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are ruined for ever. I'll keep her employed a little if I can. (To Mrs. Hardcastle) But I have not told you, madam, of my cousin's smart answer just now to Mr. Marlow. We so laugh’d-You must know, madam.—This way a little, for he must not hear us.
Tony. ( Still gazing.) A damn'd cramp piece of penmanship, as ever I saw in my life. I can read your print hand very well. But here there are such handles, and shanks, and dashes, that one can scarce tell the head from the tail. « To Anthony Lumpkin, esquire." It's very odd I can read the outside of my letters, where my own name is, well enough. But when I come to open it, it's all- buz. That's hard, very hard; for the inside of the letter is always the cream of the correspondence.
Mrs. Hardcastle. Ha! ha! ha! Very well, very well. And so my son was too hard for the philosopher ?
Miss Neville. Yes, madam ; but you must hear the rest, madam. A little more this way, or he may hear us. You'll hear how he puzzled him again.
Mrs. Hardcastle. He seems strangely puzzled now himself, methinks.
Tony. (Still gazing) A damn'd up and down hand, as if it was disguised in liquor. (Reading) - Dear Sir,”
Aye, that's that. Then there's an M, and a T, and an ·S, but whether the next be an izzard, or an R, confound me, I cannot tell.
Mrs. Hardcastle. What's that, my dear? Can I give you any assistance ?
Miss Neville: Pray, aunt, let me read it. Nobody reads a cramp hand better than I. (Twitching the letter from him) Do you know who it is from?
Miss Neville. Aye, so it is. (pretending to read) Dear 'squire, hoping that you are in health, as I am at this present. The gentlemen of the Shake-bag club has cut the gentlemen of the Goose-green quite out of feather. The odds u m-odd battle- um-long fighting- um-here, here, it's all about cocks and fighting; it's of no consequence; here, put it up, put it р.
[Thrusting the crumpled letter upon him.
Tony. But I tell you, miss, it's of all the consequence in the world. I would not lose the rest of it for a guinea. Here, mother, do you make it out. Of no consequence! . [Giving Mrs. Hardcastle the letter.
Mrs. Hardcastle. How's this! (reads) “ Dear 'squire, I'm now “ waiting for Miss Neville, with a post-chaise and “ pair, at the bottom of the garden, but I find my « horses yet unable to perform the journey. I ex“ pect you'll assist us with a pair of fresh horses, as “ you promised. Dispatch is necessary, as the hag “ (aye the hag) your mother, will otherwise suspect 6 us. Yours, Hastings." Grant me patience. I shall run distracted. My rage choaks me.
Miss Neville. I hope, madam, you'll suspend your resentment for a few moments, and not impute to me any imperti. nence, or sinister design, that belongs to another.
Mrs. Hardcastle. Courtseying very low). Fine spoken, madam ; you are most miraculously polite and engaging, and quite the very pink of courtesy and circumspection, madam. ( Changing her tone.) And you, you great ill-fashioned oaf, with scarce sense enough to keep your mouth shut. Were you too joined against me? But I'll defeat all your plots in a moment. As for you, madam, since you have got a pair of fresh horses ready, it would be cruel to disappoint them. So, if you please, instead of running away with your spark, prepare, this very moment, to run off with me. Your old. aunt Pedigree will keep you secure, I'll warrant me.. You too, Sir, may mount your horse, and guard us upon the way. Here, Thomas, Roger, Diggory, I'll shew you, that I wish you better than you do yourselves.
[Exit. Miss Neville. So now I'm completely ruined.
Miss Neville. What better could be expected from being connected with such a stupid fool, and after all the nods and signs I made him ?
Tony. • By the laws, miss, it was your own cleverness, and not my stupidity, that did your business. You were so nice snd so busy with your Shake-bags and Goosegreens, that I thought you could never be making believe.
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Hastings. So, Sir, I find by my servant, that you have shewn my letter, and betray'd us. Was this well done, young gentleman ?
Tony. Here's another. Ask miss there, who betray'd you? Ecod, it was her doing, not mine.
Marlow. So I have been finely used here among you. Rena dered contemptible, driven into ill manners, despised, insulted, laughed at.
Tony. Here's another. We shall have old Bedlam broke loose presently. '
Miss Neville. And there, Sir, is the gentleman to whom we all owe every obligation.
Marlow. What can I say to him, a mere boy, an ideot, whose ignorance and age are a protection.
Hastings. A poor contemptible booby, that would but disgrace. correction.
• Miss Neville. Yet with cunning and malice enough to make him. self merry with our embarrassments.
Hastings. An insensible cub.
Marlow. Replete with tricks and mischief.
Baw! dam’me, but I'll fight you both one after the other with baskets.
Marlow.. As for him, he's below resentment. But your conduct, Mr. Hastings, requires an explanation. You knew of my mistakes, yet would not undeceive me.
Hastings. Tortured as I am with my own disappointments is this a time for explanations. It is not friendly, Mr. Marlow.
Marlow. But, Sir
Miss Neville, Mr. Marlow, we never kept on your mistake, till it was too late to undeceive you.
Servant. My mistress desires you'll get ready immediately madam. The horses are putting to. Your hat and, things are in the next room. We are to go thirty miles before morning.
Miss Neville. Well, well ; I'll come presently.
Marlow. (To Hastings) Was it well done, Sir, to assist in rendering me ridiculous. To hang me out for the scorn of all my acquaintance. Depend upon it, Sir, I shall expect an explanation.