The runaway, a comedy: as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.
Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809.
SCENE, Lady DINAH's Dressing Room.
Lady DINAH and Mr. HARGRAVE sitting.
Mr. Hargrave.

I AM surprised, Madam, at your thinking in this manner—when I spoke to my Son this morning—I assure you, he express'd a great deal of satisfaction about the affair—I won|der indeed he has not been here.

Page  29
Lady D.

Now, I could almost blame you, Mr. Hargrave—pardon me—but you have certainly been too precipitate—your Son has scarcely been at home four and twenty hours, and cannot possibly have received any impression, or formed an idea of my character.—He has been so much engaged, in|deed, with other persons, that I have had no opportunity of conversing with him; and how, so circumstanced, can he have form'd a judgment of his own heart?

Mr. H.

Good God! Madam, he has given the best proof in the world that he has formed a judgment; for he told me this morning, that the prospect of the marriage made him very happy.—I don't know what other proof a man can give that he knows his own heart—and let me tell you, Madam, I have accustomed my children to pay a proper regard to my inclination.

Lady D.

I am apprehensive, Sir, that Mr. George Har|grave's obedience may influence him more than I cou'd wish—and I assure you, I cannot think of uniting myself to any man, who does not prefer me for my own sake, without ad|verting to any other consideration.

Mr. H.

His obedience to me, influence him more than you could wish!—why really I don't understand you, my Lady—Zounds! I thought she had been a sensible Wo|man.

[aside.
Lady D.

Not understand me, Mr. Hargrave! I have too high an opinion of your good sense, to suppose that I am un|intelligible to you.

Mr. H.

My opinion, Madam, is, that an obedient Son is likely to make a kind Husband—George is a fine young fel|low as any in England, though I his father say it,—and there's not a woman in the kingdom, who might not be proud to call him her husband—too obedient—

Lady D.

Bless me! this man has no ideas

[aside.]
—You mistake me, Mr. Hargrave; I do not mean to lessen the merit of obedience in your Son—but, I confess, I wish him to have a more delicate, a more tender motive, for offering his hand to me.

Mr. H.

Look ye, Madam—you have a great under|standing, to be sure—and I confess you talk above my reach—but I must nevertheless take the liberty to blame your Ladyship;—a person of your Ladyship's experience—and, al|low me to say, your date in the world, must know that there are occasions in which we should not be too nice.

Lady D.

Too nice! Mr. Hargrave—

[rising.
Page  30
Mr. H.

Aye—too nice, my Lady,—a Boy and Girl of sixteen, have time before 'em—they may be whimsical, and be off and on, and play at shilly-shally as long as they have a mind.—But, my Lady, at a certain season we must leave off these tricks, or be content to go to the grave old Batchelors and—

[shrugging his shoulders.
Lady D.

I am utterly astonished, Mr. Hargrave—you surely mean to offend me—you insult me.

Mr. H.

No—by no means—I would not offend your Ladyship for the world—I have the highest respect for you, and shall rejoice to call you my Daughter—if you are not so, it will be your own fault—for George, I am sure, is ready the moment you will give your consent—The writings shall be drawn when you think proper, and the marriage consum|mated without delay.

Lady D.

Well, Sir—I really do not know what to say—when Mr. George Hargrave shall imagine it a proper period to talk to me on the subject—I—I—

Mr. H.

Well, well, Madam—I allow this is a topic on which a Lady does not chuse to explain herself but to the prin|cipal—I waited on your Ladyship only to inform you that I had talked to my Son concerning the affair, and to incline you, when he waits on you, to give him a favourable hearing.

Lady D.

Mr. Hargrave—a person of your Son's merit is entitled to a proper attention from any Woman he addresses.

Mr. H.

There—now we are right again—I was fearful that you had not liked my Boy—and that your difficulties arose from that quarter—but since you like George, 'tis all very well, very well.

Lady D.

Mr. Hargrave!—I am surprised at your con|ceiving so unjust an idea—Mr. George Hargrave is, as you have said, a match for any woman, whatever be her rank.

Mr. H.

