« ПретходнаНастави »
the world I would apply to for assistance. But George Brooks-I'll pawn my dukedom, says he, Miss Neville's person is all I ask, and that is but I take that garrison without spilling a drop of mine, both from her deceased father's consent, blood. So
and her own inclination.
Marlow. What, my good friend, if you gave us Marlow. Happy man! You have talents and a glass of punch in the mean time; it would help us art to captivate any woman. I'm doomed to adore to carry on the siege with vigour. the sex, and yet to converse with the only part of it I despise. This stammer in my address, and this awkward unprepossessing visage of mine can never permit me to soar above the reach of a milliner's 'prentice, or one of the duchesses of Drury-lane. Pshaw! this fellow here to interrupt us.
Hardcastle. Punch, sir! [aside.] This is the most unaccountable kind of modesty I ever met with.
Marlow. Yes, sir, punch. A glass of warm punch, after our journey, will be comfortable. This is Liberty-hall, you know.
Hardcastle. Here's a cup, sir.
Marlow [aside]. So this fellow, in his Libertyhall, will only let us have just what he pleases. Hardcastle [taking the cup]. I hope you'll find it to your mind. I have prepared it with my own hands, and I believe you'll own the ingredients are
Hardcastle. Gentlemen, once more you are heartily welcome. Which is Mr. Marlow? Sir, you are heartily welcome. It's not my way, you see, to receive my friends with my back to the fire. I like to give them a hearty reception in the old style at tolerable. Will you be so good as to pledge me. my gate. I like to see their horses and trunks sir? Here, Mr. Marlow, here is to our better actaken care of. quaintance. [Drinks. Marlow [aside]. He has got our names from Marlow [aside]. A very impudent fellow, this! the servants already.-[ To Hardcastle.] We ap- but he's a character, and I'll humour him a little. prove your caution and hospitality, sir.-[ To Has-Sir, my service to you. tings.] I have been thinking, George, of changing our travelling dresses in the morning. I am grown confoundedly ashamed of mine.
Hardcastle. I beg, Mr. Marlow, you'll use no ceremony in this house.
[Drinks. Hastings [aside]. I see this fellow wants to give us his company, and forgets that he's an innkeeper before he has learned to be a gentleman.
Marlow. From the excellence of your cup, my old friend, I suppose you have a good deal of business in this part of the country. Warm work,
Marlow. I fancy, Charles, you're right: the first blow is half the battle. I intend opening the cam-now and then, at elections, I suppose. paign with the white and gold.
Hardcastle. No, sir, I have long given that work Hardcastle. Mr. Marlow-Mr. Hastings-gen-Jover. Since our betters have hit upon the expedient tlemen-pray be under no restraint in this house. of electing each other, there is no business "for us This is Liberty-hall, gentlemen. You may do that sell ale." just as you please here.
Marlow. Yet, George, if we open the campaign too fiercely at first, we may want ammunition before it is over. I think to reserve the embroidery
to secure a retreat.
Hardcastle. Your talking of a retreat, Mr. Marlow, puts me in mind of the Duke of Marlborough, when we went to besiege Denain. He first summoned the garrison—
Hastings. So then you have no turn for politics, I find.
Hardcastle. Not in the least. There was a time, indeed, I fretted myself about the mistakes of government, like other people; but finding myself every day grow more angry, and the govern ment growing no better, I left it to mend itself. Since that, I no more trouble my head about Hyder Ally, or Ally Cawn, than about Ally Croaker.
Marlow. Don't you think the rentre d'or waist-Sir my service to you. coat will do with the plain brown?
Hastings. So that with eating above stairs, and Hardcastle. He first summoned the garrison, drinking below, with receiving your friends withwhich might consist of about five thousand men-in, and amusing them without, you lead a good Hastings. I think not: brown and yellow mix pleasant bustling life of it. but very poorly.
Hardcastle. I say, gentlemen, as I was telling you, he summoned the garrison, which might consist of about five thousand men
Marlow. The girls like finery.
Hardcastle. I do stir about a great deal, that's certain. Half the differences of the parish are adjusted in this very parlour.
Marlow [after drinking]. And you have an argument in your cup, old gentleman, better than any in Westminster-hall.
Hardcastle. Ay, young gentleman, that, and little philosophy.
Hardcastle. Which might consist of about five thousand men, well appointed with stores, ammunition, and other implements of war. Now, says the Duke of Marlborough to George Brooks, that Marlow (aside]. Well, this is the first time I ever stood next to him-You must have heard of heard of an inkeeper's philosophy.
