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air and manner, I concluded you had been bred all your life either at Ranelagh, St. James's, or Tower Wharf.

Mrs. Hard. Oh! sir, you're only pleased to say so. We country persons can have no manner at all. I'm in love with the town, and that serves to raise me above some of our neighbouring rustics ; but who can have a manner, that has never seen the Pantheon, the Grotto Gardens, the Borough, and such places where the nobility chiefly resort ? All I can do is to enjoy London at second-hand. I take care to know every tête-à-tête from the Scandalous Magazine, and have all the fashions, as they come ont, in a letter from the two Miss Rickets of Crooked Lane. Pray, how do you like this head, Mr. Hastings?

Hast. Extremely elegant and dégagée, upon my word, madam. Your friseur is a Frenchman, I suppose ?

Mrs. Hard. I protest I dressed it myself from a print in the Ladies' Memorandum Book for the last year.

Hast. Indeed ! such a head in a side-box, at the play-house, would draw as many gazers as my Lady Mayoress at a city ball.

Mrs. Fard. since inoculation began there is no such thing to be seen as a plain woman; so one must dress a little particular, or one may escape in the crowd.

Hast. But that can never be your case, madam, in any dress. [Bowing.]

Mrs. Hard. Yet what signifies my dressing when I have such a piece of antiquity by my side as Mr.


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45 Hardcastle All I can say will not argue down a single button from his clothes. I have often wanted him to throw off his great flaxen wig, and where he was bald to plaster it over, like my Lord Pately, with powder.

Hast. You are right, madam; for as among the ladies there are none ugly, so among the men there are none old.

Mrs. Hard. But what do you think his answer Was ? Why, with his usual Gothic vivacity, he said, I only wanted him to throw off his wig, to convert it into a tête for my own wearing.

Hast. Intolerable! At your age you may wear what you please, and it must become you.

Mrs. Hard. Pray, Mr. Hastings, what do you take to be the most fashionable age about town?

Hast. Some time ago, forty was all the mode; but I'm told the ladies intend to bring up fifty for the ensuing winter.

Mrs. Hard. Seriously! then I shall be too young for the fashion.

Hast. No lady begins now to put on jewels till she's past forty. For instance, Miss there, in a polite circle, would be considered as a child, as a mere maker of samplers.

Mrs. Hard. And yet Mrs. Niece thinks herself as much a woman, and is as fond of jewels, as the oldest of us all.

Hast. Your niece, is she? and that young gentle. man a brother of yours, I should presume ?

Mrs. Hard. My son, sir. They are contracted to

7.7.18? Nini

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each other. Observe their little sports. They fall in and out ten times a day, as if they were man and wife already. [To them.]—Well, Tony, child, what soft things are you saying to your cousin Constance this evening?

Tony. I have been saying no soft things ; but that it's very hard to be followed about so. Ecod, I've not a place in the house now that's left to myself, but the stable.

Mrs. Hard. Never mind him, Con, my dear. He's in another story behind your

Miss Nev. There's something generous in


cousin's He falls out before faces to be forgiven in private.

Tony. That's a confounded--crack.

Mrs. Hard. Ah! he's a sly one. Don't you think they're like each other about the mouth, Mr. Hastings ? The Blenkinsop mouth to a T. They're of a size, too. Back to back, my pretties, that Mr. Hastings may see you. Come, Tony.

Tony. You had as good not make me, I tell you. [Measuring.] Miss. Nev. Oh! he has almost cracked


head. Mrs. Hard. Oh, the monster! For shame, Tony. You a man, and behave so !

Tony. If I'm a man, let me have my fortin. Ecod, I'll not be made a fool of no longer.

Mrs. Hard. Is this, ungrateful boy, all that I'm to get for the pains I have taken in your education ? I that have rocked you in your cradle, and fed that pretty mouth with a spoon ? Did not I work that


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47) 18 air waistcoat to make you genteel? Did not I prescribe for you every day, and weep while the receipt was operating ? Tony. Ecod, you had reason to weep,


have been dosing me ever since I was born. I have gone through every receipt in the Complete Huswife ten times over; and you have thoughts of coursing me through Quincy next spring. Brit, ecod, I tell you, I'll not be made a fool of no longer.

Mrs. Hard. Wasn't it all for your good, viper ? Wasn't it all for your good ?

Tony. I wish you'd let me and my good alone, then. Snubbing this way, when I'm in spirits. If I'm to have any good, let it come of itself; not to keep dinging it, dinging it into one so.

Mrs. Hard. That's false ; I never see you when you are in spirits. No, Tony, you then go to the alehouse, or kennel. I'm never to be delighted with your agreeable wild notes, unfeeling monster!

Tony. Ecod, mamma, your own notes are the wildest of the two.

-Mrs. Hard. Was ever the like! But I see he wants to break my heart, I see he does.

Hast. Dear madam, permit me to lecture the young gentleman a little. I'm certain I can persuade him to his duty.

Mrs. Hard. Well! I must retire. Come, Constance, my love. You see, Mr. Hastings, the wretchedness of my

situation. Was ever poor woman so plagued with a dear, sweet, pretty, provoking, undutiful boy ?

[Exeunt Mrs. HARD. and Miss NEVILLE.

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Tony. [Singing.]

There was a young man riding by,
And fain would have his will.

Rang do didlo dee.

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Don't mind her. Let her cry. It's the comfort of her heart. I have seen her and sister cry over a book for an hour together; and they said they liked the book the better the more it made them cry.

Hast. Then you're no friend to the ladies, I find, my pretty young gentleman.

Tony. That's as I find ’um.

Hast. Not to her of your mother's choosing, I dare answer : and yet she appears to me a pretty, well-tempered girl.

Tony. That's because you don't know her as well as I. Ecod, I know every inch about her, and there's not a more bitter, cantankerous toad in all Christendom.

Hast. [Aside.] Pretty encouragement this for a lover!"

Tony. I have seen her since the height of that. She has as many tricks as a hare in a thicket, or a colt the first day's breaking.

Hast. To me she appears sensible and silent.

Tony. Ay, before company. But when she's with her playmates, she's as loud as a hog in a gate.

Hast. But there is a meek modesty about her that charms me.

Tony. Yes; but curb her never so little, she kicks up, and you're flung in a ditch.

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