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Hard. I believe you do, from my soul, sir. But though I say nothing to your own conduct, that of your servants is insufferable. Their manner of drinking is setting a very bad example in this house, I assure you.
Marl. I protest, my very good sir, that's no fault of mine. If they don't drink as they ought, they are to blame. I ordered them not to spare the cellar: I did, I assure you. [To the side scene.] Here, let one of my servants come up. [To him.] My positive directions were, that as I did not drink myself, they should make up
my deficiencies below. Hard. Then, they had your orders for what they do! I'm satisfied.
Marl. They had, I assure you. You shall hear from one of themselves.
Enter SERVANT, drunk. Marl. You, Jeremy! Come forward, sirrah! What were my orders ? Were you not told to drink freely, and call for what you thought fit, for the good of the house?
Hard. [Aside.] I begin to lose my patience.
Jeremy. Please your honour, liberty and Fleet Street for ever! Though I'm but a servant, I'm as good as another man.
I'll drink for no man before supper, sir! Good liquor will sit upon a good supper; but a good supper will not sit upon--[hiccup]--upon my conscience, sir.
Marl. You see, my old friend, the fellow is as drunk as he can possibly be. I don't know what you'd have more, unless you'd have the poor fellow soused in a beer-barrel.
Hard. Zounds! He'll drive me distracted if I contain myself any longer. [Aside.] Mr. Marlow, sir; I have submitted to your insolence for more than four hours, and I see no likelihood of its coming to an end. I'm now resolved to be master here, sir; and I desire that
drunken pack may leave my house directly. Marl. Leave
your house? Sure you jest, my good friend! What! when I'm doing what I can to please you?
Hard. I tell you, sir, you don't please me; desire you'll leave my house.
Marl. Sure you cannot be serious! At this time o' night, and such a night! You only mean to banter
Hard. I tell you, sir, I'm serious; and, now that my passions are roused, I say this house is mine, sir; this house is mine, and I command you to leave it directly!
Marl. Ha! ha! ha! A puddle in a storm. I shan't stir a step, I assure you. [In a serious tone.] This your house, fellow! It's my house. This is
house. Mine, while I choose to stay. What right have you to bid me leave this house, sir? I never met with such impudence, never in my whole life before.
Hard. Nor I, confound me if ever I did. To come to my house, to call for what he likes, to turn me out of my own chair, to insult the family, to order his servants to get drunk, and then to tell me, This house
is mine, sir. By all that's impudent, it makes me laugh. Ha! ha! Pray, sir [bantering), as you take the house, what think you of taking the rest of the furniture? There's a pair of silver candlesticks, and there's a fire-screen, and here's a pair of brazen-nosed bellows-perhaps you may take a fancy to them.
Marl. Bring me your bill, sir; bring me your bill, and let's make no more words about it.
Hard. There are a set of prints, too. What think you of the “Rake's Progress” for your own apartment?
Marl. Bring me your bill, I say; and I'll leave you and your house directly.
Hard. Then there's a mahogany table, that you may see your own face in.
Marl. My bill, I say.
Hard. I had forgot the great chair, for your own particular slumbers, after a hearty meal.
Marl. Zounds ! bring me my bill, I say; and let's hear no more on't. Hard. Young man, young man, from your
father's letter to me, I was taught to expect a well-bred, modest man as a visitor here; but now I find him no better than a coxcomb, and a bully. But he will be down here presently, and shall hear more of it. [Exit.
Marl. How's this? Sure I have not mistaken the house! Everything looks like an inn. The servants cry, Coming. The attendance is awkward; the barmaid, too, to attend us. But she's here, and will further inform me. Whither so fast, child? A word
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE. Miss Hard. Let it be short, then. I'm in a hurry. [ Aside.] I believe he begins to find out his mistake; but it's too soon quite to undeceive him.
Marl. Pray, child, answer me one question. What are you, and what may your business in this house be ?
Miss Hard. A relation of the family, sir.
Miss Hard. Yes, sir; a poor relation, appointed to keep the keys, and to see that the guests want nothing in my power to give tbem.
Marl. That is, you act as the barmaid of this inn.
Miss Hard. Inn! Oh, la! What brought that in your
head? One of the best families in the country keep an inn! Ha! ha! ha! old Mr. Hardcastle's house an inn!
Marl. Mr. Hardcastle's house! Is this house Mr. Hardcastle's house, childi
Miss Hard. Ay, sure. Whose else should it be?
Marl. So then all's out, and I have been imposed on. Oh, confound my stupid head! I shall be laughed at over the whole town. I shall be stuck up in caricatura in all the print shops; the Dullissimo Maccaroni. To inistake this house, of all others, for an inn; and my father's old friend for an innkeeper! What a swaggering puppy must he take me for! What a silly puppy do I find myself! There again, may I be hanged, my dear, but I mistook you for the barmaid.
Miss Hard. Dear me ! dear me! I'm sure there's nothing in my behaviour to put me upon a level with one of that stamp.
Marl. Nothing, my dear, nothing. But I was in for
list of blunders, and could not help making you a ubscriber. My stupidity saw everything the wrong ray. I mistook your assiduity for assurance, and
your implicity for allurement. But it's over. This house no more show my face in.
Miss Hard. I hope, sir, I have done nothing to lisoblige you. I'm sure I should be sorry to affront ny gentleman who has been so polite, and said so nany civil things to me. I'm sure I should be sorry pretending to cry] if he left the family upon my uccount. I'm sure I should be sorry, people said inything amiss, since I have no fortune but my haracter.
Marl. [Aside.] By Heaven, she weeps. This is the irst mark of tenderness I ever had from a modest woman, and it touches me. [To her.] Excuse me, ny lovely girl, you are the only part of the family I eave with reluctance. But to be plain with you, the lifference of our birth, fortune, and education, make in honourable connection impossible; and I can never harbour a thought of bringing ruin upon one whose only fault was being too lovely.
Miss Hard. [Aside.] Generous man! I now begin to admire him. [To him.] But I'm sure my family is as good as Mr. Hardcastle's; and though I'm poor, that's no great misfortune to a contented mind; and until this moment, I never thought that it was bad to want fortune.
Marl. And why now, my pretty simplicity ?