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Marl. [To HARDCASTLE, who looks at them with surprise.] Sir, he's very right, and it's my way too.
Hard. Sir, you have a right to command here. Here. Roger, bring us the bill of fare for to-night's supper. I believe it's drawn out. Your manner, Mr. Hastings, puts me in mind of my uncle, Colonel Wallop. It was a saying of his, that no man was sure of his supper till he had eaten it.
Hast. [Aside. All upon the high ropes ! His uncle a colonel! We shall soon hear of his mother being : justice of the peace. But let's hear the bill of fare.
Marl. [Perusing.] What's here? For the first course; for the second course ; for the dessert. Sir, do you think we have brought down the whole Joiners' company, or the corporation of Bedford, to eat up such a supper? Two or three little things, clean and com. fortable, will do.
Hast. But let's hear it.
Marl. [Reading.] For the first course at the top, a pig and prune sauce.
Hast. I hate your pig, I say.
Hard. And yet, gentlemen, to men that are hungry, pig, with prune sauce, is very good eating.
Marl. At the bottom, a calf's tongue and brains.
Hast. Let your brains be knocked out, my good sir; I don't like them.
Marl. Or you may clap them on a plate by them. selves. I do.
Hard. [Aside.] Their impudence coufounds me. [To
them.]-Gentlemen, you are my guests, make what alterations you please. Is there anything else you
wish so retrench or alter, gentlemen. ? 3
Marl. Item, a pork pie, a boiled rabbit and sausages, a florentine, a shaking pudding, and a dish of tiff-tafftaffety cream !
Hast. Confound your made dishes! I shall be as much at a loss in this house as at a green and yellow dinner at the French ambassador's table. I'm for plain eating.
Hard. I'm sorry, gentlemen, that I have nothing you like; but if there be anything you have a particular fancy to
Marl. Why, sir, your bill of fare is so exquisite, that any one part of it is full as good as another. Send us what you please. So much for supper: and now to see that our beds are aired and properly taken care of.
Hard. I entreat you'll leave all that to me. You shall not stir a step.
Mart. Leave that to you? I protest, sir, you must excuse me; I always look to these things myself.
Hard. I must insist, sir, you'll make yourself easy on that head.
Marl. You see I'm resolved on it. [Aside.]-A very troublesome fellow this, as ever I met with.
Hard. Well, sir, I'm resolved at least to attend you. [Aside.]—This may be modern modesty, but I never saw anything look so like old-fashioned impudence.
[Exeunt MARL. and HARD.
HASTINGS, solus. Hast. So I find, this fellow's civilities begin to grow troublesome. But who can be angry at these assiduities which are meant to please him? Ha! what do I see Miss Neville, by all that's happy!
Enter Miss NEVILLE. Miss Nev. My dear Hastings ! To what unexpected good fortune, to what accident, am I to ascribe this happy meeting ?
Hast. Rather, let me ask the same question, as I could never have hoped to meet my dear Constance at
Miss Nev. An inn! sure you mistake! my aunt, my guardian, lives e. What could induce you to think this house an inn?
Hast. My friend, Mr. Marlow, with whom I came down, and I, have been sent here as to an inn, I assure you. A young fellow, whom we accidentally met at a house hard by, directed us hither.
Miss Nev. Certainly it must be one of my hopeful cousin's tricks, of whom you have heard me talk so often, ha! ha! ha! ha!
Hast. He whom your aunt intends for you? He of whom I have such just apprehensions ?
Miss Nev. You have nothing to fear from him, I assure you. You'd adore him, if you knew how heartily he despises me. My aunt knows it too, and has undertaken to court me for him; and actually begins to think she has made a conquest.
to obey you,
Hast. Thou dear dissembler! You must know, my Constance, I have just seized this happy opportunity of my friend's visit here, to get admittance into the family. The horses that carried us down are now fatigued with their journey; but they'll soon be refreshed; and then, if my dearest girl will trust in her faithful Hastings, we shall soon be landed in France; where, even among slaves, the laws of marriage are respected. Miss Nev. I have often told you, that though ready I yet should leave
little fortune behind with reluctance. The greatest part of it was left me by my uncle, the India director, and chiefly consists in jewels." I have been for some time persuading my aunt to let me wear them. I fancy I am very near succeeding. The instant they are put into my possession, you shall find me ready to make them and myself yours.
Hast. Perish the baubles! Your person is all I desire, In the meantime, my friend Marlow must not be let into his mistake ; I know the strange reserve of
AC his temper is such, that if abruptly informed of it, he would instantly quit the house, before our plan was ripe for execution.
taw Miss Nev. But how shall we keep him in the deception ? Miss Hardcastle is just returned from walking ;. what if we still continue to deceive him? This, this way.
[They confer. Enter MARLOW. Marl. The assiduities of these good people tease me beyond bearing. My host seems to think it ill
manners to leave me alone, and so he claps not on himself, but his old-fashioned wife on my back. The talk of coming to sup with us too ; and then, I suppos we are to run the gauntlet through all the rest of th family. What have we got here?
Getthanter Hast. My dear Charles ! Let me congratulate you The most fortunate accident! Who do you think just alighted ?
! Marl. Cannot guess.
sli Hast. Our mistresses, boy, Miss Hardcastle an. Miss Neville. Give me leave to introduce Miss Cou stance Neville to your acquaintance. Happening 1 dine in the neighbourhood, they called, on their return to take fresh horses here. Miss Hardcastle has jus stepped into the next room, and will be back in a instant. Wasn't it lucky, eh ?
Marl. (Aside.] I have just been mortified enough, v, all conscience, and here comes something to complet my embarrassment.
Hast. Well, but wasn't it the most fortunate thin: in the world :
Marl, Oh! yes. Very fortunate-a most joyful encounter. But
our dresses, George, you know, are in disorder. What if we should postpone the happiness till to-morrow? To-morrow, at her own house; it will be every
bit as convenient, and rather more respectful. To-morrow let it be.
[Offering to go. Miss Nev. By no means, sir. Your ceremony will displease her. The disorder of your dress will show! the ardour of your impatience; besides, she knows you are in the house, and will permit you to see her.