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Miss. Hard. Would it were bed time, and all were well,
An Alehouse Room,
Severally shabby Fellows, with Punch and Tobacco.
Tony at the Head of the Table, a little higher than
2d. Fel. I loves to hear him sing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low.
3d Fel. O damn any thing that's low, I cannot bear it.
4th Fel. The genteel thing is the genteel thing at any time. If so be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
3d Fel. I like the maxim 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
bear ever dances but to the very genteelest of tunes. Water Parted, or the minuet in Ariadne.
2d Fel. 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.
Tony. Ecod, and so it would Master Slang. I'd then show what it was to keep choice of company,
2d Fel. O he takes after his own father for that. To be sure old 'Squire Lumpkin was the finest gentleman I ever set my eyes on. For winding the streight horn, or beating a thicket for a hare, or a wench, he never had his fellow. It was a saying in the place, that he kept the best horses, dogs, and girls, in the whole country.
Tony. Ecod, and when I'm of age I'll be no bastard, I promise you. I have been thinking of Bett Bouncer and the miller's grey mare to begin with. But come, my boys, drink about and be merry, for you pay no reckoning. Well, Stingo, what's the inatter ?
Enter Landlord. Land. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise at the door. They have lost their way up o' the forest; and they are talking something about Mr. Hardcastle.
Tony. As sure as can be, one of them must be the gentleman that's coming down to court my sister.Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. [Exit LANDLORD.) Gentlemen, as they may'nt be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon.
[Exeunt Mob. Tony. Father-in-law has been calling me whelp, and hound, this half year. Now, if I pleased, I could be so revenged upon the old grumbletonian. But then I'm afraid-afraid of what! I shall soon be worth fifteen hundred a year, and let him frighten me out of that if he can. Enter LANDLORD, conducting Marlow and
HASTINGS. Mar. What a tedious uncomfortable day have we had of it! We were told it was but forty miles across the country, and we have come above three
Hast. And all, Marlow, from that unaccountable reserve of yours, that would not let us inquire more frequently on the way.
Mar. I own, Hastings, I am unwilling to lay myself under an obligation to every one I meet; and often, stand the chance of an unmannerly answer.
Hast. At present, however, we are not likely to receive any answer,
Tony. No offence, gentlemen. But I'm told you have been inquiring for one Mr. Hardcastle, in these parts.
know what part of the couạtry you are in ?
Hast. Not in the least, sir, but should thank you for information.
Tony. Nor the way. you came?
Tony. Why, gentlemen, if you know neither the road you are going, nor where you are, nor the road you came, the first thing I have to inform you is, that—you have lost your way.
Mar. We wanted no information of that, sir.
Tony. Pray, gentlemen, may I be so bold as to ask the place from whence you came?
Mar. That's not necessary towards directing us where we are to go.
Tony. No offence: but question for question is all fair, you know. Pray, gentlemen, is not this same Hardcastle a cross-grain'd, old-fashion'd, whimsical fellow, with an ugly face; a daughter, and a pretty son ?
Hast. We have not seen the gentleman, but he has the family you mention.
Tony. The daughter, a tall trapesing, trolloping, talkative maypole-The son, a pretty, well bred, agrecable youth, that every body is fond of.
Mar. Our information differs in this. The daughter is said to be well bred and beautiful; the son, an awkward booby, reared up, and spoiled at his mother's apron string.
Tony. He-he-hem-Then, gentlemen, all I have to tell you is, that
won't reach Mr. Hardcastle's house this night, I believe.
gerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the way, to Mr. Hardcastle's-[Winking upon the LANDLORD.}Mr. Hardcastle's, of Quagmire Marsh, you know.
Land. Master Hardcastle's! Lock-a-daisy, my masters, you're come a deadly deal wrong! When you came to the bottom of the hill, you should have cross'd down Squash-lane.
Mar. Cross down Squash-lane !
Land. Then you were to keep straight forward, till you came to four roads.
Mar. Come to where four roads meet! Tony. Ay; but you must be sure to take only one of them.
Mar. O, sir, you're facetious,
Tony. Then keeping to the right, you are to go sideways till you come upon Crackskull Commun: there you must look sharp for the track of the wheel, and go forward, till you come to Farmer Murrain's barn. Coming to the Farmer's barn, you are to turn to the right, and then to the left, and then to the right about again, till you
find out the old millMar. Zounds, man! we could as soon find out the longitude!
Hast. What's to be done, Marlow?
Mar. This house promises but a poor reception; though perhaps the Låndlord can accommodate us.
Land. Alack, master, we have but one spare bed in the whole house.
Tony. And to my knowledge that's taken up by three lodgers already:-[After a Pause, in which the Rest seem disconcerted.] I have hit it. Don't you think, Stingo, our landlady could accommodate the gentlemen by the fireside, with -three chairs and a bolster ?
Hast. Damn your fireside.
Tony. You do, do you?-then let me see what if you go on a mile further, to the Buck's Head; the
old Buck's Head on the hill, one of the best inns in the whole country?
Hast. O ho! so we have escaped an adventure for this night, however.
Land. [Apart to Tony.] Sure, you ben't sending them to your father's as an inn, be you?
Tony. Mum, you fool you. Let them find that out.—[To them.] You have only to keep on straight forward, till you come to a large old house by the road side. You'll see a pair of large horns over the door. That's the sign. Drive up the yard, and call stoutly about you.
Hast. Sir, we are obliged to you. The servants can't miss the way?
Tony. No, no: But I tell you though, the landlord is rich, and going to leave off business ; so he wants to be thought a gentleman, saving your presence, he! he! he! He'll be for giving you his company, and ecod if you mind him, he'll persuade you that his mother was an alderman, and his aunt a justice of peace.
Land. A troublesome old blade, to be sure; but a keeps as good wines and beds as any in the whole country,
Mar. Well, if "he supplies us with these, we shall want no further connexion. We are to turn to the right, did you say? Tony. No, no; straight forward.
I'll just step myself, and show you a piece of the way. [To the LANDLORD.) Mum.
Land. Ah, bless your heart, for a sweet, pleasantdamn'd mischievous son of a whore. (E.reunt.