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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.
Miss Hard. Is he?
Hard. Very generous.
Miss Hard. I believe I shall like him.
Hard. Young and brave.
Miss Hard. I'm sure I shall like him.
Hard. And very handsome.
Miss Hard. My dear papa, say no more, [Kissing his hand.] he's mine, I'll have him.
Hard. And, to crown all, Kate, he's one of the most bashful and reserved young fellows in all the world.
Miss Hard. 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.
Hard. 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.
Mttt Hard. 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.
Hard. Ay, Kate, but there's still an obstacle. It's more than an even wager he may not have you.
Miss Hard. 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.
Hard. Bravely resolved! In the meantime I'll go prepare the servants for his reception; as we seldom
VOl. IV. K
see company, they want as much training as a company of recruits, the first day's muster. [Exit.
Miss Hard. Lud, this news of papa's puts me all in aflutter. Young, handsome; these he put last; but I put them foremost. Sensible, goodnatured; 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.
Enter Miss Neville.
Miss Hard. I'm glad you're come, 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 Nev. 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 Hard. No; nothing of all this. I have been
threatened—I can scarce get it out I have been
threatened with a lover.
Miss Nev. And his name
Miss Hard. Is Marlow.
Miss Nev. Indeed!
Miss Hard. The son of Sir Charles Marlow.
Miss Nev. 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 Hard. Never.
Mil* Nev. 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 Hard. An odd character indeed. I shall never be able 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 Nev. I have just come from one of our agreeable tete-a-tetes. She has been saying a hundred tender things, and setting off her pretty monster as the very pink of perfection.
Miss Hard. And her partiality is such, that she actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the sole management of it, I'm not surprised to see her unwilling to let it go out of the family.
Miss Nev. 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 Hard. My good brother holds out stoutly. I could almost love him for hating you so.
Miss Nev. It is a goodnatured 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 Hard. Would it were bed-time, and all were well. [Exeunt. Scene II —An Alehouse Room.
Several shabby Fellows, tvithpunch and tobacco. Tony at the head of the table, a little higher than the rest: a mallei in his hand.
. All. Bravo, bravo!
1st Fel. The 'squire has got spunk in him.
2d Fel. I loves to hear him sing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low.
3d Fel. O d—n any thing that's low, I cannot bear it. ; 4th Fel. The genteel thing is the genteel thing at any time. If so be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
3c? Fel. I like the maxim of it, Master Muggins. What though 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.
2d Fel. 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 show you what it was to keep choice of company.
2c? Fel. 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 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?
Land. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise at the door. They have lost their way up o' 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.— Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. [Exit Landlord.] Gentlemen, as they may'nt be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon. [Exeunt Mor.] 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.
Mar. What a tedious, uncomfortable day have we had of it! We were told it was but forty miles across the country, and we have come above threescore.
Hast. And all, Marlow, from that unaccountable reserve of yours, that would not let us inquire more frequently on the way.
Mar. 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.
Hast. At present, however, we are not likely to receive any answer.
Tony. No offence, gentlemen. But I'm told you have been inquiring for one Mr. Hardcastle, in these parts. Do you know what part of the country you are in?
Hast. Not in the least, sir, but should thank you for information.
Tony. Nor the way you came?