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A COMEDY, IN FIVE ACTS-BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
Tony." DON'T BE AFRAID, MAMMA DON T BE AFRAID."-Act V, scene 2.
SIR CHARLES MARLOW.
SCENE I.-A Chamber in an old-fashioned house. Enter HARDCASTLE and MRS. HARDCASTLE. Mrs. H. I vow, Mr. Hardcastle, you're very particular. Is there a creature in the whole country, but ourselves, that doos not take a trip to town now and then, to rub off the rust a little? There's the two Miss Hoggs, and our neighbour, Mrs. Grigsby, go to take a month's polish every winter. liard. Ay, and bring back vanity and affectation to last them the whole year. I wonder why London cannot keep its own folks at home. In my time, the 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 very basket.
Mrs. H. Ay; 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,
MRS. HARDCASTLE. MISS HARDCASTLE. MISS NEVILLE.
that looks for all the world like an inn, but that we never see 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.
Hard. And I love it. I love everything that's old: old friends, oll 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. H. Lud! Mr. Hardcastle, you're for ever at your Dorothys, and your old wives. 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.
Hard. Let me see; twenty added to twenty make just fifty and seven.
Mrs H. It's false, Mr. Hardcastle! I was but
twenty when I was brought to-bed of Tony, that I
superfluous silk hast thou got about thee, girl! I
Ilard. Nor ever will, I dare answer for him. Ay, you have taught him finely.
Miss II. You know our agreement, sir. You allow me the morning to receive and pay visits, and to dress in my own manner; and in the even
Mrs. II. 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 spending, I put on my housewife's dress to please you. fifteen hundred a-year. Hard. Well, remember, I insist on the terms of our agreement: and, by-the-by, I believe I shall have occasion to try your obedience this very evening. [meaning. Miss II. I protest, sir, I don't comprehend your Ilard. Then, to be plain with you, Kate, I expect the young gentleman I have chosen to be your husband from town this very day. I have his father's letter, in which he informs me his son is set out, and that he intends to follow him shortly after.
Hard. Learning, quotha! a mere composition of tricks and mischief.
Mrs. H. Humour, my dear; nothing but humour. Come, Mr. Hardcastle, you must allow the boy a little humour.
Hard. I'd sooner allow him a horse-pond. burning the footman's shoes, frighting the maids, 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 popp'd my bald head into Mrs. Frizzle's face.
Mrs. H. And am I to blame? The poor boy was. always too sickly 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?
Hard. Latin for him! A cat and fiddle. No, no; the alehouse and the stable are the only schools he'll ever go to.
Mrs. H. Well, we must not snub the poor boy;
Hard. Ay, if growing fat be one of the symptoms.
Hard. Yes, when his liquor goes the wrong way.
Hard. And truly so am I; for he sometimes
Enter TONY, crossing the stage.
Mrs. H. Where are you going, my charmer? Won't you give papa and I a little of your company, lovee?
Tony. I'm in haste, mother; I can't stay.
Tony. I can't stay, I tell you. The Three Pigeons
Hard. Ay; the alehouse, the old place: I thought
Mrs. H. Pray. my dear, disappoint them for one
Tony. As for disappointing them, I should not so
Mrs. H. I say, you sha'n't.
Tony. We'll see which is strongest, you or I.
Enter MISS HARDCASTLE.
Miss H. Indeed! I wish I had known something of this before. Bless me! how shall I behave? It's a thousand to one I sha'n't like him. Our meeting will be so formal, and so like a thing of business, that I shall find no room for friendship or esteem.
Hard. Depend upon it, child, I'll never control your choice; but Mr. Marlow, whom I have pitched upon, is the son of my old friend, Sir Charles Marlow, of whom you have heard me talk so often. The young gentleman has been bred a scholar, and is designed for an employment in the service of his country. I am told he's a man of an excellent understanding.
Miss H. Is he?
Hard. Very generous.
Miss H. I believe I shall like him,
Hard. Young and brave.
Miss H. I'm sure I shall like him.
Hard. And very handsome.
Miss H. My dear papa, say no more. (Kissing his hand.) He's mine; I'll have him.
