The runaway, a comedy: as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.
Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809.
Page  4
SCENE, a Garden Parlour.
Enter GEORGE and BELLA at the Garden Door.
BELLA seating herself at a Tea-table.
Bel.

Hang this Lady Dinah—one's forc'd to be so dress'd, and so formal!—In the country we should be all shepherds and snepherdesies—Meadows, ditches, rooks, and court-manners, are the strangest combination!

Geo.

Hist—she's in the hall, I see—I'll go and 'squire her in.

[Exit George, and returns with Lady Dinah.
Lady D.

To you, Sir, who have been so long con|versant with the fine manners o••e Antients, the frivo|lous custom of tea-drinking must appear ridiculous.

Geo.

No custom can be ridiculous, Madam, that gives us the society of the Ladies—The young men of those days deserve your Ldyships pity, for having never tasted these elegant hours.

Lady D.
[aside.]

He is just what his Father described.

Enter Mr. HARGRAVE.
Mr. H.

No;—Barbary Bess is spavin'd; let her be taken care of: I'll have Longshanks, and see that he's saddled by five—So we sha'n't have you in the hunt to-morrow, George,—you must have more time to shake off the lazy rust of Cambridge, I suppose.—What sort of hours d'ye keep at College?

Geo.

Oh, Sir, we are frequently up before the Sun, there.

Mr. H.

Hah!—then 'tis when you ha'n't been in bed all night, I believe.—And how do you stand in other matters?—Have the musty old Dons tired you with their Greek, and their Geometry, and their learned Experiments to shew what air, and fire, and water, are made of? Ha! ha! ha!

Bella.

Oh, no, Sir—he never studied them closely enough to be tired—his Philosophy and mine keep pretty equal pace, I believe.

Geo.

As usual, my lively Cousin—If you had said my Philosophy and your Coquetry, I should have thought you had meant to compliment me—However, Sir, I am not tired of my studies—though Bella has not exactly hit the reason.

Page  5
Lady D. to Mr. H.

The Muses, Sir, sufficiently recompence the most painful assiduities by which we ob|tain their favour—Their true lovers are never satiated with the pleasures they bestow—those, indeed, who court them, like the Toasts of the season, because it is the fashion, are neither warm'd by their beauties, nor pene|trated with their charms—but these are faithless Knights;—your Son, I dare say, has enlisted himself among their sincerest Votaries.

Geo.

You do me great honour, Madam,—I have no doubt but you are perfectly acquainted with the Muses. They shed their favours on a few only—but those who share them must, like you, be irresistible. I'll catch her Ladyship's style.

[aside.
Mr. H.
[aside.]

Humph—I am glad he likes her.

Lady Dinah.

You men are so full of flattery! In Athens, in Lacedemon, that vice was for ages unknown—it was then the Athenians were the happiest, and the La|cedemonians the—

Bella.

Oh mercy!—I have burnt my fingers in the most terrible manner.

[Enter Harriet from the Garden.]
I wish the misfortune had happened to her La|dyship's tongue.

[aside.
Har.

Dear Bella, I am quite concerned.

Bella.

Pho!—I only meant to break in upon her harangue, there's no bearing so much Wisdom.

[Enter Servant.
Serv.

Mr. Drummond.

Enter Mr. DRUMMOND.
Mr. D.

Benedicite!—ah!—my dear Godson!—why, this is an unexpected pleasure—I did not know you were arrived.

Geo.

I have had that happiness only a few hours, Sir, and I was on the point of paying my devoirs to you at the Park.

Mr. D.

Ungracious Rogue! a few hours, and not been with me yet!—however—stay where you are, stay where you are, George—you cannot come under my roof with safety now, I assure you; such a pair of eyes, such a bloom, such a shape!—Ah Girls, Girls!

Har.

Dear Mr. Drummond, of what, or whom, are you talking? You make me quite jealous.

Page  6
Mr. D.

Oh! you are all out-done, eclipsed—you have no chance with my Incognita—Then she has the prettiest foot—and moves a Grace!

Bel.

Teasing creature!

Mr. D.

