The runaway, a comedy: as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.
Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809.
SCENE, a Garden.
BELLA and HARRIET. Enter GEORGE.
George.

OH, for the luxury of night-gown and slippers! No jaded hack of Parnassus can be more tired than I am—the roads so dusty, and the sun so hot—'twould be less intolerable riding post in Africa.

Bella.

What a wild imagination!—But in the name of Fortune, why are you alone? What have you done with all the College youths?—This is the first vacation you ever came home unaccompanied, and I assure you we are quite disappointed.

Geo.

Oh, most unconscionable Woman! Never to be satisfied with conquest—There's poor Lumley shot through by your wicked eyes.

Bella.

A notable victory indeed!—however, his name serves to make a figure in the lists of one's conquests, and so you may give him just hope enough to feed his sighs,—but not to encourage his presumption.

Geo.

Paragon of generosity!—And what portion of comfort will your Ladyship bestow on Egerton and Fil|mer, who still hug the chains of the resistless Arabella?

Bella.

Upon my word, your catalogue grows in|teresting—'tis worth while now to enquire for your vouch|ers—Proofs, George, proofs.

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Geo.

Why, the first writes sonnets in your praise, and the last toasts you till he can't see.

Bella.

Oh, excellent!—The Dulcinea of one—and Circe of the other—ha! ha!—to transform him into a beast—I hope you have better love-tokens for the blushing Harriet—How does—

Harriet.

Fye, Bella—you use me ill.

Geo.

Why, Sister, you plead guilty, before the charge is exhibited—But tell me, my sweet Harriet, who is this favour'd mortal, of whom you mean to enquire?

Har.

Indeed, Brother, I have no enquiries to make; but I imagine my Cousin can inform you whom she meant.

Bella.

Oh, doubtless—but you look so offended, Harriet, that I dare not venture the enquiry: ask for Sir Charles Seymour yourself.

Geo.

Seymour! Ho, ho! Very fine truly!

[aside.]
If Seymour be the man, my Sister, set your heart at rest—he is on the point of marriage, if I am not mistaken, with a fine blooming Girl, not more than eighteen.—Soft, dove-like eyes—pouting lips—teeth that were, doubtless, made of oriental pearl—a neck—I want a simile now—ivory, wax, alabaster!—no; they won't do.

Har.
[with an air of pique.]

One would imagine, Bro|ther, you were drawing the picture of your own Mistress, instead of Sir Charles's, your colours are so warm.

Geo.

A fine Woman, Harriet, gives warmth to all around her—She is that universal spirit, about which Philosophers talk; the true point of attraction that go|verns Nature, and controuls the universe of Man.

Bella.

Heiday, George! Did the charms of Lady Dinah inspire this rhapsody?

Geo.

Charms! What, of that antiquated, senten|tious, delicate Lady, who bless'd us with her long speeches at dinner?

Bel.

You must learn to be more respectful in your epithets, Sir; for that sententious, delicate Lady designs you the honour of becoming your Mother.

Geo.

My Mother! Heaven sorefend—you jest, surely.

Bel.

You shall judge.—We met her in our late visit to Bath—She renewed her acquaintance with your Father, with whom, in Mrs. Hargrave's life-time, she had been intimate—He invited her to return with us, and she has been here this month—They are frequently Page  3 closeted together—She has forty thousand pounds, and is Sister to an Irish Peer.

Geo.

She might have been Grandmother to the Peer, by the days she has numbered—But her excessive propri|ety and decorum overcome me—How can they agree with my father's vociferation, October, and hounds?

Bel.

Oh, I assure you, wondrously well—she kisses Jowler, takes Ringwood on her lap, and has, more than once, sipp'd out of your Father's tankard.—Delicacies, Cousin, are easily made to give way, when we have cer|tain ends to answer.

Geo.

Very true; and beware of that period, when de|licacies must give way—tremble at the hour, Bella, when you'll rise from the labours of your toilette with no end in view, but the conquest of some Quixote Galant in his grand climacteric—on whom you'll squander more en|couraging glances, than all the sighs and ardor of two and twenty can extort from you now.

Bel.

Memento mori! Quite a College compliment: you ought rather to have supposed that my power will increase; and that, like Ninon, I might give myself the airs of eighteen at eighty—But here's John coming to summon us to coffee.—Harriet!

Geo.

Come, Harriet—why that pensive air? Give me your hand.

Har.

Excuse me—I'll only step and look at my birds, and follow you instantly—

[Exeunt George and Bella playfully.]
—"Set your heart at rest, my Sister."—Oh, Brother!—you have robb'd that heart of rest for ever.—Cruel intelligence!—Something has long sat heavy in my bosom—and now the weight is irremoveable—Perfidious Seymour!—yet, of what can I accuse him? He never profess'd to love me—Oh yes, his ardent looks—his sighs—his consusion—his respectful attentions, have a thousand times profess'd the strongest passion—Surely, a man cannot in honour, be exculpated, who by such methods defrauds a Woman of her heart; even tho' the word Love should never pass his lips. Yet I ought not to have trusted these seeming proofs—no; I must only blame my own credulity—O partial Nature!—why have you given us hearts so replete with tenderness, and minds so weak, so yielding?