Iard. And, to crown all, Kate, he's one of the most bashful, reserved young fellows in the world.
Miss II. Eh! you have frozen me to death again. That word 'reserved' has undone all the rest of his accomplishments. A reserved lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious husband.
Hard. On the contrary; lesty seldom resides in a breast that is not enriched with nobler vir ues. It was the very feature in his character that first struck me.
Miss H. He must have more striking features to catch me, I promise you. However, if he be so young, so handsome, and so everything, as you mention, I believe he'll do still I think I'll have him.
Hard. Ay, Kate; but there is still an obstacle. It's more than an even wager he may not have you.
Miss H. My dear papa, why will you mortify one so? Well, if he refuse, instead of breaking my heart at his indifference, I'll only break my glass for its flattery; set my cap to some newer fashiou, and look out for some less difficult admirer.
Enter MISS NEVILLE.
I'm glad you're come, Neville, my dear. Tell me, Constance, how do I look this evening? Is there anything whimsical about me? Is it one of my well-looking days, child? Am I in face to-day?
Miss N. Perfectly, my dear. Yet now I book again-bless me! sure no accident has happened among the canary-birds or the gold-fishes. Has your brother or the cat been meddling? Or has the last novel been too moving?
Miss H. No; nothing of all this. I have been threatened-I can scarce get it out-I have been threatened with a lover.
Miss N. And his name
Miss H. Is Marlow.
Miss N. Indeed!
Miss H. The son of Sir Charles Marlow.
Miss N. As I live, the most intimate friend of Mr.
Miss N. He's a very singular character, I assure you. Among women of reputation and virtue, he is the modestest man alive; but his acquaintance give him a very different character among women of another stamp. You understand me?
Miss H. An odd character, indeed. I shall never be able to manage him. What shall I do? Psha! think no more of him; but trust to occurrences for success. But how goes on your own affair, my dear? Has my mother been courting you for my brother Tony, as usual?
Miss N. I have just come from one of our agreeable tête-à-têtes. She has been saying a hundred tender things, and setting off her pretty monster as the very pink of perfection.
Miss H. And her partiality is such, that she actually thinks him so. A fortune like yours is no small temptation. Besides, as she has the sole management of it, I'm not surprised to see her unwilling to let it go out of the family.
Miss N. A fortune like mine, which chiefly consists in jewels, is no such mighty temptation. But, at any rate, if my dear Hastings be but constant, I make no doubt to be too hard for her at last. However, I let her suppose that I am in love with her son; and she never once dreams that my affections are fixed upon another.
Miss H. My good brother holds out stoutly. I could almost love him for hating you so.
1 Fel. The 'squire has got spunk in him. 2 Fel. I loves to hear him sing, bekase he never gives us nothing that's low.
3 Fel. Oh! d-n anything that's low; I can't bear it.
4 Fel. The genteel thing is the gentleel thing at any time, if so be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
3 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 my bear ever dances but to the very genteelest of tunes-" Water parted," or the minuet in Ariadne.
2 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 shew what it was to keep choice company.
2 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 strait-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
Miss N. It is a good natur'd creature at bottom; and I'm sure, would wish to see me married to any-girls, in the whole country. body but himself. But my aunt's bell rings for our afternoon's walk round the improvements. Allons! Courage is necessary, as our affairs are critical. Miss H. Would it were bed-time, and all were well. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-An Ale-house room. Several shabby fellows, with punch and tobacco. TONY at the head of the table, a little higher than the rest:
a mallet in his hand.
All. Hurra! hurra! hurra! bravo!
1 Fel. Now, gentlemen, silence for a song. The 'squire is going to knock himself down for a song. All Ay; a song, a song.
Tony. Then I'll sing you, gentlemen, a song I made upon this alehouse, the Three Pigeons,
Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsen e, and learning: Good liquor, 1 stoutly maintain,
Gives genius a better di.cerning,
Tony. Ecod! and when I'm of age I'll be no bastard, I promise you. I have been thinking of Bet 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, Stinge, what's the [Enter Landlord.
Land. There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise, at the door. They've lost their way upon the forest, and they are talking something about Mr.
