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Enter Tony and Miss NEVILLE. Tony. What do you follow me for, cousin Con? I wonder you're not asham'd to be so very engaging.
Miss Nev. 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, I tell you, cousin Con, it won't do, so I beg you'll keep your distance, I want no nearer relationship.
[She follows coqueting him to the Back Scene. Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE and HASTINGS. Mrs. Hard. Well ! I vow, Mr. Hastings, you are very entertaining. There's nothing in the world I love to talk of so much as London, and the fashions, though I was never there myself.
Hast. 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.
Mrs. Hard. 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 tete-a-tete from the Scandalous Magazine, and have all the fashions, as they come out, in a letter from the two Miss Rickets of Crooked lane. Pray how do you like this head, Mr. Hastings ?
Hast. Extremely elegant and" degagée, upon my word, madam. Your friseur is a Frenchman, I sup
Mrs. Hard. I protest I dressed it myself from a print in the ladies' memorandum book for the last year.
Hast. Indeed ! Such a head in a side-box, at the playhouse, would draw as many gazers as my Lady Mayoress at a city ball.
Mrs. Hard. 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. Hast. But that can never be your case, madam, in
(Bowing. Mrs. Hard. Yet, what signifies my dressing, when I have such a piece of antiquity by my side as Mr. Hardcastle? all I can say will not 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 Captain Pately, with powder.
Hast. You are right, madam; for, as among the ladies, there are none ugly, so among the men, there are none old.
Mrs. Hard. 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 tete for my own wearing.
Hast. Intolerable! At your age you may wear what you please, and it must become you.
Mrs. Hard. Pray, Mr, Hastings, what do you take to be the most fashionable' age about town?
Hast. Some time ago, forty was all the mode; but I'm told the ladies intend to bring up fifty for the ensuing winter.
Mrs. Hard. Seriously. Then I shall be too young for the fashion.
Hast. 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, a mere maker of samplers.
Mrs. Hard. And yet my niece thinks herself as
much a woman, and is as fond of jewels as the oldest of us all.
Hast. Your niece, is she? And that young gentleman, a brother of
I should presume ? Mrs. Hard. My son, sir. They are contracted to each other. Observe their little sports. They quarrel and make it up again 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?
Tony. I have been saying no soft things ; but that it's very hard to be followed about so, Ecod ! I've not a place in the house now that's left to myself but the stable.
Mrs. Hard. Never mind him, Con, my dear. He's in another story behind your
back. Miss Nev. There's something generous in my cousin's manner. He falls out before faces to be forgiven in private.
Tony, That's a damned confounded-crack.
Mrs. Hard. For shame, Tony. You a man, and behave so!
Tony. If I'm a man, let me have my fortin. Ecod ! I'll not be made a fool of no longer.
Mrs. Hard. Is this, ungrateful boy, all that I'm to get for the pains I have taken in your education ? Did not I work that waistcoat and those ruffles to make
look like a gentleman? Tony. Ecod ! I tell you, I'll not be made a fool of no longer.
Mrs. Hard. Wasn't it all for your good, viper ? Wasn't it all for your good ?
Tony. I wish you'd let me and my good alone then. Snubbing this way, when I'm in spirits. If I'm to have any good, let it come of itself; not to keep dinging it, dinging it into one so.
Mrs. řard. That’s false; I never see you when you're in spirits. No, Tony, you then go the ale
house or kennel. I'm never to be delighted with your agreeable, wild notes, unfeeling monster!
Tony. Ecod ! mamma, your own notes are the wildest of the two.
Mrs. Hard. Was ever the like? But I see he wants to break my heart, I see he does.
Hast. Dear madam, permit me to lecture the young gentleman a little. I'm certain I can persuade him to his duty.
Mrs. Hard. Well! I must retire. Come, Constance, my love. You see, Mr. Hastings, the wretchedness of my situation; Was ever poor woman so plagued with a dear, sweet, pretty, provoking, undutiful boy!
[Exeunt Mrs. HARDCASTLE and Miss NEVILLE.
Tony. Don't mind her. Let her cry. It's the comfort of her heart. I have seen her and sister
cry. a book for an hour together, and they said they liked the book the better the more it made them cry.
Hast. Then you're no friend to the ladies, I find my pretty young gentleman ?
Tony. That's as I find 'um.
Hast. Not to her of your mother's chusing, I dare answer? And yet she appears to me a pretty welltempered girl.
Tony. That's because you don't know her as well as I. Ecod! I know every inch about her; and there's not a more bitter cantanckerous toad in all Christendom.
Hast. (Aside.] Pretty encouragement this for a lover!
Tony. I have seen her since the height of that. She has as many tricks as a hare in a thicket, or a colt the first day's breaking,
Hast. To me she appears sensible and silent.
Tony, Ay, before company. But when she's with her playmates she's as loud as a hog in a gate.
Hast. Well, but you must allow her a little beauty.-Yes, you must allow her some beauty.
Tony. Bandbox ! She's all a made up thing, mun. Ah! could you but see Bet Bouncer of these parts, you might then talk of beauty. Ecod ! she has two eyes as black as sloes, and cheeks as broad and red as a pulpit cushion. She'd make two of she.
Hast. Well, what say you to a friend, that would take this bitter bargain off your hands ?
Hast. Would you thank him, that would take Miss Neville, and leave you to happiness and your dear Betsey ?
Tony. Ay; but where is there such a friend, for who would take her?
Hast. I am he. If you but assist me, I'll engage to whip her off to France, and
shall never hear more of her. Tony. Assist you ! Ecod I will, to the last drop of
I'll clap a pair of horses to your chaise, that shall trundle you off in a twinkling, and may be get you a part of her fortin beside, in jewels, that you little dream of.
Hast. My dear 'Squire, this looks like a lad of spirit.
Tony. Come along then, and you shall see more of my spirit before you have done with me.