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be open. Your father and I will like you the better for it.
Marlow. May I die, Sir, if I ever
Hardcastle. I tell you, she don't dislike you ; and as I'm sure you like her
Marlow. Dear, Sir-I protest, Sir
Hardcastle. I see no reason why you should not be joined as fast as the parson can tie you.
Marlow. But hear me, Sir
Hardcastle. Your father approves the match, I admire it, every moment's delay will be doing mischief, som
Marlow. But why won't you hear me ? By all that's just and true, I never gave Miss Hardcastle the slightest mark of my attachment, or even the most distant hint to suspect me of affection. We had but one interview, and that was formal, modest, and uninteresting.
· Hardcastle: ( Aside) This fellow's formal modest impudence is beyond bearing.
Sir Charles. And you never grasp'd her hand or made any protestations.
Marlow. As Heaven is my witness, I came down in obedience to your commands. I saw the lady without emoVol. II.
tion, and parted without reluctance, I hope you'll exact no farther proofs of my duty, nor prevent me from leaving a house in which I suffer so many mortifications.
[Exit. Sir Charles. I'm astonished at the air of sincerity with which he parted.
• Hardcastle. And I'm astonished at the deliberate intrepidity of his assurance.
Hardcastle. Here comes my daughter, and I would stake my happiness upon her veracity.
Enter Miss HARDCASTLE.
Hardcastle. Kate, come hither, child. Answer us sincerely and without reserve ; has Mr. Marlow made you any professions of love and affection?
Miss Hardcastle. The question is very abrupt, Sir! But since you require unreserved sincerity, I think he haş.
Hardcastle. (To Sir Charles) You see.
Sir Charles. And pray, madam, have you and my son had more than one interview?
Miss Hardcastle. Yes, Sir, several
Hardcastle. (To Sir Charles) You see.
Miss Hardcastle. As most profest admirers do. Said some civil things of my face, talked much of his want of merit, and the greatness of mine ; mentioned his heart, gave a short tragedy speech, and ended with pretended rapture.
Sir Charles. Now I'm perfectly convinced, indeed. I know his conversation among women to be modest and submissive. This forward canting ranting manner by no means describes him, and, I am confident, he never sate for the picture.
Miss. Hardcastle. Then what, Sir, if I should convince you to your face of my sincerity? If you and my papa, in about half an hour, will place yourselves behind that screen, you shall hear him declare his passion to me in person. Sir Charles. Agreed. And if I find him what you describe, all my happiness in him must have an end. Exit.
Miss Hardcastle. And if you don't find him what I describe fear my happiness must never have a beginning.
SCENE changes to the back of the Garden.
Hastings. What an idiot am I, to wait here for a fellow, who probably takes a delight in mortifying me. He never intended to be punctual, and I'll wait no longer. What do I see! It is he! and perhaps with news of my Constance. Enter Tony, booted and shattered.
Hastings. My honest 'squire ! I now find you a man of your word. This looks like friendship.
Tony. Aye, I'm your friend, and the best friend you have in the world if you knew but all. This riding by night, by the bye, is cursedly tiresome. It has shook me worse than the basket of a stage-coach.
Hastings. But how? where did you leave your fellow-travellers ? Are they in safety ? are they housed ?
Tony. Five and twenty miles in two hours and a half is no such bad driving. The poor beasts have smoaked for it: rabbet me, but I'd rather ride forty miles after a fox than ten with such varment.
Hastings. Well, but where have you left the ladies ? I die with impatience.
Tony. Left them? Why where should I leave them but where I found them.
Tony. Riddle me this then. What's that goes round the house, and round the house, and never touches the house?
Hastings. I'm still astray.
Why that's it, mon. I have led them astray. By jingo, there's not a pond or a slough within five miles of the place but they can tell the taste of.
Hastings. Ha! ha! ha! I understand ; you took them in a round, while they supposed themselves going forward, and so you have at last brought them home again.
Tony, . You shall hear. I first took them down Feather-bedlane, where we stuck fast in the mud. I then rattled them crack over the stones of Up-and-down Hill-I then introduced them to the gibbet on Heavy-tree Heath, and from that with a circumbendibus, I fairly lodged them in the horse-pond at the bottom of the garden,
Hastings. But no accident, I hope.
Tony. No, no. Only mother is confoundedly frightened. She thinks herself forty miles off. She's sick of the