Pretty Bella!—well, it shall be satisfied. Mr. Hargrave, I wait on you, Sir, to request an apart|ment for a young Lady of beauty, and honour, who hath put herself under my protectin.—But as I really think my house a dangerous situation for her, considering that I am single, young and handsome,

[stroking his face]
I cannot in conscience expose her to it.—You, being a grave, orderly man, and having a couple of decent, well|behaved young women for a Daughter and Niece; I think she will be more agreeably protected here—and this is my business.

Mr. H.

A young Lady who hath put herself under your protection! Who is she?

Mr. D.

Her name she wishes to conceal.

Mr. H.

That's very odd—Where did you meet with her?

Mr. D.

At the house of a Widow Tenant of mine, a few miles from hence, where she had taken refuge from a marriage to which an Uncle would have forced her.—She had no companion but the good old Lady, whom I found employed in assisting her to weep, instead of consoling her.—In short, there were reasons to think her situation highly dangerous, and I prevail'd on her to leave it.

Har.

And so your credulity is again taken in, and the air of a weeping Beauty is the trap that caught you?—Ha, ha! ha!—Will you never be sick of impositions?

Mr. D.

I don't remember that I was ever imposed on.

Mr. H.

No! don't I know how many people you have plagued yourself about, who had not a grain of me|rit to deserve it?

Mr. D.

I want merit Mr. Hargrave; yet all the blessings of health and fortune have not been with-held from me.

Mr. H.

Aye, aye—there's no getting you to hear rea|son on this subject.

Mr. D.

'Tis too late to reason now. The young Lady is at my house—I have promised to bring her here, and we must endeavour to raise the poor Girl's spirits. She would have spoil'd the prettiest face in England—beg pardon, Ladies—one of the prettiest faces, with weep|ing at the old Widows.

Page  7
Bel.

An old Widow, a pretty Girl, a Lover, a tyran|nical Uncle—'tis a charming group for the amusement of a village circle.—I long to see this Beauty.

Lady D.

Her beauty, according to Mr. Drummond, may be conspicuous enough—but her pretensions to birth and honour seem to be a more doubtful matter.

Geo.

Pardon me, Madam, why should we doubt of either? A Lady in such a situation has a right to protec|tion;

[to his Father]
and I hope, Sir, you will not with|hold yours.

Mr. H.

Oh, no, to be sure, George.—'Sbud! refuse protection to a fine Girl!—'twould be, with you, a crying Sin, I warrant—but Mr. Drummond, I should suppose—

Mr. D.

Come, be satisfied, the weaknesses with which you reproach me, might have induced me to have snatched her from an alarming situation without much examination.—But, in compliment to your delicacy, I have made proper enquiries.—She was placed under the care of Mrs. Carlton by a person of credit.—She has dis|patched a messenger to her Uncle, who, I presume, will be here to-morrow.

Har.

Pray, Sir, permit us to wait on the Lady, and conduct her here; I am strongly interested for her.

Mr. H.

'Tis an odd affair—what say you to it, my Lady?

Lady D.

As your Family seem desirous to receive her, Sir, I am sorry to perceive an impropriety in the request—but I should apprehend that any appearance of encourage|ment to young Ladies in disobedience—particularly when accompanied with the glaring indecorum of an elope|ment—

Mr. H.

Aye, very true—'Sbud, Mr. Drummond, how can you encourage such—

Mr. D.

Madam, I do not mean to encourage, but to restore the young Lady to her family. She seems terrified at the peculiar severity of her Uncle's temper; so we'll put ourselves in form, receive him in full assembly, and divide his anger amongst us.—Your Ladyship, I'm sure, must be happy to render the recovery of the first false step as easy as possible.

Mr. H.

Why aye, my Lady—there can be no harm in that, you know.

Lady D.

Very well, Sir—if you think so, I can have no farther objection.

Mr. H.

Well then, Harriet, you may go—I think

Page  8
Bella.

And I with you, Cousin.

Mr. D.

Come then, my pretty doves—I'll escort you.—George, steel your heart, steel your heart, you Rogue.

[Exeunt.
Geo.

It is steel'd, Sir.

Mr. H.

You need not go, George—I want to speak to you.

Lady D.

Bless me!—what does he intend to say now?—he's going to open the affair to his Son—well—these are the most aukward moments in a Woman's life—but one must go through it.

[aside.]
I have letters to write, which I'll take this leisure to do, if you'll pardon my absence, Gentlemen.

