“Gentlemen, you are heartily welcome!”
Mr Hardcastle is an old-fashioned, genial host. “It’s not my way, you see to receive my friends with my back to the fire. I like to give them a hearty reception in the old style at my gate.”
But the visitors, Mr Marlow and Mr Hastings, believe their host to be a rather talkative and over-familiar inn-keeper and think nothing of talking across him as they discuss the clothes that they intend to wear the following day when they meet their respective ladies.
At the first opportunity, Mr hardcastle takes the opportunity of launching into one of his favourite stories, about the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, “When he fought the TUrks at the Battle of Belgrade.”
The Gentlemen from London are less than impressed.