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Tony. Stout horses and willing minds make short journeys, as they say. Hem.
Mrs. H. (From behind.) Sure he'll do the dear boy no harm!
Hard. But I heard a voice here; I should be glad to know from whence it came.
Tony. It was I, sir, talking to myself, sir. I was saying that forty miles in three hours was very good going: Hem. As to be sure it was. Hem. I have got a sort of cold by being out in the air. We'll go in if you please. Hem. Hard. But if
did not answer yourself. I am certain I heard two voices, and am resolved-Raising his voice.]-to find the other out.
Mrs. H. (Running forward from behind. Oh, lud, he'll murder my poor boy, my darling. Here, good gentleman, whet your rage upon me.
Take my money, my life, but spare that young gentleman, spare my child, if you have any mercy ?
Hard. My wife, as I'm a Christian! From whence can she come, or what does she mean?
Mrs. H. [Kneeling.] Take compassion on us, good Mr. Highwayman ! Take our money, our watches, all we have, but spare our lives. We will never bring you to justice, indeed we won't, good Mr. Highwayman.
Hard. I believe the woman's out of her senses. What, Dorothy, don't you know me?
Mrs. H. Mr. Hardcastle, as I'm alive! My fears blinded me. But who, my dear, could have expected to meet you here, in this frightful place, so far from home ? What has brought you to follow us ?
Hard. Sure, Dorothy, you have not lost your wits ? So far from home, when you are within forty yards of your own door? [To Tony.) This is one of your old tricks, you graceless rogue, you. [To Mrs. Hardcastle.] Don't you know the gate and the mulberry tree-and don't you remember the horsepond, my dear?
Mrs. H. Yes, I shall remember the horsepond as long as I live; I have caught my death in it. [To Tony.] And is it to you, you graceless varlet, I owe all this? I'll teach you
to abuse your mother, I will.
Tony. Ecod, mother, all the parish says you have spoiled me, and so vou may take the fruits on't.
Mrs. H. I'll spoil you, I will.
Follows him of the Stage.-Exeunt, L.
Scene III.-A Room in Hardcastle's House.
If what he says
Enter Sır CHARLES MARLow and Miss HARDCASTLE, L.
Sir C. What a situation am I in! If what you say appears, I shall then find a guilty son. be true, I shall then lose one that, of all others, I most wished for a daughter.
Miss H. I am proud of your approbation, and to show I merit it, if you will conceal yourselves behind that screen, you shall hear his explicit declaration. But he
Sir C. I'll to your father, and keep him to the appointment.
[Exit, R. Enter MARLOW, L. Mar. Though prepared for setting out, I come once more to take leave ; nor did I, till this moment, know the pain I feel in the separation.
Miss H. (In her own natural manner.] I believe these sufferings cannot be very great, sir, which you can so easily remove. A day or two longer, perhaps, might lessen your uneasiness, by showing the little value of what you now think proper to regret.
Mar. (Aside.] This girl every moment improves upon me.-It must not be, madam. I have already trifled too long with my heart. My very pride begins to submit to my passion; and nothing can restore me to myself, but this painful effort of resolution.
Miss H. Then go, sir. I'll urge nothing more to detain you. Though my family be as good as hers you came down to visit, and my education, I hope, not inferior, what are these advantages without equal affluence? I must remain contented with the slight approbation of imputed merit; I must have only the mockery of your addresses, while all your serious aims are fixed on fortune. Enter HARDCASTLE and Sir CHARLES MARLOW, behind, R. Mar. By Heavens, madam, fortune was ever my
smallest consideration. Your beauty at first caught my eye; for
who could see that without emotion? But every moment that I converse with you, steals in some new grace, heightens the picture, and gives it stronger expression. What at first seemed rustic plainness, now appears refined simplicity. What seemed forward assurance, now strikes me as the result of courageous innocence and conscious virtue. I am now determined to stay, madam, and I have too good an opinion of my father's discernment, when he sees you, to doubt his approbation.
