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I come not to announce a bashful maid Who ne'er has try'd the drama's doubtful trade, Who sees with flutt'ring hope the curtain rise, And scans with.

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Presentation on theme: "I come not to announce a bashful maid Who ne'er has try'd the drama's doubtful trade, Who sees with flutt'ring hope the curtain rise, And scans with."— Presentation transcript:



3 I come not to announce a bashful maid Who ne'er has try'd the drama's doubtful trade, Who sees with flutt'ring hope the curtain rise, And scans with timid glance your critic eyes; My client is a more experienc'd dame […] (Wives as the Were, Prologue, ll. 1-5)

4 It is well known that the late Mr. Harris, then the chief proprietor of that theatre, was a very gallant man, and did not find the virtue of several of his fair performers impregnable. At his desire, Mrs. Inchbald attended him one morning at his house at Knightsbridge, to consult on one of her plays which was soon to be represented. When the consultation was ended, Mr. Harris, who was a handsome man, and had found so little difficulty among the theatrical sisterhood under his government, thought that he might be equally successful in an attack on Mrs. Inchbald; but, instead of regular approaches, he attempted to take the fort by storm, and Mrs. Inchbald found no resource but in seizing him by his hair, which she pulled with such violence that she forced him to desist. She then rushed out of the house, and proceeded in haste, and under great agitation, to the green-room of the theatre, where the company were then rehearsing. She entered the room with so wild an air, and with such evident emotion, that all present were alarmed. She hastily related what had happened as far as her impediment would permit her, and concluded with the following exclamation: “Oh if he had wo-wo-worn a wig, I had been ru-ruined.” (John Taylor, Records of my Life, 1833)

5 Mr. Norberry. Why blame me?—Why blame me?—My sister had the sole management of your daughter by your own authority, from the age of six years, till within eight months of the present time, when, in consequence of my sister's death, she was transferred to my protection. Sir William. Your sister, Mr. Norberry, was a prudent, good woman— she never could instruct her in all this vice. Mr. Norberry. Depend upon it, my dear friend, that miss Dorrillon, your daughter, came to my house just the same heedless woman of fashion you now see her. Sir William [impatiently.] Very well—'Tis very well.—But, when I think on my disappointment— Mr. Norberry. There is nothing which may not be repaired. Maria, with you for a guide— (Act 1, Scene 1)

6 Mr. Norberry. You are offended with some justice: but, as I have often told you, your excessive delicacy and respect for the conduct of the other sex, degenerate into rigour. Sir William. True—for what I see so near perfection as woman, I want to see perfect. We, Mr. Norberry, can never be perfect; but surely women, women, might easily be made angels! Mr. Norberry. And if they were, we should soon be glad to make them into women again. (Act 1, Scene 1)

7 Lord Priory. It is because I am married myself; and having always treated my wife according to the ancient mode of treating wives, I would rather she should never be an eye-witness to the modern household management. Sir William. The ancients, I believe, were very affectionate to their wives. Lord Priory. And they had reason to be so; for their wives obeyed them. The ancients seldom gave them the liberty to do wrong: but modern wives do as they like. (Act 1, Scene 1)

8 Mr. Norberry. In the name of wonder, how have you been able to bring her to that? Lord Priory. By making her rise every morning at five. Mr. Norberry. And so she becomes tired before night. Lord Priory. Tired to death. Or, if I see her eyes completely open at bed-time, and she asks me to play one game more at picquet, the next morning I jog her elbow at half after four. Mr. Norberry. But suppose she does not reply to the signal? Lord Priory. Then I turn the key of the door when I leave the chamber; and there I find her when I return in the evening. (Act 1, Scene 1)

9 Lord Priory. No, he is now a kind of gentleman in waiting. I have had no employment for a valet since I married:—my wife, for want of dissipation, has not only time to attend upon herself, but upon me. Do you think I could suffer a clumsy man to tie on my neckcloth, or comb out my hair, when the soft, delicate, and tender hands of my wife are at my command? (Act 1, Scene 1)

10 In ancient days, when manners were simple and pure, did not wives wait at the table of their husbands? and did not angels witness the subordination? I have taught Lady Priory to practise the same humble docile obedience—to pay respect to her husband in every shape and every form—no careless inattention to me—no smiling politeness to others in preference to me—no putting me up in a corner—in all assemblies, she considers her husband as the first person. (Act 1, Scene 1)

11 Sir George. Thus, then—Suffer me to send my steward to you this morning; he shall regulate your accounts, and place them in a state that shall protect you from further embarrassment till your father sends to you; or protect you from his reproaches, should he arrive. Miss Dorrillon. Sir George, I have listened to your detail of vices which I acknowledge, with patience, with humility —but your suspicion of those which I have not, I treat with pride, with indignation. Sir George. How! suspicion! Miss Dorrillon. What part of my conduct, Sir, has made you dare to suppose I would extricate myself from the difficulties that surround me, by the influence I hold over the weakness of a lover? (Act 1, Scene 1)