My dear Lady Dinah—I am quite happy to hear you say so—I am sure George loves you—odds bobs, I hear him on the stairs—I'll go and send him to you this moment, and he shall tell you so himself—you'll surely believe him.

[Exit.
Lady D.

Mr. Hargrave, Mr. Hargrave—bless me, what an impetuous obstinate old Man—what can I do?—I am in an exceedingly indelicate situation—he will tell his Son that I am waiting here in expectation of a declaration of love from him—Sure never woman was in so aukward an embarras—I wish the Son possessed a little of the Father's impetuosity—this would not then have happened.

Page  31Enter GEORGE.
Geo.

Your Ladyship's most obedient servant.

Lady D.

S—i—r

[curtseying confusedly]
Geo.

My Father permits me, Madam, to make my ac|knowledgments to your Ladyship, for the honour you design our Family.

Lady D.

I must confess, Sir, this interview is somewhat unexpected—it is indeed quite premature—I was not prepared for it, and I am really in great confusion.

Geo.

I am sensible, Madam, a visit of this kind to a Lady of your delicacy must be a little distressing—but I intreat you to be composed—I hope you will have no reason to regret a resolution which myself, and the rest of the family, have so much cause to rejoice in—and I assure your Ladyship, every thing on my part, that can contribute to your felicity, you shall always command.

Lady D.

You are very polite, Sir—We have had so little opportunity of conversing, Mr. Hargrave, that I am afraid you express rather your Father's sentiments than your own. It is impossible, indeed, from so short a knowledge, that you can have formed any sentiments of me yourself.

Geo.

Pardon me, Madam, my sentiments for you are full of respect—and I am convinced your qualities will excite the veneration of all who have the honour of being connected with you. My Father could hardly have done it better.

[aside.]
Lady D.

Why, this young Man has certainly been taught to make love by his Tutor at College.

[aside.]
Geo.

I am concerned this visit seems so embarrassing to your Ladyship—I certainly should have deferr'd it, from an apprehension of its being disagreeable, but, in obedience to my Father, I—

Lady D.

Then it is to your Father, Sir, that I am in|debted for the favour of seeing you.

Geo.

By no means, Madam—it would certainly have been my inclination to have waited on your Ladyship, but my Father's wishes induced me to hasten it.

Lady D.

Really! a pretty extraordinary confession!

[aside.]
—I think it necessary to assure you, Sir, that—that this af|fair has been brought thus forward by Mr. Hargrave—and the proposals he made, in which it was evident, his whole heart was concern'd, were quite unexpected.

Geo.

I have not the least doubt of it, Madam, nor am I at all surprised at my Father's earnestness, on a subject so in|teresting—What can she mean by apologizing to me?

[aside.]

Page  32
Lady D.

It would certainly have been proper, Sir, to have allowed you time to have formed a judgment yourself, on a point which coucerns you so highly.

Geo.

The time has been quite sufficient, Madam—I highly approve the steps my Father has taken—but if I did not, the respect I bear to his determination would certainly have pre|vented my opposing them. I must end this extraordinary visit

[aside.]
—Shall I have the honour of conducting your Ladyship to the Company?

Lady D.

N—o, Sir—I have some orders to give my Woman, I'll rejoin the Ladies in a few minutes.

Geo.

Then I'll wish your Ladyship a good morning.

[Ex.
Lady D.

Amazement! why, what a visit from a Lover!—Is this the language in which men usually talk to wo|men, with whom they are on the point of marriage?—Respect! Veneration! Obedience to my Father!—And shall I have the honour of conducting your Ladyship to the Compa|ny?—A pretty Lover-like request truly!—But this cold|ness to me proceeds from a cause I now understand—This morning, what fire was there in his eyes! what animation in his countenance! whenever he address'd himself to that creature Mr. Drummond brought here?—Would his request to her have been to conduct her to Company?—No, no;—But I must be cautious—I must be patient now—but you will find, Sir, when I possess the privileges of a Wife, I shall not so easily give them up—your fiery glances, if not directed to me, shall at least, in my presence, be addressed to no other.

[Exit.