Hastings. But let's hear it.
Hastings. So, then, like an experienced general, | Bedford, to eat up such a supper? Two or three you attack them on every quarter. If you find little things, clean and comfortable, will do. their reason manageable, you attack it with your philosophy; if you find they have no reason, you attack them with this. Here's your health, my philosopher. [Drinks.
Hardcastle. Good, very good, thank you; ha! ha! ha! Your generalship, puts me in mind of Prince Eugene, when he fought the Turks at the battle of Belgrade. You shall hear.
Marlow [reading]. For the first course at the top, a pig, and prune sauce.
Hastings. Damn your pig, I say.
Marlow, And damn your prune sauce, say I. Hardcastle. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry, pig with prune sauce is very good eating.
Marlow. Instead of the battle of Belgrade, I be- Marlow. At the bottom a calf's tongue and lieve it's almost time to talk about supper. What has your philosophy got in the house for supper? Hardcastle. For supper, sir! [Aside] Was ever such a request to a man in his own house!
Marlow. Yes, sir, supper, sir; I begin to feel an appetite. I shall make devilish work to-night in the larder, I promise you. Hardcastle [aside]. Such a brazen dog sure never my eyes beheld. [To him.] Why really, sir, as for supper, I can't well tell. My Dorothy and the cook-maid settle these things between them. I leave these kind of things entirely to them. Marlow. You do, do you?
Hardcastle. Entirely. By the by, I believe they are in actual consultation upon what's for supper this moment in the kitchen.
Marlow. Then I beg they'll admit me as one of their privy-council. It's a way I have got. When I travel I always choose to regulate my own supper. Let the cook be called. No offence I hope,
Hastings. Let your brains be knocked out, my good sir, I don't like them.❤
Marlow. Or you may clap them on a plate by themselves.
Hardcastle [aside]. Their impudence confounds me. [To them.] Gentlemen, you are my guests, make what alterations you please. Is there any thing else you wish to retrench or alter, gentlemen?
Marlow. Item. A pork pie, a boiled rabbit and sausages, a Florentine, a shaking pudding, and a dish of tiff-taff-taffety cream.
Hastings. Confound your made dishes; I shall be as much at a loss in this house as at a green and yellow dinner at the French ambassador's table. I'm for plain eating.
Hardcastle. I'm sorry, gentlemen, that I have nothing you like, but if there be any thing you have a particular fancy to——
Marlow. Why, really, sir, your bill of fare is so exquisite, that any one part of it is full as good as Send us what you please. So much for And now to see that our beds are aired, and properly taken care of.
Hardcastle. O no, sir, none in the least; yet I don't know how; our Bridget, the cook-maid, is another. not very communicative upon these occasions. supper. Should we send for her, she might scold us all out
of the house.
Hastings. Let's see your list of the larder then. I ask it as a favour. I always match my appetite to my bill of fare.
Marlow [to Hardcastle, who looks at them with surprise]. Sir, he's very right, and it's my way
Hardcastle. I entreat you'll leave all that to me. You shall not stir a step.
Marlow. Leave that to you! I protest, sir, you must excuse me, I always look to these things myself.
Hardcastle. I must insist, sir, you'll make yourself easy on that head.
Hardcastle. Sir, you have a right to command Marlow. You see I'm resolved on it. [Aside.] here. Here, Roger, bring us the bill of fare for to-A very troublesome fellow this, as I ever met with. night's supper: I believe it's drawn out.-Your Hardcastle. Well, sir, I'm resolved at least to manner, Mr. Hastings, puts me in mind of my attend you. [Aside.] This may be modern mouncle, Colonel Wallop. It was a saying of his, desty, but I never saw any thing look so like oldthat no man was sure of his supper till he had fashioned impudence. eaten it.
[Exeunt Marlow and Hardcastle. Hastings [Aside]. All upon the high rope! His Hastings alone]. So I find this fellow's civiliuncle a colonel! we shall soon hear of his mother sties begin to grow troublesome. But who can be being a justice of the peace. But let's hear the angry at those assiduities which are meant to bill of fare. please him?-Ha! what do I see? Miss Neville, by all that's happy!
