] 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.
Hast. To me she appears sensible and silent.
Tony. Ay, before company. But when she's with her playmates, she's as loud as a hog in a gate.
Hast. 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.
Hast. Well, what say you to a friend, that would take this bitter bargain off your hands?
Hast. 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?
Hast. 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.
Hast. 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.
Scene I.—A Room in Hardcastle's House.
Enter Hardcastle. Hard. 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 fireside 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 dressed.
Well, my Kate, I see you have changed your dress at I bid you; and yet, I believe, there was no great occasion.
Miss Hard. I find such a pleasure, sir, in obeying your commands, that I take care to observe them without ever debating their propriety.
Hard. And yel, Kate, I sometimes give you some cause, particularly when I recommended my modest gentleman to you as a lover to-day.
Miss Hard. You taught me to expect something extraordinary, and I find the original exceeds the description.
Hard. I was never so surprised in my life! He has quite confounded all my faculties!
Miss Hard. I never saw any thing like it: and a man of the world too!
Hard. 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 Hard. It seems all natural to him.
Hard. A good deal assisted by bad company, and a French dancing-master.
Miss Hard. Sure you mistake, papa! a French dancing-master could never have taught him that timid look—that awkward address—that bashful manner
Hard. Whose look? whose manner, child? Miss Hard. Mr. Marlow's: his mauvaise honte, his timidity struck me at the first sight.
. Hard. Then your first sight deceived you; for I think him one of the most brazen first sights that ever astonished my senses.
Miss Hard. Sure, sir, you rally! I never saw any one so modest.
Hard. 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 Hard. Surprising! He met me with a respectful bow, a stammering voice, and a look fixed on the ground.
Hard. He met me with a loud voice, a lordly air, and a familiarity that froze me to death.
Miss Hard. 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.
Hard. 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 talking of the Duke of Marlborough and my friend Bruce, 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 Hard. One of us must certainly be mistaken.
Hard. In one thing, however, we are agreed—to reject him.
Miss Hard. 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 man is well enough for a
man—Certainly he has a very passable complexion.
Hard. If we should find him so But that's impossible. The first appearance has done my business; I'm seldom deceived in that.