12 Sir William. A man of fortune, of family, and of character, ought at least to be treated with respect, and with honour. Miss Dorrillon. You mean to say, "That if A is beloved by B, why should not A be constrained to return B's love?" Counsellor for defendant—"Because, moreover, and besides B who has a claim on defendant's heart, there are also, C, D, E, F, and G; all of whom put in their separate claims— and what, in this case, can poor A do? She is willing to part and divide her love, share and share alike; but B will have all or none: so poor A must remain A by herself A." (Act 2, Scene 1)

13 Sir George. Distraction! the first disappointment is nothing to this second! to the reflection that Miss Dorrillon has been set at liberty by any man on earth except myself. (Act 5, Scene 3)

14 Sir William. Mr. Norberry will not give either his money or his word to release you—But as I am rich—have lost my only child—and wish to do some good with my fortune, I will instantly lay down the money of which you are in want, upon certain conditions. Miss Dorrillon. Do I hear right? Is it possible I can find a friend in you?—a friend to relieve me from the depth of misery! Oh Mr. Mandred! Sir William. Before you return thanks, hear the conditions on which I make the offer. Miss Dorrillon. Any conditions—What you please! Sir William. You must promise, never, never to return to your former follies and extravagancies. [She looks down.] Do you hesitate? Do you refuse?—Won't you promise?

15 Miss Dorrillon. I would, willingly—but for one reason. Sir William. And what is that? Miss Dorrillon. The fear, I should not keep my word. (Act 5, Scene 2)



18 Bronzely. I charged you to keep what I had to tell you a profound secret. Lady Priory. Yes; but I thought you understood I could have no secrets from my husband. Bronzely. You promised no one should know it but yourself. Lady Priory. He is myself. Lord Priory. How, Mr. Bronzely, did you suppose she and I were two? (Act 4, Scene 2)

19 By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover, she performs every thing … For this reason, a man cannot grant any thing to his wife, or enter into covenant with her: for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself. (William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1765-1769)

20 Bronzely. Is it impossible for me to excite your tenderness? Lady Priory. Utterly impossible. Bronzely. I will then rouse your terror. Lady Priory. Even that I defy. Bronzely. Lady Priory, you are in a lonely house of mine, where I am sole master, and all the servants slaves to my will. [Lady Priory calmly takes out her knitting, draws a chair, and sits down to knit a pair of stockings.] Bronzely [aside.] This composure is worse than reproach—a woman who meant to yield would be outrageous.— [Goes to speak to her, then turns away]—By heaven she looks so respectable in that employment, I am afraid to insult her. [After a struggle with himself] Ah! don't you fear me?

21 Lady Priory. No—for your fears will protect me—I have no occasion for my own. (Act 5, Scene 1)

22 Lady Mary. Oh, I am absolutely afraid to come near the Tarquin! Sir William. You need not, Lady Mary; for there can be no Tarquin without a Lucretia. (Act 3, Scene 1)

23 Titian, Tarquin and Lucretia (1571)

24 Bronzely. It is amazing to find so much fidelity the reward of tyranny! Lady Priory. Sir—I speak with humility—I would not wish to give offence—[timidly]—But, to the best of my observation and understanding, your sex, in respect to us, are all tyrants. I was born to be the slave of some of you—I make the choice to obey my husband. (Act 4, Scene 2)

25 [T]o preserve ancient austerity, while, by my husband's consent, I am assailed by modern gallantry, would be the task of a Stoic, and not of his female slave. (Act 5, Scene 4)

26 Sir William. […] Alarmed at my severity, she has owned her readiness to become the subject of a milder government. Sir George. She shall never repine at the election she has made. Lord Priory. But, Sir George, if you are a prudent man, you will fix your eyes on my little domestic state, and guard against a rebellion. Lady Priory. Not the rigour of its laws has ever induced me to wish them abolished. Bronzely [to Lady Priory.] Dear Lady, you have made me think with reverence on the matrimonial compact: and I demand of you, Lady Mary—if, in consequence of former overtures, I should establish a legal authority over you, and become your chief magistrate—would you submit to the same controul to which Lady Priory submits?

