Page images

Miss Hard. Perhaps the other gentleman called, fir?
Mar, I tell you, no.

Miss Hard. I should be glad to know, fir. We havo such a parcel of servants.

Mar. No, no, I tell you. (Looks full in her face.)
Yes, child, I think I did call. I wanted I wanted

I vow, child, you are vasily handsome.
Miss L'ard. O la, you'll make one allian'd.

M«r. Never saw a more sprightly malicious eyes: Yes, yes, my dear, I did call. Have you got any of your-what d'ye call it in ibe house?

Miss Hard, No, fir, we have been out of that there ten days.

Mar, One may call in this hout, I find, to very little purpose. Suppose I Mould call for a tatłe, juft 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, fir.

Mar. Of true English growth, infrare you,

Mifs 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 hey look younger still; but when we come very close indeed-attempting to kiss ber.)

[merged small][ocr errors]


Miss Hard. Pray, fir, keep your distance. One would think you wanted to know one's age as they do horses, by inark of mouth.

Mar. I protest, child, you use me extremely ill. If you keep me at this distance, how is it poffible you and 1 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


in this obstropolous manner. I'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 peace.

Mur. (Abede) Egad! She has hit it, sure enough. (To her) In awe of her, child ? Ha! ha! ha! A mere, aukward, fquinting thing, no, no. I find you 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 fevere, curse me ?

Miss Hard. O! then, fir, you are a favourite, 1 find, among the ladies ?

Mar. Yes, my dear, a great favourite. And yet, hang me, I don't see what they find in me to follow. At the ladies club in town, I'm called their agreeable 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 falute ber.)

Miss Hard. Hold, fir ; you are 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. Langhorns, old Mi's 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, fupper, 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. (Afide) All's well; she don't laugh at me. (To her) Do you ever work, child ?

Miss Hardl: Ay, sure. There's not a screen or a quilt in the whole house but what can bear witness to that,

Mar. Odlo! 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 hands 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. Pihaw ! the father here ! My old luck : I never nick'd seven that I did not throw ames ace three times following: [Exit Marlow'.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Hard. So, madam. 'So I find this is your modest lover. This is your humble adınirer 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 fo?

Mifs Hard. Never trust me, dear papa, but he's still the modest man I first took bini for, you'll be convinced of it as well as I.

Hard. By the hand of my body I believe his iinpudence is infectious ! Did'nt I see him seize your hand ? Didn't I lie 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 ! ! 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 modefty : But my son-inlaw, madam, must have very different qualifications. Miss Hard. Sir, I aik 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 bave og trifting with your father. All fair and open, do you mind me.

Miss Hard. I hope, fir, you have ever found that I confidered your commands as my pride; for your kindnes is such, that my duty as yet has been inclination,

[ocr errors]

• Аст



Enter HASTINGS and Miss Neville.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


OU surprife me ! Sir Charles Marlow expected here this night? Wliere have you had your

informas tion?

Miss Nev. You may depend upon it. I just saw his letter to Mr. Hardcastle, in which he tells him he inrends setting out a few hours after his son.

Haft. Then, my Constance, all must be completed befoie 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 fafe.

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 had the Piquire's promise of a fresh pair of horfes; and if I should not see him again, will write him further directions.

[Exit. Miss Nev. Well ! success attend you. In the inean sine, I'll go amuse my aunt with the old pretence of a violent passion for my cousin.


Enter MARLOW, follorsed by a fervane, Mar. I wonder what Hastings could mean by ferding me so valuable a thing as a casket to keep for him, when he knows the only place I have is the four of a polla


« PreviousContinue »