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your drunken pack may leave my house di. rectly.
Mar. Leave your house!-Sure you jest, my good friend? What, when I'm doing what I can to please you.
Hard. I tell you, Sir, you don't please me ; so I desire you'll leave my house.
Mar. Sure you cannot be serious ? At this time o'night, and such a night. You only mean to banter me?
Hard. I tell you, Sir, I'm serious; and, now that my passions are roused, I say this house is mine, Sir; this house is mine, and I command you to leave it di. rectly.
Mar. Ha! ha! ha! A puddle in a storm. I shan't stir a step, I assure you. [In a serious tone] This your house, fellow! It's my house. This is my house. Mine, while I choose to stay. What right have you to bid me leave this house, Sir? I never met with such impudence, curse me, never in my whole life before.
Hard. Nor I, confound me if ever I did. To come to my house, to call for what he likes, to turn me out of my own chair, to insult the family, to order his servants to get drunk, and then to tell me, This house is mine, Sir. By all that's impudent it makes me laugh. Ha! ha! ha! Pray, Sir, [bantering) as you take the house, what think you of taking the rest of the furniture? There's a pair of silver candlesticks, and there's a fire-screen, and here's a pair of braz
en nosed bellows, perhaps you may take a fancy to them?
Mar. Bring me your bill, Sir, bring me your bill, and let's make no more words about it.
Hard. There are a set of prints too. What think you of the rake's progress for your own apartment?
Mar. Bring me your bill, I say; and I'll leave you and your infernal house directly.
Hard. Then there's a mahogany table, that you may see your own face in.
Mar. My bill, I say.
Hard. I had forgot the great chair, for your own particular slumbers, after a hearty meal.
Mar. Zounds! bring me my bill, I say, and let's hear no more on't. Hard. Young man, young man, from your
father's letter to me, I was taught to expect a well-bred modest man, as a visiter here, but now I find him no better than a coxcomb and a bully; but he will be down here presently, and shall hear more of it.
[Exit. Mar. How's this! Sure I have not mistaken the house! Every thing looks like an inn. The servants cry, coming. The attendance is awkward; the barmaid too to attend us. But she's here, and will fur. ther inform me. Whither so fast, child. A word
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE.
Miss Hard. Let it be short then. I'm in a hurry.
[ Aside (I believe he begins to find out his mistake, but its too soon quite to undeceive him.)
Mar. Pray, child, answer me one question. What are you, and what may your business in this house be?
Miss Hard. A relation of the family, Sir.
Miss Hard. Yes, Sir. A poor relation appointed to keep the keys, and to see that the guests want nothing in my power to give them.
Mar. That is, you act as the bar-maid of this inn.
Miss Hard. Inn. O law-What brought that in your head. One of the best families in the county keep an inn. Ha, ha, ha! old Mr. Hardcastle's house an inn.
Mar. Mr. Hardcastle's house! Is this house Mr. Hardcastle's house, child ! Miss Hard. Ay, sure.
Whose else should it be. Mar. So then all's out, and I have been damnably imposed on. O, confound my stupid head, I shall be laugh'd at over the whole town. I shall be stuck up in caricatura in all the print-shops. The Dullissimo Maccaroni. To mistake this house of all others for an inn, and my father's old friend for an inn. keeper. What a swaggering puppy must he take me for. What a silly puppy do I find myself. There again, may I be hang'd, my dear, but I mistook you for the bar-maid.
Miss Hard. Dear me! Dear me! I'm sure there's
nothing in my behaviour to put me upon a level with one of that stamp.
Mar. Nothing, my dear, nothing. But I was in for a list of blunders, and could not help making you a subscriber. My stupidity saw every thing the wrong way. I mistook your assiduity for assurance, and your simplicity for allurement. But its overThis house I no more shew my face in.
Miss Hard. I hope, Sir, I have done nothing to disoblige you. I'm sure I should be sorry to affront any gentleman who has been so polite, and said so many
civil things to me. I'm sure I should be sorry [pretending to cry] if he left the family upon my account. I'm sure I should be sorry, people said any thing amiss, since I have no fortune but my character.
Mar. [ Aside] By heaven, she weeps. This is the first mark of tenderness I ever had from a modest woman, and it touches me ; [to her] Excuse me, my lovely girl, you are the only part of the family I leave with reluctance. But to be plain with you, the difference of our birth, fortune and education, make an honourable connection impossible; and I can never harbour a thought of bringing ruin upon one, whose only fault was being too lovely.
Miss Hard. [ Aside] Generous man! I now begin to admire him. [To him] But I'm sure my family is as good as Miss Hardcastle's, and though I'm poor, that's no great misfortune to a contented mind, and,
until this moment, I never thought that it was bad to want fortune.
Mar. And why now, my pretty simplicity ?
Miss Hard. Because it puts me at a distance from one, that if I had a thousand pound I would give it all to.
Mar. (Aside] This simplicity bewitches me, that if I stay I'm undone. I must make one bold effort, and leave her. (To her] Your partiality in my favour, my dear, touches me most sensibly, and were I to live for myself alone, I could easily fix my choice. But I owe too much to the opinion of the world, too much to the authority of a father, so thatI can scarcely speak it-it affects me. Farewell.
[Exit. Miss Hard. I never knew half his merit till now. He shall not go, if I have power or art to detain him. I'll still preserve the character in which I stoop'd to conquer, but will undeceive my papa, who, perhaps, may laugh him out of his resolution,
[Exit. Enter Tony, and Miss Neville. Tony. Ay, you may steal for yourselves the next time, I have done my duty. She has got the jewels again, that's a sure thing; but she believes it was all a mistake of the servants.
Miss Nev. But, my dear cousin, sure you won't forsake us in this distress. If she in the least suspects that I am going off, I shall certainly be locked up, or sent to my aunt Pedigree's, which is ten times worse.