Marlow [perusing]. What's here? For the first course; for the second course; for the dessert. The devil, sir, do you think we have brought down the whole joiner's company, or the corporation of Miss Neville. My dear Hastings! To what un
Enter MISS NEVILLE.
expected good fortune, to what accident, am I to through all the rest of the family.-What have we ascribe this happy meeting?
Hastings. Rather let me ask the same question, as I could never have hoped to meet my dearest Constance at an inn.
Miss Neville. An inn! sure you mistake: my aunt, my guardian, lives here. What could induce you to think this house an inn?
Hastings. My dear Charles! Let me congratu late you!-The most fortunate accident?-Who do you think is just alighted?
Marlow. Can not guess.
Hastings. Our mistresses, boy, Miss Hardcastle and Miss Neville. Give me leave to introduce Hastings. My friend, Mr. Marlow, with whom Miss Constance Neville to your acquaintance. I came down, and I, have been sent here as to an Happening to dine in the neighbourhood, they inn, I assure you. A young fellow, whom we ac- called on their return to take fresh horses here. cidentally met at a house hard by, directed us Miss Hardcastle has just stepped into the next hither. room, and will be back in an instant. Wasn't it lucky? eh!
Miss Neville. Certainly it must be one of my hopeful cousin's tricks, of whom you have heard me talk so often; ha! ha! ha!
Hastings. He whom your aunt intends for you? he of whom I have such just apprehensions?
Marlow [aside.] I have been mortified enough of all conscience, and here comes something to complete my embarrassment.
Hastings. Well, but wasn't it the most fortunate thing in the world?
Miss Neville. You have nothing to fear from him, I assure you. You'd adore him if you knew Marlow. Oh! yes. Very fortunate-a most how heartily he despises me. My aunt knows it joyful encounter-But our dresses, George, you too, and has undertaken to court me for him, and know are in disorder-What if we should postactually begins to think she has made a conquest. pone the happiness till to-morrow?-To-morrow Hastings. Thou dear dissembler! You must at her own house-It will be every bit as conve know, my Constance, I have just seized this happy nient-and rather more respectful-To-morrow let opportunity of my friend's visit here to get admit- it be. [Offering to go. tance into the family. The horses that carried us Miss Neville. By no means, sir. Your ceredown are now fatigued with their journey, but mony will displease her. The disorder of your they'll soon be refreshed; and then, if my dearest dress will show the ardour of your impatience. girl will trust in her faithful Hastings, we shall Besides, she knows you are in the house, and will soon be landed in France, where even among permit you to see her.
slaves the laws of marriage are respected.
Marlow. O! the devil! how shall I support it? Miss Neville. I have often told you, that though-Hem! hem! Hastings, you must not go. You ready to obey you, I yet should leave my little for- are to assist me, you know. I shall be confoundtune behind with reluctance. The greatest part edly ridiculous. Yet, hang it! I'll take courage. of it was left me by my uncle, the India director, Hem! and chiefly consists in jewels. I have been for some time persuading my aunt to let me wear them. I fancy I'm very near succeeding. The instant they are put into my possession, you shall find me ready to make them and myself yours.
Hastings. Pshaw, man! it's but the first plunge, and all's over. She's but a woman, you know. Marlow. And of all women, she that I dread most to encounter.
know, to esteem each other.
Enter MISS HARDCASTLE, as returned from walking. Hastings. Perish the baubles! Your person is all I desire. In the mean time, my friend Marlow Hastings [introducing them.] Miss Hardcasmust not be let into his mistake. I know the tle. Mr. Marlow. I'm proud of bringing two strange reserve of his temper is such, that if ab- persons of such merit together, that only want to ruptly informed of it, he would instantly quit the house before our plan was ripe for execution. Miss Neville. But how shall we keep him in the deception? Miss Hardcastle is just returned from walking; what if we still continue to deceive him?This, this way- [They confer.
Miss Hardcastle [aside.] Now for meeting my modest gentleman with a demure face, and quite in his own manner. [After a pause, in which he appears very uneasy and disconcerted.] I'm glad of your safe arrival, sir,-I'm told you had some accidents by the way.
Marlow. Only a few, madam. Yes, we had Marlow. The assiduities of these good people some. Yes, madam, a good many accidents, but tease me beyond bearing. My host seems to think should be sorry-madam-or rather glad of any it ill manners to leave me alone, and so he claps accidents-that are so agreeably concluded. Hem! not only himself but his old-fashioned wife on my Hastings [to him.] You never spoke better in back. They talk of coming to sup with us too; your whole life. Keep it up and I'll insure you and then, I suppose, we are to run the gauntlet the victory.
