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Marlow. [Musing.] - As for Miss Hardcastle, she's too grave and sentimental for me.
Miss Hardcastle. — Did your honor call ? [She still places herself before him, he turning away.]
Marlow. — No, child. [Musing.] Besides, from the glimpse I had of her, I think she squints.
Miss Hardcastle. — I'm sure, Sir, I heard the bell ring.
Marlow. - No, no. [Musing.] I have pleased my father, however, by coming down, and I'll tomorrow please myself by returning. [Taking out his tablets and perusing. ]
Miss Hardcastle. — Perhaps the other gentleman called, Sir?
Marlow. - I tell you, no.
Miss Hardcastle. — I should be glad to know Sir: we have such a parcel of servants.
Marlow. — No, no, I tell you. [Looks full in her face.] Yes, child, I think I did call. I wanted—I wanted -I vow, child, you are vastly handsome.
Miss Hardcastle. -O la, Sir, you'll make one ashamed.
Marlow. — Never saw a more sprightly malicious eye. Yes, yes, my dear, I did call. Have you got any of your-awhat d'ye call it, in the house?
Miss Hardcastle. - No, Sir, we have been out of that these ten days.
Marlow. – 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 too.
Mise Hardcastle. — Nectar! nectar! That's a liquor there's no call for in these parts. French, I suppose. We keep no French wines here, Sir.
Marlow. - Of true English growth, I assure you.
Miss Hardcastle. - Then it's odd I should not know it. We brew all sorts of wines in this house, and I have lived here these eighteen years.
Marlow. — Eighteen years! Why, one would think, child, you kept the bar before you were born. How old are you?
Miss Hardcastle. - Oh, Sir, I must not tell my age. They say women and music should never be dated.
Marlow. — 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 Hardcastle. — Pray, Sir, keep your distance. One would think you wanted to know one's age as they do horses, by mark of mouth.
Marlow. - 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 Hardcastle. — 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 manner. I'll warrant me, before her
looked dashed, and kept bowing to the ground, and talked, for all the world, as if you were before a justice of peace.
Marlow. [Aside.] — Egad, she has hit it, sure enough! [T. her.] In awe of her, child ? Ha! ha! ha! A mere awkward, squinting thing! No, no. I find you don't know me. I laughed and rallied her a little ; but I was unwilling to be too severe. No, I could not be too severe, curse me.
Miss Hardcastle. — Oh, then, Sir, you are a favorite, I find, among the ladies ?
Marlow. — Yes, my dear, a great favorite. And yet, hang me, I don't see what they find in me to follow. At the Ladies' Club in town I'm called their agreeable Rattle. Rattle, my child, is not my real name, but one I'm known by. My name is Solomons; Mr. Solomons, my dear, at your service. [Offering to salute her.]
Miss Hardcastle. - Hold, Sir; you are introducing me to your club, not to yourself. And you're so great a favorite there, you say?
Marlow. — 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 Hardcastle. — Then it's a very merry place, I sup
Marlow. — Yes, as merry as cards, suppers, wine, and old women can make us.
Miss Hardcastle. — And their agreeable Rattle, ha! ha! ha!
Marlow. [Aside.] — Egad! I don't quite like this chit. She looks knowing, methinks. You laugh, child !
VOL. X. -12
Miss Hardcastle. - I can't but laugh to think what time they all have for minding their work, or their family.
Marlow. [Aside.] — All's well; she don't laugh at me. [TO her.] Do you ever work, child ?
Miss Hardcastle. Ay, sure. There's not a screen or a quilt in the whole house but what can bear witness to that.
Marlow. - 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 Hardcastle. — Ay, but the colors don't look well by candlelight. You shall see all in the morning. [Struggling.
Marlow. — And why not now, my angel? Such beauty fires beyond the power of resistance. — Pshaw! the father here! My old luck: I never nicked seven that I did not throw ames-ace three times following.
PICTURES FROM "THE DESERTED VILLAGE."
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Ob blest retirement! friend to life's decline,
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening's close
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,