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Tony. To be sure, aunts of all kinds are damn'd bad things. But what can I do? I have got you a pair of horses that will fy like Whistlejacket, and I'm sure you can't say but I have courted you nicely before her face. Here she comes, we must court a bit or two more, for fear she should suspect us.
[ They retire and seem to fondle.
Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE.
Mrs. Hard. Well, I was greatly fluttered, to be
I shan't be easy, however, till they are fairly married, and then let her keep her own fortune, But what do I see! Fondling together, as I'm alive. I never saw Tony so sprightly before. Ah! have I caught you, my pretty doves! What, billing, exchanging stolen glances, and broken murmurs. Ah!
Tony. As for murmurs, mother, we grumble a little now and then, to be sure. But there's no love lost between us.
Mrs. Hard. A mere sprinkling, Tony, upon the fame, only to make it burn brighter.
Miss Nev. Cousin Tony promises to give us more of his company at home. Indeed he shan't leave us any more.
It won't leave us, cousin Tony, will it? Tony. O! it's a pretty creature. No, I'd sooner leave my horse in a pound, than leave you when you smile upon one so. Your laugh makes you so be. coming.
Miss Nev. Agreeable cousin! who can help admiring that natural humour, that pleasant, broad, red, thoughtless, [ patting his cheek] ah! it's a bold face.
Mrs. Hard. Pretty innocence.
Tony. I'm sure I always lov'd cousin Con's hazel eyes, and her pretty long fingers, that she twists this way and that, over the haspicholls, like a parcel of bobbins.
Mrs. Hard. Ah, he would charm the bird from the tree. I was never so happy before. My boy takes after his father, poor Mr. Lumpkin, exactly. The jewels, my dear Con, shall be yours incontinently. You shall have them. Isn't he a sweet boy, my dear? You shall be married to-morrow, and we'll put off the rest of his education, like Dr. Drowsey's sermons, to a fitter opportunity.
Digg. Where's the 'Squire ? I have got a letter for your worship Tony. Give it to my mamma.
She reads all my letters first.
Digg. I had orders to deliver it into your own hands,
Tony. Who does it come from?
Digg. Your worship mun ask that o'the letter it. self.
Tony. I could wish to know, tho' (turning the letter and gazing on it.]
Miss Nev. [ Aside] Undone, undone. A letter to
MQvickas TonyLUMPKIN: e There's an M, and a T, andan Sibut whether the next bean Izzardoran R,confound me,I cannotbelt.
London. Printed for J Bell British Library, Stand 17 Dec 17gi.
him from Hastings. I know the hand. If my aunt sees it, we are ruined for ever. I'll keep her employ'd a little if I can. [To Mrs. Hardcastle] But I have not told you, Madam, of my cousin's smart answer just now to Mr. Marlow. We so laughid You must know, Madam—this way a little, for he must not hear us.
[They confer. Tony. [Still gazing] A damn'd cramp piece of peninanship, as ever I saw in my life. I can read your print-hand very well. But here there are such han. dles, and shanks, and dashes, that one can scarce tell the head from the tail. To Anthony Lumpkin, Esq. It's very odd, I can read the outside of my letters, where my own name is, well enough. But when I come to open it, it is all-buzz. That's hard, very hard: for the inside of the letter is always the cream of the correspondence,
Mrs. Hard. Ha! ha! ha! Very well, very well. And so my son was too hard for the philosopher.
Miss Nev. Yes, Madam ; but you must hear the rest, Madam. A little more this way, or he may hear us. You'll hear how he puzzled him again.
Mrs. Hard. He seems strangely puzzled now himself, methinks.
Tony. [Still gazing] A damn'd up and down hand, as if it was disguised in liquor. [Reading] Dear Sir. Ay, that's that. Then there's an M, and a T, and an S, but whether the next be an izzard or an R, confound me, I cannot tell.