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By living a year or two in town, she's as fond of gauze and French frippery as the best of thein.
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE. Hard. Blessings on my pretty innocence! dressed out as usual, my Kate. Goodness! What a quantity of superfluous silk hast thou got about thee, girl! I could never teach the fools of this age that the indigent world could be clothed out of the trimmings of the vain.
Miss Ilard. You know our agreement, sir. You allow me the morning to receive and pay visits, and to dress in my own manner; and in the evening I put on my housewife's dress to please you.
Hard. Well, remember, I insist on the terms of our agreement; and, by-the-bye, I believe I shall have occasion to try your obedience this very evening.
Miss Hard. I protest, sir, I don't comprehend your meaning.
Hard. Then, to be plain with you, Kate, I expect the young gentleman I have chosen to be your husband from town this very day. I have his father's letter, in which he informs me his son is set out, and that he intends to follow himself shortly after.
Miss llard. Indeed! I wish I had known something of this before. Bless me, how shall I behave? It's a thousand to one I sha'n't like him; our meeting will be so formal, and so like a thing of business, that I shall find no room for friendship or esteem.
Hard. Depend upon it, child, I'll never control your choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched upon, is the son of my old friend Sir Charles Marlow, of whom you have heard me talk so often. The young gentleman has been bred a scholar, and is designed for an employment in the service of his country. I am told he's a man of an excellent understanding.
Miss Ilard. Is he?
Miss Hard. I'm sure I shall like him.
Miss Hard. My dear papa, say no more (kissing his hand); he's mine; I'll have him.
Hard. And, to crown all, Kate, he's one of the most bashful and reserved young fellows in all the world.
Miss Hard. Eh! you have frozen me to death again. That word reserved has undone all the rest of his accomplishments. A reserved lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious husband.
Hard. On the contrary, modesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler virtues. It was the very feature in his character that first struck me.
Miss IIard. He must have more striking features to catch me, I promise you. However, if he be so young, so handsome, and so everything as you mention, I believe he'll do still. I think I'll have him.
Hard. Ay, Kate, but there is still an obstacle. It's more than an even wager
he may not have you. Miss Hard. My dear papa, why will you mortify one so? Well, if he refuses, instead of breaking my heart at his indifference, I'll only break my glass for its flattery, set my cap to some newer fashion, and look out for some less difficult admirer.
Hard. Bravely resolved! In the meantime, I'll go prepare the servants for his reception: as we seldom see company, they want as much training as a company of recruits the first day's muster.
[Erit. Miss Hard. (Alone.) Lud, this news of papa's puts me all in a flutter. Young, handsome: these he put last; but I put them foremost. Sensible, good-natured; I like all that. But then reserved and sheepish--that's much against him. Yet, can't he be cured of his timidity by being taught to be proud of his wife? Yes; and can't I But, I vow, I'm disposing of the husband before I have secured the lover.
Enter Miss NEVILLE. Miss Hard. I'm glad you're come, Neville, my dear. Tell me, Constance, low do I look this evening? Is there anything whimsical about me? Is it one of my well-looking days, child? Am I in face to-day?
Miss Nev. Perfectly, my dear. Yet now I look again, bless me!-sure no accident has happened among the canarybirds or the gold-fishes! Has your brother or the cat been meddling? or has the last novel been too moving?
Miss Hard. No; nothing of all this. I have been threatened—I can scarce get it out-I have been threatened with a lover.
Miss Nev. And his name-
Miss Nev. As I live, the most intimate friend of Mr. Hastings, my admirer. They are never asunder. I believe you must have seen him when we lived in town.
Miss Hard. Never.
Miss Nev. He's a very singular character, I assure you. Among women of reputation and virtue, he is the modestest man alive; but his acquaintance give him a very different character among creatures of another stamp: you understand me.
Miss Hard. An odd character, indeed. I shall never be able to manage him. What shall I do? Pshaw! think no more of him, but trust to occurrences for success. But how goes on your own affair, my dear? has my mother been courting you for my brother Tony, as usual ?
Miss Nev. I have just come from one of our agreeable tête-à-têtes. She has been saying a hundred tender things, and setting off her pretty monster as the very pink of perfection.
Miss Hard. And her partiality is such that she actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the sole management of it, I'm not surprised to see her unwilling to let it go ont of the family.
Miss Nev. A fortune like inine, which chiefly consists in jewels, is no such mighty temptation. But, at any rate, if my dear Hastings be but constant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at last. However, I let her suppose that I am in love with her son, and she never once dreams that my affections are fixed upon another.
Miss Hard. My good brother holds out stoutly. I could almost love him for hating you so.
Miss Nev. It is a good-natured creature at bottom, and I'm sure would wish to see me married to anybody but himself. But my aunt's bell rings for our afternoon's walk round the improvements. Allons! Courage is necessary, as our affairs are critical. Miss Hard. “Wonld it were bedtime, and all were well."
[Exeunt. SCENE–An Alehouse Room. Several shabby fellows with punch and tobacco. Tony at the head of the table, a little
higher than the rest, a mallet in his hand. Omnes. Hurrea! hurrea! hurrea! bravo!
First Fellow. Now, gentlemen, silence for a song. The Squire is going to knock himself down for a song. Omnes. Ay, a song, a song !
Tony. Then I'll sing you, gentlemen, a song I made upon this alehouse, the Three Pigeons.
With grammar and nonsense and learning,
Gives genus a better discerning.
Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians,
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
When Methodist preachers come down,
A-preaching that drinking is sinful,
the rascals a crown
But when you come down with your pence
For a slice of their scurvy religion,
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
Then come, put the jorum about,
And let us be merry and clever;
Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons forever!
Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons,
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.'
Omnes. Bravo! bravo!
Second Fellow. I loves to hear liim sing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low.
Third Fellow. Oh, damn anything that's low! I cannot bear it.
Fourth Fellow. The genteel thing is the genteel thing any time: if so be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
Third Fellow. I like the maxum of it, Master Muggins. What though I am obligated to dance a bear, a man may be a gentleman for all that. May this be my poison," if my bear ever dances but to the very genteelest of tunes — “Water Parted” or “ The Minuet in Ariadne.”
Second Fellow. What a pity it is the Squire is not come to his own! It would be well for all the publicans within ten miles round of him.
1 “We drank tea with the ladies [after a dinner at General Oglethorpe's), and Goldsmith sang Tony Lumpkin's song in his comedy ‘She Stoops to Conquer.'” -BOSWELL by Croker, p. 251.
? See these low allusions explained in Forster's Goldsmith, ii. 121. 3 See note 3, p. 74, of this volume.