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I procured them by the rule of thumb. If I had not a key to every drawer in my mother's bureau, how could I go to the alehouse so often as I do? An honest man may rob himself of his own at any time.
Hast. Thousands do it every day. But to be plain with you, Miss Neville is endeavouring to procure them from her aunt this very instant. If she succeeds, it will be the most delicate way at least of obtaining them.
Tony. Well, keep them, till you know how it will be. I know how it will be, well enough; she'd as soon part with the only sound tooth in her head.
Hast. But I dread the effects of her resentment, when she finds she has lost them.
Tony. Never you mind her resentment, leave me to manage that. I don't value her resentment the bounce of a cracker. Zounds! here they are. Morrice! Prance !
TONY, MRS. HARDCASTLE, Miss NEVILLE. Mrs. Hard. Indeed, Constance, you amaze me. Such a girl as you want jewels! It will be time enough for jewels, my dear, twenty years hence; when your beauty begins to want repairs.
Miss Nev. But what will repair beauty at forty, will certainly improve it at twenty, madam.
Mrs. Hard. Yours, my dear, can admit of none. That natural blush is beyond a thousand ornaments. Besides, child, jewels are quite out at present. Don't you see half the ladies of our acquaintance, my Lady Kill-Daylight, and Mrs. Crump, and the rest of them,
carry their jewels to town, and bring nothing but
Miss Nev. But who knows, madam, but somebody
Mrs. Hard. Consult your glass, my dear, and then see if, with such a pair of eyes, you want any better sparklers. What do you think, Tony, my dear? Does your cousin Con want any jewels, in your eyes, to set off her beauty ? Tony. That's as thereafter
be. Miss Nev. My dear aunt, if you knew how it would oblige me.
Mrs. Hard. A parcel of old-fashioned rose and tablecut things. They would make you look like the court of King Solomon at a puppet-show. Besides, I believe I can't readily come at them. They may be missing, for aught I know to the contrary.
Tony. [Apart to Mrs. HARDCASTLE.] Then why don't
you tell her so at once, as she's so longing for them ? Tell her they're lost. It's the only way to quiet her.
Say they're lost, and call me to bear witness.
Mrs. Hard. [Apart to Tony.] You know, my dear, I'm only keeping them for you. So, if I say they're gone, you'll bear me witness, will you ? He! he! he!
Tony. Never fear me. Ecod, I'll say I saw them taken out with my own eyes.
Miss Nev. I desire them but for a day, madam. Just to be permitted to show them as relics, and then they may be locked up again.
Mrs. Hard. To be plain with you, my dear Constauce, if I could find them, you should have them. They're missing, I assure you. Lost, for anght I know; but we must have patience, wherever they
Miss Nev. I'll not believe it; this is but a shallow pretence to deny me. I know they're too valuable to be so slightly kept, and as you are to answer for the loss
Mrs. Hard. Don't be alarmed, Constance; if they be lost, I must restore an equivalent. But my son knows they are missing, and not to be found.
Tony. That I can bear witness to. They are missing, and not to be found, I'll take my oath on't.
Mrs. Hard. You must learn resignation, my dear ; for though we lose our fortune, yet we should not lose our patience. See me, how calm I am.
Miss Nev. Ay, people are generally calm at the mis. fortunes of others.
Mrs. Hard. Now, I wonder a girl of your good sense should waste a thought upon such trumpery. We shall soon find them ; and, in the meantime, you shall make use of my garnets, till your jewels be found.
Miss Nev. I detest garnets !
Mrs. Hard. The most becoming things in the world, to set off a clear complexion. You have often seen how well they look upon me. You shall have them.
[Exit. Miss Nev. I dislike them of all things. [To Tony.] You shan't stir. Was ever anything so provoking ?
to mislay my own jewels, and force me to wear her trumpery!
Tony. Don't be a fool! If she gives you the garnets, take what you can get. The jewels are your own already. I have stolen them out of her bureau, and she does not know it. Fly to your spark, he'll tell you more of the matter. Leave me to manage her.
Miss Nev. My dear cousin !
Tony. Vanish! She's here, and has missed them already. [Exit Miss NEVILLE.] Zounds ! how she fidgets, and spits about like a Catharine-wheel !
Enter MRS. HARDCASTLE. Mrs. Hard. Confusion! thieves ! robbers! We are cheated, plundered, broken open, undone !
Tony. What's the matter? what's the matter, mamma? I hope nothing has happened to any of the good family!
Mrs. Hard. We are robbed! My bureau has, been broke
open, the jewels taken out, and I'm undone ! Tony. Oh! is that all? Ha! ha! ha! By the laws, I never saw it better acted in my life. Ecod, I thought you was ruined in earnest. Ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. Hard. Why, boy, I am ruined in earnest. My bureau has been broke open, and all taken away.
Tony. Stick to that; ha! ha! ha! stick to that; I'll bear witness, you know; call me to bear witness.
Mrs. Hard. I tell you, Tony, by all that's precious, the jewels are gone, and I shall be ruined for ever.
Tony. Sure, I know they're gone, and I am to say
Mrs. Hard. My dearest Tony, but hear me. They're gone,
say. Tony. By the laws, mamma, you make me for to laugh; na ! ha! I know who took them well enough; ha! ha! ha!
Mrs. Hard. Was there ever such a blockhead, that can't tell the difference between jest and earnest ? I tell you
I'm not in jest, booby! Tony. That's right, that's right. You must be in a bitter passion, and then nobody will suspect either of
I'll bear witness that they are gone. Mrs. Hard. Was there ever such a cross-grained brute, that won't hear me! Can you bear witness that you're no better than a fool? Was ever poor woman so beset with fools on one hand, and thieves on the other?
Tony. I can bear witness to that.
Mrs. Hard. Bear witness again, you blockhead, you ; and I'll turn you out of the room directly. My poor niece! what will become of her ? Do you laugh, you unfeeling brute, as if you enjoyed my distress ?
Tony. I can bear witness to that.
Mrs. Hard. Do you insult me, monster? I'll teach you to vex your mother, I will. Tony. I can bear witness to that.
[He runs off, she follows him,
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE and MAID. Miss Hard. What an unaccountable creature is that brother of mine, to send them to the house as an inn; ha! ha! I don't wonder at his impudence.