Tony. As sure as can be, one of them must be the gentleman that's coming down to court my sister. Do they seem to be Londoners?
Land. I believe they may. They look woundily like Frenchmen.
Tony. Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. [Exit Landlord.] Gentlemen, as they mayn't be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon. [Ereunt Mob.] Father-in-law has been calling me a 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 threescore.
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
Hast. Not in the least, sir; but should thank you for information.
Tony. Nor in the way you came? Hast. No, sir; but if you can inform usTony. 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 ghost to tell us that. 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, agreeable youth, that everybody 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 you won't reach Mr. Hardcastle's house this night, I believe.
Tony. It's a d-d long, dark, boggy, dangerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the way to Mr. Hardcastle's (winking at the Landlord)-Mr. Hardcastle's, of Quagmire-marsh. You understand me.
Land. Master Hardcastle's? Lack-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 Mar. Oh, sir! you're facetious. [one. Tony. Then, keeping to the right, you are to go sideways till you come upon Crack-skull Common; 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 mill
Mar. 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 landlord 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 would accommodate the gentlemen by the fireside, with three chairs and a bolster?
Hast. I hate sleeping by the fireside. [bolster. Mar. And I detest your three chairs and a 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 bean'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 house on 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. [can't miss the way? Hast. Sir, we are obliged to you. The servants 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; b t a' keeps as good wines and beds as any in the whole county.
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 shew you a piece of the way. (To the Landlord.) Mum!
Land. Ah, bless your heart. for a sweet, pleasant, d-d, mischievous son of a w-! (Aside.) [Exit. ACT II-SCENE L-An old-fashioned House. Enter HARDCASTLE, followed by two or three awkward servants.
Hard. Well, I hope you are perfect in the table exercise I have been teaching you these three days. You all know your posts and your places; and can shew that you have been used to good company, without stirring from home. All. Ay, ay.
Hard. When company comes, you are not to pop out and stare, and then run in again, like frighted rabbits in a warren.
All. No, no.
Hard. You, Diggory, whom I have taken from the barn, are to make a shew at the side-table; and you, Roger, whom I have advanced from the plough, are to place yourself behind my chair. But you're not to stand so, with your hands in your pockets. Take your hands from your pockets, Roger; and from your head, you blockhead you. See how Diggory carries his hands: they're a little too stiff, indeed, but that's no great matter.
Dig. Ay, mind how I hold them; I learned to hold my hands this way when I was upon drill for the militia; and so being upon drill
Hard, You must not be so talkative, Diggory
you must be all attention to the guests: you must hear us talk, and not think of talking; you must see us drink, and not think of drinking; you must see us eat, and not think of eating.
Dig. By the laws, your worship, that's parfectly unpossible. Whenever Diggory sees eating going forwards, ecod! he's always wishing for a mouthful himself.
Hard. Blockhead! is not a bellyful in the kitchen as good as a bellyful in the parlour? Stay your stomach with that reflection.
Dig. Ecod! I thank your worship, I'll make a shift to stay my stomach with a slice of cold beef in the pantry.
Hard. Diggory, you're too talkative. Then if I happen to say a good thing, or tell a good story at table, you must not all burst out a-laughing, as if you made part of the company.
Dig. Then, ecod! your worship must not tell the story of Ould Grouse in the gun-room: I can't help laughing at that, he, he, he, he! for the soul of me. We have laughed at that these twenty years; ha, lia, ha!
Hard. Ha, ha, ha! The story is a good one." Well, honest Diggory, you may laugh at that; but still remember to be attentive. Suppose one of the company should call for a glass of wine, how will you behave? A glass of wine, sir, if you please. (To Diggory.) Eh! why don't you move?
Dig. Ecod! your worship, I never have courage till I see the eatables and drinkables brought upon the table, and then I'm as bauld as a lion.
Hard. A glass of wine, if you please.
will nobody move?
1 Serv. I'm not to leave this place. 2 Serv. I'm sure it's no place of mine. 3 Serv. Nor mine, for sartin.
Dig. Wauns! and I'm sure it canna be mine. Hard. You numskulls! and so, while, like your betters, you are quarrelling for places, the guests must be starved. Oh! you dunces! I find I must begin all over again. But don't I hear a coach drive into the yard? To your posts, you blockheads. I'll go in the meantime, and give my old friend's son a hearty welcome at the gate. [Exit. Dig. By the elevens! my place is gone quite out of my head.
