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Marl. Oh ! how shall I support it? Hem! hem ! Hastings, you must not go. You are to assist me, you know. I shall be confoundedly ridieulous. Yet hang it! I'll take courage. Hem! Hast. Pshaw, man! it's but the first plunge, and all's
She's but a woman, you know, Marl. And of all women, she that I dread most to encounter.
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE, as returning from
walking, in a bonnet, &c. é Hast. [Introducing him.] Miss Hardcastle-Mr. Marlow. I'm proud of bringing two persons of such merit together, that only want to know, to esteem each other. murieron
Miss Hard. [Aside.] Now, for 'meeting my modest gentleman with a demure face, and quite in his own manner. [After a pause, in which he appears very uneasy and disconcerted.] I'm glad of your safe arrival, sir. I'm told you had some accidents by the way.
Marl. Only a few, madam. Yes, we had some., Yes, madam, a good many accidents; but should be sorry-madam-or rather glad of any accidents—that are so agreeably concluded. Hem !
Hast. [To him.] You never spoke better in your whole life. Keep it up, and I'll ensure you the victory.
Miss Hard. I'm afraid you flatter, sir. You, that have seen so much of the finest company, can find little entertainment in an obscure corner of the country.
Marl. [Gathering courage.] I have lived, indeed, in the world, madam ; but I have kept very little company. I have been but an observer upon life, madam, while others were enjoying it. 3. Carna!
Miss Nev. But that, I am told, is the way to enjoy it at last.
Hast. [To him.]Cicero never spoke better. Once more, and you are confirmed in assurance for ever.
Marl. ( To him.] Hem! Stand by me, then and when I'm down, throw in a word or two, to set me up again.
Miss Hard. An observer, like you, upon life, were, I fear, disagreeably employed, since you must have had much more to censure than to approve.
Marl. Pardon me, madam. I was always willing to be amused. The folly of most people is rather an object of mirth than uneasiness. < x
Hast. [To him.] Bravo, bravo! Never spoke so well in your whole life. Well! [To Miss HARD.] Miss Hardcastle, I see that you and Mr. Marlow are going to be very good company. I believe our being here will but embarrass the interview.
Marl. Not in the least, Mr. Hastings. We like your company of all things. [To him.] Zounds! George, sure you won't go-how can you leave us?
Hast. Our presence will but spoil conversation, so we'll retire to the next room. [To him.] You don't consider, man, that we are to manage a little tête-à-tête of our own.
[Exeunt. Miss Hard. [After a pause.] But you have not been wholly an observer, I presumo, sir: the ladies, I
p. should hope, have employed some part of your addresses.
Marl. (Relapsing into timidity: Pardon me, , madam, I–I-I as yet have studied-only--to-dei serve them. amówiter leemos
Miss Hard. And that, some say, is the very worst 2. way to obtain them.
Marl. Perhaps so, madam. But I love to converse only with the more grave and
part of the sex. I But I'm afraid I
grow tiresome. Miss Hard. Not at all, sir; there is nothing I like iso much as grave conversation myself, I could hear it for ever. Indeed, I have often been surprised
man of sentiment could ever admire those light, airy li pleasures, where nothing reaches the heart. 2.pl
Marl. It's—a disease-of the mind, madam. In the variety of tastes there must be some, 'who, wanting a of relish-for-uni-a-um.
Miss Hard. I understand you, sir. There must be #: some, who, wanting a relish for "refined pleasures, prelè tend to despise what they are incapable of tasting..
Marl. My meaning, madam, but infinitely better
Miss Hard. [Aside.] Who could ever suppose this fellow impudent upon some occasions ? [To him.] You . were going to observe, sir
Marl. I was observing, madam-I protest, madam, ter I forget what I was going to observe.
Miss Hard. [Aside.] I vow, and so do I. (To him.] You were observing, sir, that in this age of hypocrisysomething about hypocrisy, sir.
-95 hej! Marl. Yes, madam; in this age of hypocrisy there are few who, upon strict inquiry, do not
Miss Hard. I understand you perfectly, sir.
Marl. [Aside.] Indeed ! and that's more than I do myself.
Miss Hard. You mean that, in this hypocritical age, there are few that do not condemn in public what they practise in private, and think they pay every debt to
virtue when they praise it. tie Marl. True, madam; those who have most virtue in
their mouths have least of it in their bosoms. But I'm sure I tire you, madam.
Miss Hard. Not in the least, sir; there's something so agreeable, and spirited, in your manner; such life and force-pray, sir, go on.
Marl. Yes, madam; I was saying—that there are some occasions—when a total, want of courage, madam, destroys all the--and puts us—-upon a—a—a—
Miss Hard. I agree with you entirely; a want of courage upon some occasions, assumes the appearance of ignorance, and betrays us when we most want to excel. I beg you'll proceed.
Marl. Yes, madam; morally speaking, madam-But I see Miss. Neville expecting us in the next room. I would not intrude for the world.
Miss Hard. I protest, sir, I never was more agreeably entertained in all my life. Pray go on.,"
Marl. Yes, madam ; I was- -But she beckons us to join Madam, shall I do myself the honour to attend you ?
Miss Hard. Well then, I'll follow.
Erstelbuiteleron dictuénients Marl. (Aside.] This pretty smooth dialogue has lone for me.
[Exit. Miss HARDCASTLE, sola. Miss Hard. Ha! ha! ha! Was there ever such a Cerucut sober, sentimental interview? I'm certain he scarce
ooked in my face the whole time. Yet the fellow, but wimbie or his unaccountable bashfulness, is pretty well too. He has good sense; but then, so buried in his fears, and what it fatigues one more than ignorance. If I could teach him a little confidence, it would be doing somebody, that I know of, a piece of service. But who is that somebody P--that is a question I can scarce
Enter Tony and Miss NEVILLE, followed by
MRS. HARDCASTLE and HASTINGS..
follow me for, Cousin Con? I wonder you're not ashamed to be so very engaging.
Miss Nev. I hope, cousin, one may speak to one's own relations, and not be to blame ?
Tony. Ay, but I know what sort of a relation you want to make me, though; but it won't do. I tell you, Cousin Con, it won't do, so I beg you'll keep your distance; I want no nearer relationship.
[She follows, coquetting him to the back-scene. Mrs. Hard. Well ! I vow, Mr. Hastings, you are very entertaining. There's nothing in the world I love to talk of so much as London, and the fashions, though I was never there myself.
Hast. Never there! You amaze me!