SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER (1773)
Hastings and Marlow turn up at the Three Pigeons Alehouse. Tony Lumpkin, inheritor to an estate, is there with his goodfellows, drinking away his estate.
SCENE: An alehouse room. Several shabby fellows, with punch and tobacco. Tony at the head of the table, a little higher than the rest: a malet in his hand.
Omnes Hurrea, hurrea, hurrea, bravo.
First Fellow Now, gentlemen, silence for a song. The 'Squire is going to knock himself down for a song.
Omnes Ay, a song. a song.
Tony Then I'll sing you, gentlemen, a song ale-house, the Three Pigeons.
Let school-masters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsense,and learning;
Good liquor, 1 stoutly maintain,
Gives genus a better discerning.
Let them brag of their Heathenish Gods,
Their Lethes, their Styxes, and Stygians;
Their Quis, and their Quxs, and their Quods,
They're all but a parcel of Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
When Methodist preachers come down,
A preaching that drinking is sinful,
I'll wager the rascals a crown,
They always preach best with a skinful.
But when you come down with your pence,
For a slice of their scurvy religion,
I'll leave it to all men of sense,
But you my good friend are the pigeon.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
Then come, put the forum about,
And let us be merry and clever,
Our hearts and our liquors are stout,
Here's the Three Jolly Pigeons for ever.
Let some cry up woodcock or hare,
Your bustards, your ducks, and your widgeons;
But of all the birds in the air,
Here's a health to the Three Jolly Pigeons.
Toroddle, toroddle, toroll.
Omnes Bravo, bravo.
First Fellow The 'Squire has got spunk in him.
Second Fellow I love to hear him sing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low.
Third Fellow O damn any thing that's low, I cannot bear it.
Fourth Fellow The genteel thing is the genteel thing at any time. If so be that a gentleman bees in a concatenation accordingly.
Third Fellow I like the maxum of it, Master Muggins. What, tho' I am obligated to dance a bear, a man may be a gentleman for all that. May this be my poison if my bear ever dances but to the very genteelest of tunes. Water Parted, or the minuet in Ariadne.
Second Fellow What a pity it is the 'Squire is not come to his own. It would be well for all the publicans within ten miles round of him.
Tony Ecod and so it would Master Slang. I'd then shew what it was to keep choice of company.
Second Fellow O he takes after his own father for that. To he sure old 'Squire Lumpkin was the finest gentleman Iever set my eyes on. For winding the streight horn, or beating a thicket for a hare, or a wench, he never had his fellow. It was a saying in the place, that he kept the best horses, dogs, and girls in the whole county.
Tony Ecod, and when I'm of age I'll be no bastard I promise you. I have been thinking of Bett Bouncer and the miller's grey mare to begin with. But come, my boys, drink about and be merry, for you pay no reckoning. Well, Stingo, what's the matter?
Landlord There be two gentlemen in a post-chaise at the door. They have lost their way upo' the forest; and they are talking something about Mr Hardcastle.
Tony As sure as can be one of them must be the gentleman that's coming down to court my sister. Do they seem to be Londoners.
Landlord I believe they may. They look woundily like Frenchmen.
Tony Then desire them to step this way, and I'll set them right in a twinkling. (Exit Landlord) Gentlemen, as they mayn't be good enough company for you, step down for a moment, and I'll be with you in the squeezing of a lemon. Exeunt Mob.
Tony Father-in-law has been calling me whelp, and hound, this half year. Now if I pleased I could be so revenged upon the old grumbletonian. But then I'm afraid - afraid of what! I shall soon be worth fifteen hundred a year, and let him frighten me out of that that if he can.
Enter Landlord, conducting Marlow and Hastings.
Marlow What a tedious uncomfortable day have we had of it! We were told it was but forty miles across the countrry, and we have come above threescore.
Hastings And all Marlow, from that unaccountable reserve ofyours, that would not let us enquire more frequently on the way.
Marlow I own, Hastings, I am unwilling to lay myself under an obligation to every one I meet; and often stand the chance of an unmannerly answer.
Hastings At present, however, we are not likely to receive any answer.
Tony No offence, gentlemen. But I'm told you have been enquiring for one Mr Hardcastle, in these parts. Do you know what part of the country you are in?