Miss H. No, Mr. Marlow; I will not, cannot detain you.
think I could suffer a connection, in which there is the smallest room for repentance? Do you think I would take the mean advantage of a transient passion, to load you with confusion ? Do you think I could ever relish that happiness which was acquired by lessening yours ? Do you think I could ever catch at the confident addresses of a secure admirer ?
Mar. [Kneeling.) Does this look like security ?-Does this look like confidence ? No, madam, every moment that shows me your merit, only serves to increase my diffidence and confusion. Here let me continue
Sir C. I can hold it no longer. Charles, Charles, how hast thou deceived me! Is this your indifference, your uninteresting conversation ?
Hard. Your cold contempt; your formal interview ?. What have you to say now?
Mar. That I'm all amazement! what can it mean?
Hard. It means that you can say and unsay things at pleasure ; that you can address a lady in private, and deny it in public: that you have one story for us, and another for my daughter.
Mar. Daughter !-this lady your daughter!
Hard. Yes, sir, my only daughter. My Kate; whose else could she be?
Mar. Oh, the devil !
Miss H. Yes, sir, that very identical tall squinting lady you were pleased to take me for. (Courtesying.) She that you
addressed as the mild, modest, sentimental man of gravity, and the bold, forward, agreeable Rattle of the ladies' club; ha! ha! ha!
Mar. Zounds! there's no bearing this; it's worse than death.
Miss H. In which of your characters, sir, will you give us leave to address you ? As the faltering gentleman with looks on the ground, that speaks just to be heard, and hates hypocrisy; or the loud, confident creature that keeps it up with Mrs. Mantrap and old Mrs. Biddy Buckskin till three in the morning; ha! ha! ha!
Mar. Oh, curse on my noisy head! I never attempted to be impudent yet that I was not taken down. I must begone.
Hard. By the hand of my body, but you shall not. I see it was all a mistake, and I rejoiced to find it. You shall not, sir, I tell you. I know she'll forgive you.Won't you forgive him, Kate ? We'll all forgive him. Take courage, man.
[They retire, she tormenting him, to the back scene.
Enter Mrs. HARDCASTLE and Tony. Mrs. H. So, so, they're gone off. Let them go,
Hard. Who gone ?
Mrs. H. My dutiful niece and her gentleman, Mr. Hastings, from town. He who came down with our modest visitor here.
Sir C. Who, my honest George Hastings ? As worthy a fellow as lives, and the girl could not have made a more prudent choice.
Enter HASTINGS and Miss NEVILLE, L. Mrs. H. [Aside.] What, returned so soon ? I begin not to like it.
Hast. [To Hardcastle.] For my late attempt to fly off with your niece, let my present confusion be my punishment. We are now come back to appeal from your justice to your humanity. By her father's consent, I first paid her my addresses, and our passions were first founded on duty.
Hard. I'm glad they are come back to reclaim their duo. Come hither, Tony, boy. Do you refuse this lady's hand whom I now offer you?
Tony. What signifies my refusing? You know I can't refuse her till I'm of age, father.
Hard. While I thought concealing your age, boy, was
likely to conduce to your improvement, I concurred with your mother's desire to keep it secret; but since I find she turns it to a wrong use, I must now declare, you have been of age these three months.
Tony. Of age! Am I of age, father ?
Tony. Then you'll see the first use I'll make of my liberty. [Taking Miss Neville's hand. Witness all men by these presents, that I, Anthony Lumpkin, Esquire, of Blank-place, refuse you, Constantia Neville, spinster, of no place at all, for my true and lawful wife. So Constantia Neville may marry whom she pleases, and Tony Lumpkin is his own man again.
Sir C. Oh, brave Squire !
Mar. Joy, my dear George, I give you joy sincerely. And could I prevail upon my little tyrant here to be less arbitrary I should be the happiest man alive, if you would return me the favor.
Hast. (To Miss Hardcastle.] Come, madam, you are now driven to the very last scene of all your contrivances. I know you like him, I'm sure he loves you, and you must and shall have him.
Hard. [Joining their hands.) And I say so too. Ana, Mr. Marlow, if she makes as good a wife as she has a daughter, I don't believe you'll ever repent your bargain, So, boy, take her; and as you have been mistaken in the mistress, my wish is, that you may never be mistaken in the wife.