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Scene, a Chamber in an old-fashioned House.
Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE and Mr. HARDCASTLE.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country, but ourselves, that does not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? There's the two Mifs Hoggs, and our neighbour, Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polishing every winter.
HARDCASTLE. Aye, and bring back vanity and affectation to last them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own fools at home! In my time, the K4
follies of the town crept slowly among us, but now they travel faster than a stage-coach. Its fopperies come down, not only as inside passengers, but in the
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Aye, your times were fine times, indeed; you have been telling us of them for many a long year. Here we live in an old rumbling mansion, that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never fee company. Our best visitors are old Mrs. Oddfish, the curate's wife, and little Cripplegate, the lame dancing-master: and all our entertainment your old stories of prince Eugene and the duke of Marlborough. I hate such old-fashioned trumpery.
HARDCASTLE. And I love it. I love every thing that's old: old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wine; and, I believe, Dorothy, (taking her hand) you'll own I have been pretty fond of an old wife.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Lord, Mr. Hardcastle, you're for ever at your Dorothy's and your old wife's. You may be a Darby, but I'll be no Joan, I promise you. I'm not so old as you'd make me, by more than one good year. Add twenty to twenty, and make money of that.
HARDCASTLF. · Let me fee; twenty added to crventy, makes just fifty and seven
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. It's false, Mr. Hardcastle: I was but twenty when I was brought to bed of Tony, that I had by Mr. Lumpkin, my first husband; and he's not come to years of discretion yet.
HARDCASTLE. Nor ever will, I dare answer for him. Aye, you have taught him finely.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. No matter, Tony Lumpkin has a good fortune. My son is not to live by his learning. I don't think a boy wants much learning to spend fifteen hundred a year.
HARDCASTLE. Learning, quotha! A mere composition of tricks and mischief,
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Humour, my dear: nothing but humour. Come, Mr. Hardcastle, you must allow the boy a little hu
HARDCASTLE. I'd sooner allow him an horse-pond. If burning the footmens shoes, frighting the maids, and worrying the kittens, be humour, he has it. It was but yesterday he fastened my wig to the back of my chair, and when I went to make a bow, I popt my bald head in Mrs. Frizzle's face.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. And am I to blame? The poor boy was always too fickly to do any good. A school would be his
death. When he comes to be a little stronger, who knows what a year or two's Latin may do for him?
HARDCASTLE. Latin for him! A cat and fiddle. No, no, the alehouse and the stable are the only schools he'll ever go to.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Well, we must not snub the poor boy now, for I believe we shan't have him long among us. Any body that looks in his face may see he's consumptive.
HARDCASTLE. Aye, if growing too fat be one of the symptoms.
HARDCASTLE. And truly so am I; for he sometimes whoops like a speaking trumpet- (Tony hallooing behind the scenes)-- there he goes--A very consumptive fie gure, truly. Enter TONY, crofling the Stage.
Mrs. HARDCASTLE. Tony, where are you going, my charmer? Won't you give papa and I a little of your company, lovee ?