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Enter MARLOW, L. Mar. What a bawling in every part of the house! I have scarce a moment's repose. If I
to the best room, there I find my host and his story. If I fly to the gallery, there we have my hostess with her courtesy down to the ground. I have at last got a moment to myself, and now for recollection.
(Walks and muses. Miss H. Did you call, sir ? did your honor call ?
Mar. [Musing.) As for Miss Hardcastle, she's too grave and sentimental for me. Miss H. Did your honor call ?
(She still places herself before him, he turning away. Mar. No, child. (Musing.) Besides, from the glimpse I had of her, I think she squints.
Miss H. I am sure, sir, I heard the bell ring.
Mar. No, no. (Musing.] I have pleased my father, however, by coming down, and I'll to-morrow please myself by returning [Taking out his tablets and perusing.
Miss H. Perhaps the other gentleman called, sir?
Mar. No, no, I tell you. [Looks full in her face.] Yes, child, I think I did call. I wanted—I wanted-I vow, child, you are vastly handsome.
Miss H. Oh, la, sir, you'll make one ashamed.
Mar. Never saw a more sprightly malicious eye.-Yes, yes, my dear, I did call.
Have you got any of your-a —what d'ye call it, in the house?
Miss H. No, sir, we have been out of that these ten days. Mar. One may call in this house, I find,
little purpose. Suppose I should call for a taste, just by way of trial, of the nectar of your lips ; perhaps I might be disappointed in that, too.
Miss H. Nectar! nectar! that's a liquor there's no call for in these parts. French, I suppose. We keep no French wines here, sir.
Mar. Of true English growth, I assure you.
Miss H. Then it's odd I should not know it. We brew all sorts of wines in this house, and I have lived here these eighteen years.
Mar. Eighteen years! Why one would think, child, you kept the bar before you were born. How old are you?
Miss H. Oh, sir, I must not tell my age. They say women and music should never be dated.
Mar. To guess at this distance you can't be much above forty. ( Approaching.] Yet nearer, I don't think so much. (Approaching.) By coming close to some women they look younger still; but when we come very close indeed
[Attempting to kiss her. Miss H. Pray, sir, keep your distance. One would think you
wanted to know one's age as they do horses, by mark of mouth.
Mar. I protest, child, you use me extremely ill. If you keep me at this distance, how is it possible you and I can be ever acquainted ?
Miss H. And who wants to be acquainted with you? I want no such acquaintance, not I. I'm sure you did not treat Miss Hardcastle in this obstropalous manner. I'll warrant me, before her you looked dashed, and kept bowing to the ground, and talked for all the world as if you were a justice of the peace.
Mar. (Aside. Egad ! she has hit it sure enough. [To Miss Hardcastle.] In awe of her, child ? Ha! ha! ha! A mere awkward, squinting thing; no, no, I find you don't know me. I laughed, and rallied her a little; but I was unwilling to be too severe. No, I could not be too severe, curse me!
Miss H. Oh! then, sir, you are a favorite, I find, among the ladies ?
Mar. Yes, my dear, a great favorite ; and yet, hang me, I don't see what they find in me to follow. At the ladies' club in town, I am called their agreeable Rattle. Rattle, child, is not my real name, but one I'm known by. My name is Jenkins. Mr. Jenkins, my dear, at your service.
[Offering to salute her. Miss H. Hold, sir ; you were introducing me to your club not to yourself. And you're so great a favorite there you say?
Mar. Yes, my dear. There's Mrs. Mantrap, Lady Betty Blacklog, the Countess of Cog, Mrs. Longhorns, old Miss Biddy Buckskin, and your humble servant, keep up the spirit of the place.
Miss H. Then it's a very merry place, I suppose ?
Mar. Yes, as merry as cards, suppers, wine and old women can make us.
Miss H. And their agreeable Rattle, ha! ha! ha!
Mar. [Aside.) Egad! I don't quite like this chit. She looks knowing, melhinks. You laugh, child ?
Miss H. I can't but laugh, to think what time they all have for minding their work or their family.
Mar. (Aside. All's well, she don't laugh at me. [ To Miss Hardcastle.] Do you ever work, child ?
