Item of the Day: Early American Drama (1810)

Bound together:

Man and Wife, or, More Secrets than One: A Comedy by Samuel James Arnold, Esq.
The Free Knights, or The Edict of Charlemagne: A Drama in Three Acts, Interspersed with Songs by Frederick Reynolds
The Foundling of the Forest: A Play by William Dimond, Esq.
Alfonso, King of Castile: A Tragedy in Five Acts by M.G. Lewis
Venoni, or the Novice of St. Mark’s. A Drama in Three Acts by M.G. Lewis
A New Way to Pay Old Debts, A Comedy, in Five Acts by Philip Massinger, Esq.
The Maid of Honour: A Comedy, in Five Acts by Philip Massinger
The Bondman; A Comedy, in Five Acts by Philip Massinger
The Fatal Dowry; A Tragedy, in Five Acts by Philip Massinger
Emilia Galotti: A Tragedy, in Five Acts by G.E. Lessing, translated by Miss Fanny Holcroft

Some printed in Philadelphia for Bradford and Inskeep; some in New-York for Inskeep and Bradford; and some in Boston for William M’ilhenny; all in 1810. Bound together, with separate pagination.Act I.

SCENE I. — Abel Grouse’s cottage. Enter Abel Grouse and Fanny.

Ab. Gr. Dont tell me of your sorrow and repentance girl. You’ve broke my heart. Married hey? and privately too–and to a lord into the bargain! So, when you can hide it no longer, you condescend to tell me. Think you that the wealth and title of lord Austencourt can silence the fears of a fond father’s heart? Why should a lord marry a poor girl like you in private, if his intentions were honourable? Who should restrain him from publicly avowing his wife?

Fanny. My dearest father, have but a little patience, and I’ll explain all.

Ab. Gr. Who was present, besides the parson, at your wedding?

Fanny. There was our neighbour, the attorney, sir, and one of his clerks, and they were all—

Ab. Gr. My heart sinks within me–but mark me. You may remember I was not always what now I seem to be. I yesterday received intelligence which, but for this discovery, had shed a gleam of joy over my remaining days. As it is, should your husband prove the villain I suspect him, that intelligence will afford me an opportunity to resume a character in life which shall make this monster lord tremble. The wrongs of Abel Growse, the poor but upright man, might have been pleaded in vain to him, but as I shall soon appear, it shall go hard but I will make the great man shrink before me, even in his plenitude of pride and power.

Fanny. You terrify me, sir, indeed you do.

Ab. Gr. And so I would. I would prepare you for the worst that may befal us: for should this man, this lord, who calls himself your husband–

Fanny. Dearest father, what can you mean? Who calls himself my husband! He is my husband.

Ab. Gr. If he is your husband, how does he dare to pay his addresses, as he now publicly does, to the daughter of sir Willoughby Worret, our neighbour. I may be mistaken. I’m in the midst here of old acquaintances, though in this guise they know me not. They shall soon see me amongst them. Not a word of this, I charge you. Come, girl, this lord shall own you. If he does not, we will seek a remedy in those laws which are at once the best guardians of our rights and the surest avengers of our wrongs. [Exeunt.

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Filed under 1810's, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Theater

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