Hastings Not in the least Sir, but should thank you for information.
Tony Nor the way you came?
Hastings No, Sir; but you can inform us -
Tony Why, gentlemen, if you know neither the road you are going, nor where you are, nor the road you came, the first thing Ihave to inform you is that - You have lost your way.
Marlow We wanted no ghost to tell us that.
Tony Pray, gentlemen, may I be so bold as to ask the place from whence you came?
Marlow That's not necessary towards directing us where we are to go.
Tony No offence; but question for question is all fair, you know. Pray gentlemen, is not this same Hardcastle a cross-grain'd, old-fashion'd, whimsical fellow, with an ugly face; a daughter, and a pretty son?
Hastings We have not seen the gentleman, but he has the family you mention.
Tony The daughter, a tall trapesing, trolloping, talkative maypole - The son, a pretty, well-bred, agreeable youth, every body is fond of.
Marlow Our information differs in this. The daughter is said to he well-bred and beautiful; the son, an aukward booby, reared up, and spoiled at his mother's apron-string.
Tony He-he-hem - Then, gentlemen, all I have to tell you is, that you won't reach Mr Hardcastle's house this night, I believe.
Tony It's a damn'd long, dark, boggy, dirty, dangerous way. Stingo, tell the gentlemen the way to Mr Hardcastle's; (winking upon the Landlord) Mr Hardcastle's, of Quagmire Marsh, you understand me.
Landlord Master Hardcastle's! Lock-a-daisy, my masters, you're come a deadly deal wrong! When you came to the bottom of the hill, you should have cross'd down Squash-lane.
Marlow Cross down Squash-lane!
Landlord Then you were to keep streight forward, 'till you come to four roads.
Marlow Come to where four roads meet!
Tony Ay; but you must be sure to take only one of them.
Marlow O Sir, you're facetious.
Tony Then keeping to the right, you are to go side-ways till you come upon Crack-skull common: there you must look sharp for the track of the wheel, and go forward, 'till you come to farmer Murrain's barn. Coming to the farmer's barn, you are to turn to the right, and then to the left, and then to the right about again, till you find out the old mill -
Marlow Zounds, man! we could as soon find out the longitude!
Hastings What's to be done, Marlow?
Marlow This house promises but a poor reception; though perhaps the Landlord can accommodate us.
Landlord Alack, master, we have but one spare bed in the whole house.
Tony And to my knowledge, that's taken up by three lodgers already. (After a pause, in which the rest seem disconcerted.) Ihave hit it. Don't you think, Stingo, our landlady could accommodate the gentlemen by the fire-side, with - three chairs and a bolster?
Hastings I hate sleeping by the fire-side.
Marlow And I detest your three chairs and a bolster.
Tony You do, do you? - then let me see - what if you go on a mile further, to the Buck's Head; the old Buck's Head on hill, one of the best inns in the whole country?
Hastings O ho! so we have escaped an adventure for this night, however.
Landlord (Apart to Tony) Sure, you ben't sending them to your father's as an inn, be you?
Tony Mum, you fool you. Let them find that out. (To them) You have only to keep on streight forward, till you come to a large old house by the road side. You'll see a pair of large horns over the door. That's the sign. Drive up the yard, and call stoutly about you.
Hastings Sir, we are obliged to you. The servants can't miss the way?
Tony No, no: But I tell you though, the landlord is rich, and going to leave off business; so he wants to be thought a Gentleman, saving your presence, he! he! he! He'll be for giving you his company, and ecod if you mind him, he'll persuade you that his mother was an alderman, and his aunt a justice of peace.
Landlord A troublesome old blade to be sure; but a keeps as good wines and beds as any in the whole country.
Marlow Well, if he supplies us with these, we shall want no further connexion. We are to turn to the right, did you say?
Tony No, no, streight forward. I'll just step myself, and show you a piece of the way. (To the Landlord) Mum.
Landlord Ah, bless your heart, for a sweet, pleasant - damn'd mischievous son of a whore.
Act II (following scene - Hardcastle attempts to teach his servants how to wait at table; Marlow and Hastings arrive believing it to be the Old Buck's Head Inn and Hardcastle its landlord)
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