Miss H. Ay, sure. There's not a screen or a quilt in the whole house but what can bear witness to that.
Mar. Odso! Then you must show me your embroidery. I embroider and draw patterns myself a little. If you want a judge of your work, you must apply to me.
(Seizing her hand. Miss. H. Ay, but the colors don't look well by candlelight. You shall see all in the morning. [Struggling
Mar. And why not now, my angel ?—Pshaw! the landlord here! My good luck!
Exit Marlow. Enter HARDCASTLE, R., who stands in surprise. Hard. So, madam ! so I find this is your modesć lover. This is your humble admirer, that kept his eyes fixed on the ground, and only adored at humble distance. Kate, Kate, art thou not ashamed to deceive your father so?
Miss H. Never trust me, dear papa, but he's still the modest man I first took him for; you'll be convinced of it as well as I.
Hard. By the hand of my body, I believe his impudence is infectious! Didn't I see him seize your hand ? Didn't I see him haul you about like a milkmaid ? and now you talk of his respect and his modesty, forsooth !
Miss H. But if I shortly convince you of his modesty, that he has only the faults that will pass off with time, and the virtues that will improve with age, I hope you'll forgive him.
Hard. I tell you I'll not be convinced. I am convinced. He has scarcely been three hours in the house, and he has already encroached on all my prerogatives.
Miss H. Sir, I ask but this night to convince you.
Hard. You shall not have half the time, for I have thoughts of turning him out this very hour.
Miss H. Give me that hour then, and I hope to satisfy you.
Hard. Well, an hour let it be then. But I'll have no trifling with your father. All fair and
you mind me ?
Miss H. I hope, sir, you have ever found, that I considered your commands as my pride ; for your kindness is such that my duty as yet has been inclination.
[Exeunt, Hardcastle, R., Miss Hardcastle, L.
END OF ACT III.
SCENE I.-A Room in Hardcastle's House.
Enter Marlow, followed by a Servant, R. Mar. I wonder what Hastings could mean by sending me so valuable a thing as a casket to keep for him, when he knows the only place I have is the seat of a post-coach at an inn door. Have you deposited the casket with the landlady, as I ordered you ? Have you put it into her own hands ?
Ser. Yes, your honor. Mar. She said she'd keep it safe, did she ? Ser. Yes, she said she'd keep it safe enough; she asked me how I came by it ? and she said she had a great mind to make me give an account of myself.
[Exit Servant. Mar. Ha! ha! ha! They're safe, however. What an unaccountable set of beings have we got amongst! This little barmaid, though, runs in my head most strangely, and drives out the absurdities of all the rest of the family; she's mine, she must be mine, or I'm greatly mistaken.
Enter Hastings, R.
with laurels! Well, George, after all, we modest fellows don't want for success among
the women. Hast. Some women you mean.
But what success has your honor's modesty been crowned with now, that it grows so insolent upon us ?
Mar. Didn't you see the tempting, brisk, lively little thing that runs about the house with a bunch of keys to its girdle ?
Hast. Well, and what then?
Mar. She's mine, you rogue you. Such fire, such motion, such eyes, such lips—but, egad! she would not let me kiss them though.
Hast. But are you sure, so very sure of her ?
Mar. Why, man, she talked of showing me her work above stairs, and I'm to approve
the pattern. Hast. But how can you, Charles, go about to rob a woman of her honor ?
Mar. Pshaw! pshaw! we all know the honor of a bar-maid of an inn. I don't intend to rob her, take my word for it; there's nothing in this house I shan't honestly pay for.
Hast. I believe the girl has virtue.
Mar. And if she has, I should be the last man in the world that would attempt to corrupt it.
Hast. You have taken care, I hope, of the casket I sent you to lock up? Is it in safety ?
Mar. Yes, yes; it's safe enough. I have taken care of it. But how could you think the seat of a post-coach at an inn-dvor a place of safety ? Ah, numskull! I have taken better precautions for you than you did for your. self-I have
Hast. What ?
Hast. Yes, she'll bring it forth, with a witness.
Mar. Wasn't I right? I believe you'll allow that I acted prudently upon this occasion ?
Hast. (Aside.) He must not see my uneasiness.