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Miss Neville. Since his death, I have been obliged to stoop to dissimulation to avoid oppression. In an hour of levity, I was ready even to give up my fortune to secure my choice: but I am now recovered from the delusion, and hope from your tenderness what is denied me from a nearer connection.
Mrs. Hardcastle. Pshaw, pshaw! this is all but the whining end of a modern novel.
Hardcastle. Be it what it will, I'm glad they're come back to reclaim their due. Come hither, Tony, boy. Do you refuse this lady's hand, whom I now offer you?
Tony. What signifies my refusing? You know I can't refuse her till I'm of age, father.
Hardcastle. While I thought concealing your age, boy, was likely to conduce to your improvement, I concurred with your mother's desire to keep it secret. But since I find she turns it to a wrong use, I must now declare you have been of age these three months.
Tony. Of age! Am I of age, father?
Hardcastle. Above three months.
Tony. Then you'll see the first use I'll make of my liberty. (Taking Miss Neville's hand.) Witness all men by these presents, that I, Anthony Lumpkin, esquire, of BLANK place, refuse you, Constantia Neville, spinster, of no place at all, for my true and lawful wife. So Constance Neville may marry whom she pleases, and Tony Lumpkin is his own man again.1
Sir Charles. O brave Squire!
Mrs. Hardcastle. My undutiful offspring!
Marlow. Joy, my dear George, I give you joy sincerely! And, could I prevail upon my little tyrant here to be less arbitrary, I should be the happiest man alive-if you would return me the favour.
Hastings. (To Miss Hardcastle.) Come, Madam, you are
1 A common stage reading of this passage:-" So Constantia Neville may go to the devil," &c., has no warrant in the originals. If Quick, tempted by the rhyme, interpolated this reading, and so gave the "tradition to later actors, the fact would almost excuse the charges of vulgarity which were brought against the piece by Horace Walpole and others.-ED.
now driven to the very last scene of all your contrivances. I know you like him, I'm sure he loves you, and you must and shall have him.
Hardcastle. (Joining their hands.) And I say so too. And, Mr. Marlow, if she makes as good a wife as she has a daughter, I don't believe you'll ever repent your bargain. So now to supper. To-morrow we shall gather all the poor of the parish about us, and the Mistakes of the Night shall be crowned with a merry morning. So, boy, take her; and, as you have been mistaken in the mistress, my wish is, that you may never be mistaken in the wife. [Exeunt omnes.
BY DR. GOLDSMITH.
SPOKEN BY MRS. BULKLEY, IN THE CHARACTER OF MISS HARDCASTLE.1
WELL, having stoop'd to conquer with success,
The original Miss Hardcastle first figured on the stage as Miss Wilford. Then she played as Mrs. Bulkley; and later as Mrs. Barres She died in 1792. See also note to the following epilogue.—Ed.
Next the scene shifts to town, and there she soars,
And quits her Nancy Dawson' for Che Faro:
Till, having lost in age the power to kill,
TO BE SPOKEN IN THE CHARACTER OF TONY LUMPKIN.
BY J. CRADOCK, Esq.1
WELL-now all's ended-and my comrades gone,
1 See the Mrs. Bulkley Epilogue, and its note, in the Poems.—ED. 2 See p. 112, and note.-ED.
3 Some editors print "bays." The early editions have "Bayes." Of course bays is meant, but no doubt there is the double meaning which includes Bayes, the character in the Duke of Buckingham's 'Rehearsal,' whose name, as Mr. Bolton Corney says, had become synonymous with dramatist, and had been so used by Garrick and Colman.-ED.
4 This came too late to be spoken.-Note in original. Joseph Cradock, author of 'Zobeide,' &c., see Poems, p. 95. In Goldsmith's letter to
Why should not I in the great world appear?
Cradock, acknowledging the receipt of this epilogue (see Letters in vol. i.), our author simply says that" it could not be used," but "should be printed." Cradock, in his Memoirs,' says it was not meant for publication. Cradock also tells a curious story of having revised, or "altered," 'She Stoops to Conquer' for Goldsmith, "in Leicestershire." See the notes to Goldsmith's letters to Cradock in vol. i. In one of these letters Goldsmith tells of some of his troublesome "stage adventures" in connection with the production of She Stoops to Conquer.' For two other epilogues intended for this play, see the Poems. Also for a song intended to have been sung by Miss Hardcastle, see p. 110. At this last reference it is shown that Mrs. Bulkley, the original Miss Hardcastle, could not sing. There is a story that the part was meant for Mrs. Abington (the original Lady Teazle, 1777), who could sing. The story, however, is doubtful; and, as it is told by Mr. Forster, partly on the authority of Northcote, it seems certainly wrong. See the following Appendix.-ED.
TO THIS EDITION OF SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER.'
MRS. ABINGTON AND THE PART OF MISS
THE story to the effect that the part of Miss Hardcastle was refused by Mrs. Abington (as mentioned in the note above), seems to need refutation, seeing that it affects both the celebrated actress who is alleged to have made the refusal and the popular actress, Mrs. Bulk
ley, who really played the part. The story in the first place looks doubtful from the fact that no mention is made of it by Boswell and most of the rest of the numerous gossippers who have retailed so much about Goldsmith's play. Only Northcote, the biographer of Reynolds, tells it, and that some forty years after the play's production. But Mr. Forster, having adopted Northcote's story, and added to it, there seems some chance of its taking root as a popular error. Hence the necessity, as it seems to us, of the following attempted refutation. Mr. Forster says (Life of Goldsmith,' 1854, vol. ii. p. 369), "Mortification still attended Goldsmith there [at Covent Garden Theatre]. The actors and actresses had taken their tone from the manager. Gentleman Smith threw up Young Marlow; Woodward refused Tony Lumpkin; Mrs. Abington (and this was the greatest blow of all) declined Miss Hardcastle; and in the teeth of his own misgivings, Colman could not contest with theirs. So alarming was the defection, to some of Goldsmith's friends, that they urged the postponement of the comedy. 'No,' he said, giving to his necessity the braver look of independence, 'I'd rather my play were damned by bad players, than merely saved by good acting." This, so far as Mrs. Abington is concerned, is founded upon Northcote's Life of Sir J. Reynolds,' 1818, vol. i. p. 128, where it is stated that:-" She [Mrs. Abington], however, much offended Goldsmith, at last, by refusing to take the part which he had written on purpose for her, in his comedy of She Stoops to Conquer,' which character was, of necessity, performed by another actress, to Goldsmith's great mortification, on the first night's representation." The statement of the refusal, &c., must be wrong, because Mrs. Abington was not of the Covent Garden company at the time, but was, instead, of the rival house, Drury Lane. Of course Goldsmith originally may have had an eye to Mrs. Abington as an impersonator of his Miss Hardcastle; but, after having given up his comedy to Colman for production at Colman's theatre, and waited some months for its production there (see Goldsmith's correspondence with both Colman and Garrick upon the subject in the Letters at the end of our vol. i.), he could hardly have expected Mrs. Abington would play in it. Mr. Forster has further embellished his version of the story by adding that Goldsmith "freely talked in Gerrardstreet of the part he had written on purpose for Mrs. Abington""; but Mr. Forster has not stated where he got the item showing how Goldsmith "freely talked," &c. It is not with the other statement in Northcote. Goldsmith published in his Good-Natured Man' a note praising Mrs. Bulkley for her delivery of the Epilogue to this play (see the Epilogue), and we may assume, therefore, that he was at least fairly well satisfied with the way in which this actress had played his first stage heroine, Miss Richland.-ED.