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Rattle, child, is My name is Solo(Offering to
club in town I'm called their agreeable Rattle.
Miss Hard. Hold, Sir, you are introducing me to your club, not to yourself. And you 're so great a favourite there, you say? Marl. Yes, my dear. There's Mrs. Mantrap, Lady Betty Blackleg, the Countess of Sligo, Mrs. Langhorns, old Miss Biddy Buckskin, and your humble servant, keep up the spirit of the place.
Miss Hard. Then it is a very merry place, I suppose?
Marl. Yes, as merry as cards, supper, wine, and old women can make us.
Miss Hard. And their agreeable Rattle, ha! ha! ha!
Marl. (Aside.) Egad! I don't quite like this chit. She looks knowing, methinks. You laugh, child?
Miss Hard. I can't but laugh, to think what time they all have for minding their work or their family.
Marl. (Aside.) All's well; she don't laugh at me. (To her) Do you ever work, child?
Miss Hard. Ay, sure. There's not a screen or a quilt in the whole house but what can bear witness to that.
Marl. Odso! then you must show me your embroidery. I embroider and draw patterns myself a little. If you want a judge of your work, you must apply to me. (Seizing her hand.)
Miss Hard. Ay, but the colours do not look well by candlelight. You shall see all in the morning. (Struggling.)
yond the power of resistance.
Marl. And why not now, my angel? Such beauty fires bePshaw! the father here! My old luck: I never nicked seven that I did not throw ames ace three times following.
Enter HARDCASTLE, who stands in surprise. Hard.onSo, Madam. So I find this is your modest lover. This is your humble admirer, that kept his eyes fixed on the ground, and only adored at humble distance. Kate, Kate, art thou not ashamed to deceive your father so?
Miss Hard. Never trust me, dear papa, but he's still the modest man I first took him for; you'll be convinced of it as well as I.
Hard. By the hand of my body, I believe his impudence is infectious! Didn't I see him seize your hand? Didn't I see him haul you about like a milk-maid? And now you talk of his respect and his modesty, forsooth!
Miss Hard. But if I shortly convince you of his modesty, that he has only the faults that will pass off with time, and the virtues that will improve with age, I hope you'll forgive him.
Hard. The girl would actually make one run mad! I tell you I'll not be convinced. I am convinced. He has scarce been three hours in the house, and he has already encroached on all my prerogatives. You may like his impudence, and call it modesty; but my son-in-law, Madam, must have very different qualifications.
Miss Hard. Sir, I ask but this night to convince you.
Hard. You shall not have half the time, for I have thoughts of turning him out this very hour.
Miss Hard. Give me that hour then, and I hope to satisfy you. Hard. Well, an hour let it be then. But I'll have no trifling with your father. All fair and open, do you mind me.
Miss Hard. I hope, Sir, you have ever found that I considered your commands as my pride; for your kindness is such, that my duty as yet has been inclination. [Exeunt.
Enter HASTINGS and MISS NEVILLE.
Hast. You surprise me; Sir Charles Marlow expected here this night! Where have you had your information?
Miss Nev. You may depend upon it. I just saw his letter to Mr. Hardcastle, in which he tells him he intends setting out a few hours after his son.
Hast. Then, my Constance, all must be completed before he arrives. He knows me; and should he find me here, would dis
cover my name, and perhaps my designs, to the rest of the family.
Miss Nev. The jewels, I hope, are safe?
Hast. Yes, yes. I have sent them to Marlow, who keeps the keys of our baggage. In the mean time I'll go to prepare matters for our elopement. I have had the 'Squire's promise of a fresh pair of horses; and if I should not see him again, will write him farther directions.
Miss Nev. Well! success attend you. In the mean time I'll go amuse my aunt with the old pretence of a violent passion for my cousin. [Exit.
Enter MARLOW, followed by a Servant.
Marl. I wonder what Hastings could mean by sending me so valuable a thing as a casket to keep for him, wheu he knows the only place I have is the seat of a post-coach at an inn-door. Have you deposited the casket with the landlady, as I ordered you? Have you put it into her own hands?
Serv. Yes, your honour.
Marl. She said she 'd keep it safe, did she?
Yes, she said she'd keep it safe enough; she asked me how I came by it? and she said she had a great mind to make me give an account of myself. [Exit Servant. Marl. Ha! ha! ha! They're safe, however. What an unaccountable set of beings have we got amongst! This little barmaid though runs in my head most strangely, and drives out the absurdities of all the rest of the family. She's mine, she must be mine, or I'm greatly mistaken.
Hast. Bless me! I quite forgot to tell her that I intended to prepare at the bottom of the garden. Marlow here, and in spirits too! Marl. Give me joy, George! Crown me, shadow me with laurels! Well, George, after all, we modest fellows don't want for success among the women.
Hast. Some women, you mean. But what success has your honour's modesty been crowned with now, that it grows so insolent upon us?
Marl. Didn't you see the tempting, brisk, lovely little thing, that runs about the house with a bunch of keys to its girdle?
Hast. Well, and what then?
Marl. She's mine, you rogue you. Such fire, such motion, such eyes, such lips; but, egad! she would not let me kiss
Hast. But are you so sure, so very sure of her?
Marl. Why, man, she talked of showing me her work above stairs, and I am to approve the pattern.
Hust. But how can you, Charles, go about to rob a woman of her honour?
Marl. Pshaw pshaw! We all know the honour of the barmaid of an inn. I don't intend to rob her, take my word for it; there's nothing in this house I shan't honestly pay for.
Hast. I believe the girl has virtue.
Marl. And if she has, I should be the last man in the world that would attempt to corrupt it.
to lock up?
You have taken care, I hope, of the casket I sent you
Marl. Yes, yes. It's safe enough. I have taken care of it. But how could you think the seat of a post-coach at an inn-door a place of safety? Ah! numskull! I have taken better precautions for you than you did for yourself - I have —
Marl. I have sent it to the landlady to keep for you.
Marl. The landlady.
Hast. You did?
Marl. I did. She's to be answerable for its forthcoming, you know.
Hast. Yes, she 'll bring it forth with a witness.
Marl. Wasn't I right? I believe you 'll allow that I acted prudently upon this occasion.
Hast. (Aside.) He must not see my uneasiness.
You seem a little disconcerted though, methinks. Sure nothing has happened?
Hast. No, nothing. Never was in better spirits in all my Goldsmith.
life. And so you left it with the landlady, who, no doubt, very readily undertook the charge.
Marl. Rather too readily.
For she not only kept the casket, but, through her great precaution, was going to keep the messenger too. Ha! ha! ha!
Hast. He! he! he! They're safe, however.
Marl. As a guinea in a miser's purse.
Hast. (Aside.) So now all hopes of fortune are at an end, and we must set off without it. (To him) Well, Charles, I'll leave you to your meditations on the pretty bar-maid, and, be! he! he! may you be as successful for yourself, as you have been for me!
Marl. Thank ye, George: I ask no more. Ha! ha! ha!
Enter HARD CASTLE.
Hard. I no longer know my own house. It 's turned all topsy-turvy. His servants have got drunk already. I'll bear it no longer; and yet, from my respect for his father, I'll be calm. (To him) Mr. Marlow, your servant. I'm your very humble servant. (Bowing low.)
Marl. Sir, your humble servant. (Aside.) What's to be the wonder now?
Hard. I believe, Sir, you must be sensible, Sir, that no man alive ought to be more welcome than your father's son, Sir. I hope you think so?
Marl. I do from my soul, Sir. I don't want much entreaty. I generally make my father's son welcome wherever he goes.
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 is 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 sidescene) 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 for my deficiencies below.