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Miss Hard. Then as one of us must be mistaken, what if we go to make further discoveries?
Hard. Agreed. But depend on't I'm in the right.
Miss Hard. And depend on't I'm not much in the wrong. [Exeunt.
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 sha'n't cheat the poor souls out of their fortin neither. O, my genus, is that you?
Hast. My dear friend, how have you managed with your mother? I hope you have amus'd her with pretending love for your cousin, and that you are willing to be reconciled at last? We shall be ready to set off in a short time.
Tony. And here's something to bear your charges by the way. [Giving a casket.] Your sweetheart's jewels. Keep them, and hang those, I say, that would rob you of one of them.
Hast. 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.
Hast. 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 toon part with the only sound tooth in her head.
Hast. 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. Mortice. Prance. [Exit Hastings.
Enter Mrs. Hardcastle and Miss Neville.
Mrs. Hard. 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 beautybegins to want repairs.
Miss Nev. But what will repair beauty at forty, will certainly improve it at twenty, madam.
Mrs. Hard, 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-daylight, and Mrs. Crump, and the rest of them, carry their jewels to town, and bring nothing but paste and marcasites back.
Miss Nev. But who knows, madam, but somebody that shall be nameless would like me best with all my little finery about me?
Mrs. Hard. 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, doe* your cousin Con want any jewels, in your eyes, to set off her beauty.
Tony. That's as thereafter may be.
Miss Nev. My dear aunt, if you knew how it would oblige me.
Mrs. Hard. A parcel of old-fashion'd rose and tablecut things. They would make you look like the court of King Solomon at a puppet-show. Besides, I believe I can't readily come at them. They may be missing, for aught I know to the contrary.
Tony. [Apart to Mrs. Hard.] 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.
Mrs. Hard. [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.
Miss Nev. I desire them but for a day, madam. Just to be permitted to show them as relics, and then they. may be be lock'd up again.
Mrs. Hard. 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 Nev. 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. Hard. 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. Hard. You must learn resignation, my dear; for though we lose our fortune, yet we should not lose our patience. See me, how calm I am.
Miss Nev. Ay, people are generally calm at the misfortunes of others.
Mrs. Hard. Now, I wonder a girl of your good sense should waste a thought upon such trumpery. We shall soon find them; and, in the meantime, you shall make use of my garnets till your jewels be found. Miss Nev. I detest garnets.
Mrs. Hard. The most becoming things in the world to set off a clear complexion. You have often seen how well they looked upon me. You shall have them.
Miss Nev. 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 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 Nev. My dear cousin!
Tony. Vanish. She's here, and has missed them already. Zounds! how she fidgets and spits about, like a Catherine wheel!
Enter Mrs. Hardcastle.
Mrs. Hard. 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. Hard. 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 never saw it better acted in my life. Ecod, I thought you was ruin'd in earnest—Ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. Hard. Why, boy, I am ruined 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. Hard. 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. Hard. 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. Hard- 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. Hard. 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 the one hand, and thieves on the other.
Tony. I can bear witness to that.
Mrs. Hard. 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. Hard. Do you insult me, monster? I'll teach you to vex your mother, I will. Here,-thieves, thieves, thieves, thieves! [He runs off, she follows him.
Enter Miss Hardcastle and Maid.
Miss Hard. 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 barmaid? He mistook you for the barmaid, madam.
Miss Hard. Did he? Then as I live I'm resolv'd to keep up the delusion. Tell me, Dolly, 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