Imatges de pÓgina

Lost, for aught I know; but we must have patience,

sure you. wherever they are.

Miss Nev. I'll not believe it! this is but a shallow pretence to deny me. I know they are 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 misfortunes 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 mean time 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.


Miss Nev. I dislike them of all things. 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 catherine wheel.


Mrs. Hard. Confusion! thieves! robbers! we are cheated, plundered, broke open, undone.

Tony. What's the matter, what's the matter, mamma? ] hope nothing has happened to any of the good family?

Mrs. Hard. We are robbed. My bureau has been broken open, the jewels taken out, and I'm undone.

Tony. Oh! is that all? Ha! ha! ha! By the laws, I never saw it acted better in all 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 broken 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 are gone, and I'm to say so.

Mrs. Hard. My dearest Tony, but hear me. They're gone, I say.

Tony. "By the laws, mamma, you make me for to laugh, ha! 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; yon must be in a bitter passion, and then nobody will suspect either of us. 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.)


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.

Maid. But what is more, Madam, the young gentleman, as you passed by in your present dress, asked me if you were the bar-maid? He mistook you for the bar-maid, Madam.

Miss Hard. Did he? Then as I live I 'm resolv'd to keep up the delusion. Tell me, Pimple, how do you like my present dress? Don't you think I look something like Cherry in the Beaux Stratagem?

Maid. It's the dress, Madam, that every lady wears in the country, but when she visits or receives company.

Miss Hard. And are you sure he does not remember my face or person?

Maid. Certain of it.

Miss Hard. I vow I thought so; for though we spoke for some time together, yet his fears were such that he never once looked up during the interview. Indeed, if he had, my bonnet would have kept him from seeing me.

Maid. But what do you hope from keeping him in his mistake?

Miss Hard. In the first place, I shall be seen, and that is no small advantage to a girl who brings her face to market. Then I shall perhaps make an acquaintance, and that 's no small victory gained over one who never addresses any but the wildest of our But my chief aim is to take my gentleman off his guard, and, like an invisible champion of romance, examine the giant's force before I offer to combat.


Maid. But are you sure you can act your part, and disguise your voice so that he may mistake that, as he has already mistaken your person?


Miss Hard. Never fear me.

[blocks in formation]
[merged small][ocr errors]

and tobacco for the Angel. half hour.

The Lamb has been outrageous this

Maid. It will do, Madam. But he's here.


[Exit Maid.

Marl. What a bawling in every part of the house! I have scarce a moment's repose. If I go to the best room, there I find my host and his story: if I fly to the gallery, there we have my hostess with her curtsey down to the ground. I have at last got a moment to myself, and now for recollection. (Walks and muses.) Miss Hard. Did you call, Sir? Did your honour call?

Marl. (Musing.) As for Miss Hardcastle, she's too grave and sentimental for me.

Miss Hard. Did your honour call? (She still places herself before him, he turning away.)

Marl. No, child (musing). Besides, from the glimpse I had of her, I think she squints.

Miss Hard. I'm sure, Sir, I heard the bell ring.

Marl. No, no (musing). I have pleased my father, however, by coming down, and I'll to-morrow please myself by returning. (Taking out his tablets and perusing.)

Miss Hurd. Perhaps the other gentleman called, Sir?
Marl. I tell you, no.

Miss Hard. I should be glad to know, Sir. We have such

a parcel of servants!

Marl. No, no, I tell you (looks full in her face). child, I think I did call. I wanted — I wanted you are vastly handsome.


I vow, child,

Miss Hard. O la, Sir, you'll make one ashamed. Marl. Never saw a more sprightly, malicious eye. Yes, yes, my dear, I did call. Have you got any of your what d'ye call it in the house?

[ocr errors]

Miss Hard. No, Sir; we have been out of that these ten days. Marl. One may call in this house, I find, to very little purpose. Suppose I should call for a taste, just by way of trial, of the nectar of your lips; perhaps I might be disappointed in that 100,

Miss Hard. Nectar! nectar! That's a liquor there's no call for in these parts. French, I suppose. We keep no French wines here, Sir.

Marl. Of true English growth, I assure you.

Miss Hard. Then it's odd I should not know it. We brew all sorts of wines in this house, and I have lived here these eigh

teen years.

Marl. Eighteen years! Why, one would think, child, you kept the bar before you was born. How old are you?

Miss Hard. O! Sir, I must not tell my age. They say women and music should never be dated.

Marl. To guess at this distance, you can't be much above forty (approaching). Yet nearer I don't think so much (approaching). By coming close to some women, they look younger still; but when we come very close indeed — (attempting to kiss her.)

Miss Hard. Pray, Sir, keep your distance. One would think you wanted to know one's age as they do horses, by mark of mouth.

Marl. I protest, child, you use me extremely ill. If you keep me at this distance, how is it possible you and I can ever be acquainted?

Miss Hard. And who wants to be acquainted with you? I want no such acquaintance, not I. I'm sure you did not treat Miss Hardcastle, that was here awhile ago, in this obstropalous I'll warrant me, before her you looked dashed, and kept bowing to the ground, and talked, for all the world, as if you were before a justice of peace.


Marl. (Aside.) Egad, she has hit it, sure enough! (To her) In awe of her, child? Ha! ha! ha! A mere awkward squinting thing; no, no. I find you don't know me. laughed and rallied her a little; but I was unwilling to be too severe. No, I could not be too severe, curse me!

Miss Hard. O! then, Sir, you are a favourite, I find, among the ladies?

Marl. Yes, my dear, a great favourite. me, I don't see what they find in me to follow.

And yet, hang

At the ladies'

« AnteriorContinua »