27 Lady Mary. Any controul, rather than have no chief magistrate at all. Sir George [to Miss Dorrillon.] And what do you say to this? Miss Dorrillon. Simply one sentence—A maid of the present day shall become a wife like those—of former times. (Act 5, Scene 4)


29 We have, of late, been destined to witness an inundation of plays from the German school, many of which have an evident tendency to excite discontent among the lower classes of society, by representing obscurity and virtue, rank and vice, as close and inseparable associates. Such misrepresentation proceeds from no ignorance of the human mind, but from a determined resolution to prostitute the drama to the worst of political principles, and to favour the propagation of those revolutionary principles with which far the greatest part of the German literati are, unhappily, infected. Kotzebue, certainly one of the most distinguished of the German dramatists, if not the first, has been accused, and not unjustly, of an occasional prostitution of his genius to this purpose. His profligates are, almost invariably, men of rank … we do most strenuously deny, that there is more vice in the upper than in the lower classes of society. (Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, 1799)

30 I can only account for such an apparent neglect of Kotzebue's "Child of Love," by the consideration of its original unfitness for an English stage, and the difficulty of making it otherwise; a difficulty which once appeared so formidable, that I seriously thought I must have declined it, even after I had proceeded some length in the undertaking. (Inchbald, Preface to Lovers’ Vows)

31 The part of Amelia has been a very particular object of my solicitude and alteration; the same situations which the author gave her remain, but almost all the dialogue of the character I have changed: the forward and unequivocal manner in which she announces her affection to her lover in the original, would have been revolting to an English audience: the passion of love, represented on the stage, is certain to be insipid or disgusting, unless it creates smiles or tears: Amelia's love, by Kotzebue, is indelicately blunt, and yet void of mirth or sadness. (Inchbald, Preface to Lovers’ Vows)

32 The tears of my mother are all that I inherit from my father. (Act 4, Scene 2)

33 [A room in the Cottage. Agatha, Cottager, his Wife, and Frederick discovered—Agatha reclined upon a wooden bench, Frederick leaning over her.] (Act 2, Scene 2) [An apartment in the Castle. A table spread for breakfast—Several servants in livery disposing the equipage—Baron Wildenhaim enters, attended by a Gentleman in waiting.] (Act 2, Scene 2)

34 [An open field. Frederick alone, with a few pieces of money which he turns about in his hands.] Frederick. To return with this trifle for which I have stooped to beg! return to see my mother dying! I would rather fly to the world's end. [looking at the money.] What can I buy with this? It is hardly enough to pay for the nails that be wanted for her coffin. My great anxiety will drive me to distraction. However, let the consequence of our affliction be what it may, all will fall upon my father's head; and may he pant for Heaven's forgiveness, as my poor mother—[At a distance is heard the firing of a gun, then the cry of Halloo, Halloo—Gamekeepers and Sportmen run across the stage—he looks about.] Here they come—a nobleman, I suppose, or a man of fortune. Yes, yes—and I will once more beg for my mother.—May Heaven send relief! [Enter the Baron followed by the Count. The Baron stops.] (Act 3, Scene 1)

35 In this house did you rob my mother of her honour; and in this house I am a sacrifice for the crime. (Act 4, Scene 2)

36 [N]one but a woman can teach the science of herself: and though I own I am very young, a young woman may be as agreeable for a tutoress as an old one. (Act 3, Scene 2)

37 It is my father's will that I should marry—It is my father's wish to see me happy—If then you love me as you say, I will marry; and will be happy—but only with you.—I will tell him this.—At first he will start; then grow angry; then be in a passion—In his passion he will call me "undutiful"—but he will soon recollect himself, and resume his usual smiles, saying "Well, well, if he love you, and you love him, in the name of heaven, let it be."—Then I shall hug him round the neck, kiss his hands, run away from him, and fly to you; it will soon be known that I am your bride, the whole village will come to wish me joy, and heaven's blessing will follow. (Act 3, Scene 2)

38 My meaning is, that when a man is young and rich, has travelled, and is no personal object of disapprobation, to have made vows but to one woman, is an absolute slight upon the rest of the sex. (Act 4, Scene 2)

39 Amelia. I said that birth and fortune were such old-fashioned things to me, I cared nothing about either: and that I had once heard my father declare, he should consult my happiness in marrying me, beyond any other consideration. Baron. I will once more repeat to you my sentiments. It is the custom in this country for the children of nobility to marry only with their equals; but as my daughter's content is more dear to me than an ancient custom, I would bestow you on the first man I thought calculated to make you happy: by this I do not mean to say that I should not be severely nice in the character of the man to whom I gave you; and Mr. Anhalt, from his obligations to me, and his high sense of honour, thinks too nobly— (Act 4, Scene 2)

40 [Frederick throws himself on his knees by the other side of his mother—She clasps him in her arms.—Amelia is placed on the side of her father attentively viewing Agatha—Anhalt stands on the side of Frederick with his hands gratefully raised to Heaven.—The curtain slowly drops.] (Act 5, Scene 2)


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