The runaway, a comedy: as it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane.
Cowley, Mrs. (Hannah), 1743-1809.
SCENE changes to an Apartment.
BELLA at her Harpsichord.
SONG.
Haste, aste, ye fiery Steeds of Day,
In Ocean's bosom hide your beams!
Mild Evening, in her pensive gray
More sft, and more alluring seems.
Yet why invoke the pensive Eve,
Or, sighing, chide refulgnt Morn?
Their shifting moments can't relieve
The heart by pangs of absnce torn.

Hang Music—it only makes me melancholy—Heigh-ho '—these Lovers insect me too, I believe—Seducive Italy! what are your attractions? Oh, for Fortunatus's cap—I'd convince myself in a moment if my doubts are Page  33 justly founded—And suppose they should—what then?—Ah! they think I am made of ice, whilst the gaiety of my disposition only serves to conceal a heart as tenderly susceptible as the most serious of my sex can possess—

Enter EMILY.

Ah, my dear Ma'am, I am rejoiced to see you; I have been just long enough alone to be tired of myself, and to be charmed at so agreeable a relief.

Em.

Can that ever be the case with Miss Sidney? I thought you had possess'd the happiest flow of spirits in the world.

Bel.

Pho!—your great spirits are mere Jack-a-lanterns in the brain—they dance about, shine, and make vagaries—while those who possess happiness, soberly and quietly en|joy their treasure.

Em.

Indeed! I hope dulness is not your criterion of happiness—if it is, there are few assemblies where you'll not find a great number to envy.

Bel.

Oh, no—Dulness is the character of those who are too wise, not too happy.

Enter GEORGE.
Geo.

Two Ladies in council—on fashion, or news?

Bel.

On a better subject—laughing at the slaves we have made, and forging chains for more.

Geo.

That's not the business of fine Women—Nature meant to save them the trouble of plotting—for traps and chains, she bestowed sparkling eyes, and timid blushes, with a whole multitude of graces, that hang about the form, and wanton in the air.

[Looking at Emily.]
Bel.

Well, after all, Men are delightful creatures—flat|tery, cards, and scandal, help one thro' the day tolerably well—I don't know how we should exist without 'em in the country.

Geo.

And which of 'em would you relinquish in town?

Bel.

Not flattery, because it keeps one in spirits, and gives a glow to the complexion—Scandal, you may take away—but pray leave us cards, to keep us awake, with the fashionable world, on Sunday evenings.

Geo.

And, in lieu of scandal, you'll be content with con|quest.

Bel.

Ridiculous! Conquest is not such an object with Wo|men, as the Men imagine—for my part, I should conceive a net that would catch the hearts of the whole sex, a property of very little value.

Page  34
Geo.

But, you would think it a very pleasant one, my gentle Cuz. or, at least

[archly]
you'd pick out one happy favourite before you gave the rest to despair.

Bel.

Positively no—I don't know one that I should not let fly away with the rest.

Geo.

Now, how can you fib, with such an unblushing face? This debate, Madam,

[to Emily]
will let you into Bel|la's secret—she has, at this moment, an image in her heart, that gives a flat contradiction to her tongue.

Bel.

Indeed!—you make your assertion with great effron|tery—but now, to compliment your discernment, whose image do you think of?

Geo.

Ha, Bella—listen with your greediest ears to catch the transporting sound—breathe not, ye softest Zephyrs! be silent, ye harmonious Spheres! while I articulate the name of—

Bel.

[stopping her ears]
Oh, I won't hear it.

Geo.

Belville!

Bel.

Oh, frightful!—don't attend to him—George's be|lief is always under the influence of his fancy.

Emily.

In this instance, if I may judge from your looks, he has not hinted at a fiction.

Bel.

Indeed you are mistaken; his guess might have been as good, if you had named Prester John.

Geo.

Hum—I wish it may be so, for I have heard a story about a certain Lady on the Continent, whom a certain Gen|tleman—

Bel.

Thinks handsomer than Bella Sydney—mortifying—ha, ha, ha!

Geo.

Nay more, to whom be devotes his hours.

Bel.

His heart

[petulantly.]
Geo.

On whom he doats.

Bel.

Psha!

Geo.

Grows melancholy.

Bel.

Nonsense!

Geo.

Nay, fights for her.

Bel.

Ridiculous!

Geo.

Lives only at her feet.

Bel.

You are really very insupportable, Sir—do find some other subject to amuse yourself.

Geo.

Ha, ha, ha! the Gudgeon has bit—See, Madam, a Coquette struggling with the consciousness of love,—are not those pouts, and angry blushes, proofs of Belville's happi|ness?

Emily.

I cannot perceive these proofs—Mr. Belville, per|haps, is not in so enviable a state.

Page  35
Bel.

Oh, you are a good Girl, and, I assure you, perfectly right—Lovers, thank our stars! are too plenty, for an ab|sent one to give us much pain.—What, turn your arms on your associate, George!—I'll break the league, and discover all.

[apart to George.
Geo.

You dare not, you love mischief too well—it is as dear to you as the sighs of your Lover.

Bel.

A-propos! where's Sir Charles?

Geo.

In the garden probably—sighing to the winds—and I wish you'd find him—and leave us.

[apart.
Bel.

Ha! Perhaps they'll waft his sighs to Harriet—and she must not hear 'em yet—and so, Sir Charles—

[Exit.
Emily.

Oh, pray make me one of your party.

[going.
Geo.

Stay, Madam, I entreat you—believe me, they will not thank you—I'll tell you the story.

Emily.

I'll hear it from Miss Sydney.

Geo.

Nay, if you are determined—

[Exeunt.