Miss Hardcastle. I'm afraid you flatter, sir. must be some who, wanting a relish for refined You, that have seen so much of the finest compa-pleasures, pretend to despise what they are incany, can find little entertainment in an obscure cor- pable of tasting.
ner of the country.
Marlow [gathering courage]. I have lived, indeed, in the world, madam; but I have kept very little company. I have been but an observer upon life, madam, while others were enjoying it. Miss Neville. But that, I am told, is the way to enjoy it at last. Hastings [to him]. Once more, and you for ever.
Cicero never spoke better. are confirmed in assurance
Marlow [to him]. Hem! stand by me then, and when I'm down, throw in a word or two to set me up again.
Miss Hardcastle. An observer, like you, upon life were, I fear, disagreeably employed, since you must have had much more to censure than to approve.
Marlow. Pardon me, madam. I was always willing to be amused. The folly of most people is rather an object of mirth than uneasiness.
Marlow. My meaning, madam, but infinitely better expressed. I can't help observing
Miss Hardcastle [aside]. Who could ever suppose this fellow impudent upon such occasions! [To him.] You were going to observe, sir
Marlow. I was observing, madam-I protest, madam, I forget what I was going to observe.
Miss Hardcastle [aside]. I vow and so do I. [To him.]. You were observing, sir, that in this age of hypocrisy-something about hypocrisy, sir.
Marlow. Yes, madam. In this age of hypocrisy there are few who upon strict inquiry do not
Miss Hardcastle. You mean that in this hypocritical age there are few that do not condemn in public what they practise in private, and think Hastings [to him]. Bravo, bravo. Never spoke they pay every debt to virtue when they praise it. so well in your whole life. Well, Miss Hardcas- Marlow. True, madam; those who have most tle, I see that you and Mr. Marlow are going to virtue in their mouths, have least of it in their bobe very good company. I believe our being here soms. But I'm sure I tire you, madam. will but embarrass the interview.
Marlow. Not in the least, Mr. Hastings. We like your company of all things. [ To him.] Zounds! George, sure you won't go? how can you leave us?
Hastings. Our presence will but spoil conversation, so we'll retire to the next room. [To him.] You don't consider, man, that we are to manage a little tête-à-tête of our own. [Exeunt.
Miss Hardcastle [after a pause]. But you have not been wholly an observer, I presume, sir: the ladies, I should hope, have employed some part of your addresses.
Marlow [relapsing into timidity]. Pardon me, madam, I-I-I-as yet have studied-only-to deserve them.
Miss Hardcastle. Not in the least, sir; there's something so agreeable and spirited in your manner, such life and force-pray, sir, go on.
Marlow. Yes, madam. I was sayingthat there are some occasions--when a total want of courage, madam, destroys all the-and puts us- -upon a-a-a
Miss Hardcastle. I agree with you entirely; a want of courage upon some occasions assumes the appearance of ignorance, and betrays us when we most want to excel. I beg you'll proceed.
Marlow. Yes, madam. Morally speaking, madam-But I see Miss Neville expecting us in the next room. I would not intrude for the world.
Miss Hardcastle. I protest, sir, I never was more agreeably entertained in all my life. Pray
Miss Hardcastle. And that, some say, is the go on. very worst way to obtain them.
Marlow. Yes, madam, I was- -But she beckons us to join her. Madam, shall I do myself the honour to attend you?
Marlow. Perhaps so, madam. But I love to converse only with the more grave and sensible part of the sex.-But I'm afraid I grow tiresome. Miss Hardcastle. Well then, I'll follow. Miss Hardcastle. Not at all, sir; there is nothing Marlow [aside]. This pretty smooth dialogue I like so much as grave conversation myself; I has done for me. [Exit. could hear it for ever. Indeed I have often been Miss Hardcastle [alone]. Ha! ha! ha! Was surprised how a man of sentiment could ever ad- there ever such a sober, sentimental interview? mire those light airy pleasures, where nothing I'm certain he scarce looked in my face the whole reaches the heart. time. Yet the fellow, but for his unaccountable Marlow. It's a disease of the mind, ma- bashfulness, is pretty well too. He has good dam. In the variety of tastes there must be some sense, but then so buried in his fears, that it fawho, wanting a relish-forum-a-um. tigues one more than ignorance. If I could teach Miss Hardcastle. I understand you, sir. There him a little confidence it would be doing somebody
Enter TONY and MISS NEVILLE, followed by MRS.
