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thought for, I'll give you leave to take my best horse, and Bet Bouncer into the bargain. Come along. My boots, ho.
ACTV. SCENE I.
Continues. Enter HASTINGS and Servant.
Hastings. You saw the old Lady and Miss Neville drive off, you say.
Serv. Yes, your honour. They went off in a post coach, and the young 'Squire went on horseback. They're thirty miles off by this time.
Hast. Then all my hopes are over.
Serv. Yes, Sir. Old Sir Charles is arrived. He and the Old Gentleman of the house have been laughing at Mr. Marlow's mistake this half hour. They are coming this way.
Hast. Then I must not be seen. So now to my fruitless appointment at the bottom of the garden. This is about the time.
Enter Sir CHARLES MARLOW and HARDCASTLE.
Hard. Ha! ha! ha! The peremptory tone in which he sent forth his sublime commands. Sir Char. And the reserye with which I suppose
he treated all your advances.
Hard. And yet he might have seen something in me above a common inn-keeper, too,
Sir Char. Yes, Dick, but he mistook you for an uncommon innkeeper, ha! ha! ha!
Hard. Well, I'm in too good spirits to think of any thing but joy. Yes, my dear friend, this union of our families will make our personal friendships hereditary ; and tho' my daughter's fortune is but small
Sir Char. Why, Dick, will you talk of fortune to me. My son is possessed of more than a competence already, and can want nothing but a good and virtuous girl to share his happiness and increase it. If they like each other, as you say they do
Hard. If, man. I tell you they do like each other. My daughter as good as told me so.
Sir Char. But girls are apt to fatter themselves, you
know. Hard. I saw him grasp her hand in the warmest manner myself; and here he comes to put you out of your ifs, I warrant him.
Mar. I come, Sir, once more, to ask pardon for my strange conduct. I can scarce reflect on my inso. lence without confusion.
Hard. Tut, boy, a trifle. You take it' too gravely. An hour or two's laughing with my daughter will set all to rights again-She'll never like you the worse for it.
Mar. Sir, I shall be always proud of her approbation.
Hard. Approbation is but a cold word, Mr. Mar. low; if I am not deceived, you have something more than approbation thereabouts. You take me.
Mar. Really, Sir, I have not that happiness. .
Hard. Come, boy, I'm an old fellow, and know what's what, as well as you that are younger. I know what has past between you; but mum.
Mar. Sure, Sir, nothing has past between us but the most profound respect on my side, and the most distant reserve on hers. You don't think, Sir, that my impudence has been passed upon all the rest of the family. Hard. Impudence! No, I don't say
that--Not quite impudence-Though girls like to be play'd with, and rumpled too sometimes. But she has told no tales, I assure you.
Mar. I never gave her the slightest cause.
Hard. Well, well. I like modesty in its place well enough. But this is over acting, young gentleman. You may be open. Your father and I will like you the better for it.
Mar. May I die, Sir, if I ever
Hard. I tell you, she don't dislike you ; and as I'm sure you like her
Mar. Dear Sir-I protest, Sir
Hard. I see no reason why you should not be joined as fast as the parson can tie you.
Mar. But hear me, Sir
Hard. Your father approves the match, I admire it, every moment's delay will be doing mischief, so
Mar. But why won't you hear me ? By all that's just and true, I never gave Miss Hardcastlc the slightest mark of my attachment, or even the most distant hint to suspect me of affection. We had but one interview, and that was formal, modest, and uninteresting.
Hard. [ Aside] This fellow's formal modest impu. dence is beyond bearing.
Sir Char. And you never grasp'd her hand, or made any protestations ?
Mar. As heaven is my witness, I came down in obe. dience to your commands. I saw the lady without emotion, and parted without reluctance. I hope you'll exact no further proofs of my duty, nor prevent me from leaving a house in which I suffer so many mortifications.
[ Exit. Sir Char. I'm astonish'd at the air of sincerity with which he parted.
Hard. And I'm astonish'd at the deliberate intrepidity of his assurance.
Sir Char. I dare pledge my life and honour upon his truth.
Hard. Here comes my daughter, and I would stake my happiness upon her veracity.
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE.
Hard. Kate, come hither, child. Answer us sin
cerely, and without reserve; has Mr. Marlow made you any professions of love and affection?
Miss Hard. The question is very abrupt, Sir! But since you require unreserved sincerity, I think he has.
Hard. [To Sir Charles] You see.
Sir Char. And pray, Madam, have you and my son had more than one interview?
Miss Hard. Yes, Sir, several.
Miss Hard. As most profest admirers do. Said some civil things of my face, talked much of his want of merit, and the greatness of mine; mentioned his heart, gave a short tragedy speech, and ended with pretended rapture.
Sir Char. Now I'm perfectly convinced, indeed. I know his conversation among women to be modest and submissive. This forward, canting, ranting man. ner by no means describes him, and I'm contident he never sat for the picture.
Miss Haid. Then what, Sir, if I should convince you to your face of my sincerity? If you and my para,