Mr. H.

To be sure, Madam

[both bowing. Exit Lady D.]
—Well, George, how do you like that Lady?

Geo.

Extravagantly, Sir,—I never saw a Lady so learn'd.

Mr. H.

Oh, she's clever—she's an Earl's Sister too, and a forty thousand pounder, boy.

Geo.

That's a fine fortune.

Mr. H.

Aye, very fine, very fine—and then her inte|rest!—suppose I could prevail with her—eh, George—if one could keep her in the family, I say—would not that be a stroke?

Geo.

An alliance with so noble a family, Sir, is cer|tainly a desirable circumstance.

Enter Servant.
Ser.

The Gentlemen are in the smoaking parlour, Sir.

Mr. H.

Very well—are the pipes and October in rea|diness?

Ser.

Yes, Sir.

[Exit.
Mr. H.

Well then, we'll talk over the affair to-mor|row—what—I suppose your stomah is too squeamish for tobacco and strong beer?—you'll find the Justice, and some more of your old friends there.

Geo.

Pardon me, Sir, I made too free with the bottle at dinner, and have felt the effects in my head ever since—I believe a turn in the garden is a better recipe than the fumes of tobacco.

Mr. H.

Well, well, we won't dispute the matter with you now, boy—but you know I don't like milksops.

Geo.
[smiling]

Nor I, Sir.

[Bows and exit.
Page  9
Mr. H.

Aye, aye, George is a brave Boy—Old Eng|land is disgraced by a set of whipsters who affect to des|pise the jolly manners of their Ancestors, while they only serve to shew us, how greatly manners may be alter'd without being mended—

Enter JUSTICE.

'Sbud, I don't know that we are a bit wiser, happier, or greater, than we were in good old Bess's days—when our Men of Rank were robust, and our Women of Fashion buxom.

Justice.

Aye, aye, a plague on all the innovations that tend to produce a race of pretty follows instead of Eng|lishmen—and puny girls, for the Mothers of Heroes—Give me a rosy buxom lass, with eyes that sparkle like the glas|ses we toast her in—adad, I'd drink her health till the world danced round like a top—But, what a plague, 'Squire, d'ye stay here for? come into t'other room, and if you have a mind to make wise speeches there, we can drink in the mean time, and then what you say will have a proper effect.

Mr. H.

Well, well, I'll go, but I want to consult you—I have been thinking whether this Greenwood estate—

Jus.

Tush—you know very well, I can neither con|sider or advise, till I have had my brace—I am as dark, till the liquor sends its spirits into my brains, as a lan|tern without its candle—so, if you've any knotty point to propose, keep it till I'm enlighten'd.

Mr. H.

Well, come along.

[Going. Enter Clerk.]
Cl.

The people from the Crown, Sir, and the Rose, and the Antelope, are here again about their licences.

Jus.
[To Mr. H.]

There—this is what I got by coming for you—I charged the Butler not to lt this dog in.

—[to the clerk]
Why, how can I help it?—bid 'em come again to-morrow—'tis of no consequence.

Cl.

And here's a Pauper to be pass'd—a lame Man with four Children.

Har.

Well, turn him over to the Cook, and let him wait till we are at leisure.

Cl.

And a Constable has brought up a man, for breaking into farmer Thompson's barn last night.

Jus.

Has he?

[seeming irresolute]
well, tell him to wait too—we are going to be busv now, and can't be dis|turb'd. But bid him take care he doesn't let the prisoner escape, as he did that dog Farlow, d'ye hear?

Page  10
Cl.

Yes, Sir—but—Justice Manly is now in the smoaking-room—I've spoke to him about the licences, and we may'nt have another bench this—

Jus.

Will you please to march, Sir?

[Exit Clerk.
Mr. H

Well done, old Boy—Burn himself could not have dispatch'd business with more expedition.

[Going. Enter Servant.
Ser.

The Miller is here, Sir, with a man that he cotch'd with a hate that he had taken in the springe—but the poor fellow, please your Honour, has a large fa|mily.

[Hargr. and the Justice return.
Mr. H.

What! a Hare—Come along, Justice.

[Exit another way.
A burst of laughter from the smoaking room.—the Justice looks wistfully back, and then follows Mr. Hargrave.