Tony. What do you follow me for, Cousin Con? I wonder you're not ashamed to be so very engaging.
Miss Neville. I hope, cousin, one may speak to one's own relations, and not be to blame.
Tony. Ay, but I know what sort of a relation you want to make me though; but it won't do. 1 tell you, Cousin Con, it won't do; so I beg you'll keep your distance, I want no nearer relationship. [She follows, coquetting him to the back scene. Mrs. Hardcastle. Well! I vow, Mr. Hastings, you are very entertaining. There is nothing in the world I love to talk of so much as London, and the fashions, though I was never there myself.
Hastings. Never there! You amaze me! From your air and manner, I concluded you had been bred all your life either at Ranelagh, St. James's, or Tower Wharf.
Hastings. You are right, madam; for, as among the ladies there are none ugly, so among the men there are none old.
Mrs. Hardcastle. But what do you think his answer was? Why, with his usual Gothic vivacity, he said I only wanted him to throw off his wig to convert it into a tête for my own wearing,
Hastings. Intolerable! At your age you may wear what you please, and it must become you. Mrs. Hardcastle. Pray, Mr. Hastings, what do you take to be the most fashionable age about town?
Hastings. Some time ago, forty was all the mode; but I'm told the ladies intend to bring up fifty for the ensuing winter.
Mrs. Hardcastle. Seriously. Then I shall be too young for the fashion.
Hastings. No lady begins now to put on jewels till she's past forty. For instance, miss there, in a polite circle, would be considered as a child, as a mere maker of samplers.
Mrs. Hardcastle. And yet Mrs. Niece thinks herself as much a woman, and is as fond of jewels as the oldest of us all.
Hastings. Your niece, is she? And that young gentleman, a brother of yours, I should presume?
Mrs. Hardcastle. My son, sir. They are contracted to each other. Observe their little sports. They fall in and out ten times a day, as if they were man and wife already. [To them.] Well, Tony, child, what soft things are you saying to your cousin Constance this evening?
Mrs. Hardcastle. O! sir, you're only pleased to say so. We country persons can have no manner at all. I'm in love with the town, and that serves to raise me above some of our neighbouring rustics; but who can have a manner, that has never seen the Pantheon, the Grotto Gardens, the Borough, and such places where the nobility chiefly resort? All I can do is to enjoy London at second-hand. I take care to know every tête-à-tête from the Scandalous Magazine, and have all the fashions, Tony. I have been saying no soft things; but as they come out, in a letter from the two Miss that it's very hard to be followed about so. Ecod! Rickets of Crooked-Lane. Pray how do you like I've not a place in the house now that's left to mythis head, Mr. Hastings? self, but the stable.
Hastings. Extremely elegant and dégagée, upon my word, madam. Your friseur is a Frenchman, I suppose?
Mrs. Hardcastle. Never mind him, Con, my dear, he's in another story behind your back. Miss Neville. There's something generous in
Mrs. Hardcastle. I protest, I dressed it myself my cousin's manner. He falls out before faces to from a print in the Ladies' Memorandum-book be forgiven in private. for the last year.
Hastings. Indeed! Such a head in a side-box at the play-house would draw as many gazers as my Lady Mayoress at a city ball.
Mrs. Hardcastle. I vow, since inoculation began, there is no such thing to be seen as a plain woman; so one must dress a little particular, or one may escape in the crowd.
Hastings. But that can never be your case, madam, in any dress. [Bowing. Mrs. Hardcastle. Yet, what signifies my dressing when I have such a piece of antiquity by my side as Mr. Hardcastle: all I can say will never argue down a single button from his clothes. I have often wanted him to throw off his great flaxen wig, and where he was bald, to plaster it over, like my Lord Pately, with powder.
Tony. That's a damned confounded-crack. Mrs. Hardcastle. Ah! he's a sly one. Don't you think they're like each other about the mouth, Mr. Hastings? The Blenkinsop mouth to a T. They're of a size too. Back to back, my pretties, that Mr. Hastings may see you. Come, Tony. Tony. You had as good not make me, I tell you. [Measuring. Miss Neville. O lud! he has almost cracked my
Mrs. Hardcastle. O, the monster! For shame,
Mrs. Hardcastle. Is this, ungrateful boy, all that I'm to get for the pains I have taken in your education? I that have rocked you in your