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Mar. Never saw a more sprightly malicious eye. Yes, yes, my dear, I did call. Have you got any of your -what d'ye call it, in the house ?
Miss Hard. No, Sir, we have been out of that these ten days.
Mar. One may call in this house, I find, to very little purpose. Suppose I should call for a taste, just by way of trial, of the nectar of your lips; perhaps I might be disappointed in that too.
Miss Hard. Nectar! nectar! that's a liquor there's no call for in these parts. French, I suppose. We keep no French wines here, Sir.
Mar. Of true English growth, I assure you.
Miss Hard. Then it's odd I should not know it. We brew all sorts of wines in this house, and I have lived here these eighteen years.
Mar. Eighteen years! Why one would think, child, you kept the bar before you were born. How old are you?
Miss Hard. O! Sir, I must not tell my age. They say women and music should never be dated.
Mar. To guess at this distance, you can't be much above forty (approaching. ] Yet nearer I don't think so much (approaching.] By coming close to some women they look younger still ; but when we come very close indeed [attempting to kiss her].
Miss Hard. Pray, Sir, keep your distance. One would think you wanted to know one's age as they do horses, by mark of mouth.
Mar. I protest, child, you use me extremely ill.
I find you
If you keep me at this distance, how is it possible you and I can be ever acquainted ?
Miss Hard. And who wants to be acquainted with you? I want no such acquaintance, not I. I'm sure you did not treat Miss Hardcastle that was here a while
ago in this obstropalous manner. l'll warrant me, before her you look'd dash'd, and kept bowing to the ground, and talk'd, for all the world, as if you was before a justice of the peace.
Mar. [Aside] Egad ! she has hit it, sure enough. [To her. ] In awe of her, child ? Ha! ha! ha! A mere, awkward, squinting thing, no, no. don't know me. I laugh’d, and rallied her a little ; but I was unwilling to be too severe. No, I could not be too severe, curse me !
Miss Hard. O! then, Sir, you are a favourite, I find, among the ladies ?
Mar. Yes, my dear, a great favourite. hang me, I don't see what they find in me to follow. At the Ladies club in town, I'm call'd their agreeaable Rattle. Rattle, child, is not my real name, but one I'm known by. My name is Solomons. Mr. Solomons, my dear, at your service. [Offering to salute her. ]
Miss Hard. Hold, Sir ; you were introducing me to your club, not to yourself. And you're so great a favourite there you say?
Mar. Yes, my dear. There's Mrs. Mantrap, Lady Betty Blackleg, the Countess of Sligo, Mrs.
Longhorns, old Miss Biddy Buckskin, and your humble servant, keep up the spirit of the place.
Miss Hard. Then it's a very merry place, I suppose.
Mar. Yes, as merry as cards, suppers, wine, and old women can make us.
Miss Hard. And their agreeable Rattle, ha! ha! ha!
Mar. [ Aside.] Egad! I don't quite like this chit. She looks knowing, methinks. You laugh, child !
Miss Hard. I can't but laugh to think what time they all have for minding their work or their family.
Mar. [ Aside] All's well, she don't laugh at me. [To her] Do you ever work, child?
Miss Hard. Ay, sure. There's not a screen or a quilt in the whole house but what can bear witness to that.
Mar. Odso! Then you must shew me your embroidery. I embroider and draw patterns myself a little. If you want a judge of your work you must apply to me.
(Seizing her hand. Miss Hard. Ay, but the colours don't look well by candle-light. You shall see all in the morning.
[Struggling Mar. And why not now, my angel ? Such beauty fires beyond the power of resistance. -Pshaw ! the father here! My old luck! I never nick'd seven that I did not throw ames ace three times following.
Enter HARDCASTLE, who stands in surprise. Hard. So, madam! So I find this is your modest lover. This is your humble admirer that kept his eyes fixed on the ground, and only ador'd at humble distance. Kate, Kate, art thou not asham'd to deceive your father so?
Miss Hard. Never trust me, dear papa, but he's still the modest man I first took him for; you'll be convinced of it as well as I.
Hard. By the hand of my body I believe his impudence is infectious! Didn't I see him seize your hand? Didn't I see him hawl you about like a milk maid ? and now you talk of his respect and his modesty, forsooth!
Miss Hard. But if I shortly convince you of his modesty, that he has only the faults that will pass off with time, and the virtues that will improve with age, I hope you'll forgive him.
Hard. The girl would actually make one run mad; I tell you I'll not be convinced. I am convinced. He has scarcely been three hours in the house, and he has already encroached on all my prerogatives. You may like his impudence, and call it modesty. But my son-in-law, Madam, must have very
Miss Hard. Sir, I ask but this night to convince you.
Hard. You shall not have half the time, for I have thoughts of turning him out this very hour.
Miss Hard. Give me that hour then, and I hope to satisfy you.
Hard. Well, an hour let it be then. But I'll have no trifling with your father. All fair and open, do you mind me.
Miss Hard. I hope, Sir, you have ever found that I considered your commands as my pride ; for your kindness is such, that my duty as yet has been incli. nation.
ACT IV. SCENE 1.
Enter HASTINGS aud Miss NEVILLE.
Hastings. You surprise me! Sir Charles Marlow expected here this night? Where have you had
Miss Neu. You may depend upon it. I just saw nis letter to Mr. Hardcastle, in which he tells him he intends setting out a few hours after his son.
Hast. Then, my Constance, all must be completed before he arrives. He knows me ; and should he find me here, would discover my name, and perhaps my designs, to the rest of the family.
Miss Nev. The jewels, I hope, are safe.
Hast. Yes, yes. I have sent them to Marlow, who keeps the keys of our baggage. In the mean time, I'll go to prepare matters for our elopement. I have