Roger. I know that my place is to be everywhere. 1 Serv. Where the devil's mine?
2 Serv. My place is to be no where at all; and, so I'ze go about my business. [Exeunt Servants. Enter MARLOW and HASTINGS. Hast. After the disappointments of the day, welcome once more, Charles, to the comforts of a clean room and a good fire. Upon my word a very well looking house; antique, but creditable.
Mar. The usual fate of a large mansion. Having first ruined the master by good house-keeping, it has at last come to levy contributions as an inn.
Hast. As you say, we passengers are to be taxed to pay all these fineries. I have often seen a good side-board, or a marble chimney-piece, though not actually put in the bill, inflame the bill confoundedly.
Mar. Travellers must pay in all places; the only difference is, that in good inns you pay dearly for luxuries; in bad inns you are fleeced and starved.
Hast. You have lived pretty much among them. In truth, I have been often surprised that you, who havo seen so much of the world, with your natural good sense, and your many opportunities, could never yet acquire a requisite share of assurance.
Mar. The Englishman's malady: but tell me, George, where could I have learned that assur ance you talk of? My life has been chiefly spent
in a college or an inn, in seclusion from that lovely part of the creation, that chiefly teach men confidence. I don't know that I was ever familiarly acquainted with a single modest woman, except my mother; but among females of another class, you know
Hast. Ay, among them you are impudent enough of all conscience.
Mar. They are of us, you know.
Hast. But in the company of women of reputation I never saw such an idiot, such a trembler; you look for all the world as if you wanted an opportunity of stealing out of the room.
Mar. Why, man, that's because I do want to steal out of the room. Faith! I have often formed a resolution to break the ice, and rattle away at any rate. But I don't know how, a single glance from a pair of fine eyes has totally overset my resolution. An impudent fellow may counterfeit modesty, but I'll be hanged if a modest man can ever counterfeit impudence.
Hast. If you could say but half the fine things to them that I have heard you lavish upon the barmaid of an inn, or even a college bed-makerMar. Why, George, I can't say fine things to them: they freeze, they petrify me. They may talk of a comet, or a burning mountain, or some such bagatelle; but to me, a modest woman, drest out in all her finery, is the most tremendous object of the whole creation.
Hast. Ha, ha, ha! At this rate, man, how can you ever expect to marry?
Mar. Never; unless, as among kings and princes, my bride were to be courted by proxy. If indeed, like an eastern bridegroom, one were to be introduced to a wife he never saw before, it might be endured. But to go through all the terrors of a formal courtship, together with the episode of aunts, grandmothers, cousins, and at last to blurt out the broad start-question, of Madam, will you marry me?' No, no, that's a strain much above me, I assure you.
Hast. I pity you; but how do you intend behaving to the lady you are come down to visit at the request of your father? Bow very
Mar. As I behave to all other ladies. low; answer yes, or no, to all her demands: but for the rest, I don't think I shall venture to look in her face till I see my father's again.
Hast. I'm surprised, that one who is so warm a friend can be so cool a lover.
Mar. To be explicit, my dear Hastings, my chief inducement down was to be instrumental in forwarding your happiness, not my own. Miss Neville loves you; the family don't know you; as my friend, you are sure of a reception, and let honour do the rest. Enter HARDCASTLE.
Ilard. Gentlemen, once more you are heartily welcome. Which is Mr. Marlow? (Mar. Advances.) Sir, you're 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 my gate; I like to see their horses and trunks taken care of.
Mar. (Aside.) He has got our names from the servants already. (To Hard.) We approve your caution and hospitality, sir. (To Hust.) I have been thinking, George, of changing our travelling dresses in the morning; I am grown confoundedly ashamed of mine. [mony in this house
Hard. I beg, Mr. Marlow you'll use o cereHast. I fancy, you're right: the first blow is half the battle. We must, however, open the campaign. Hard. Mr. Marlow-Mr. Hastings-gentlemenpray be under no restraint in this house.