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THE STORY OF "ROB ROY"

ACT I.

    A number of Highlanders, led by Lochiel, visit Perth to obtain a sum of English gold held by the Provost for expected English troops.   The robbery is discovered and a fight ensues between the Highlanders and the townsfolk.   Lochiel explains that the money is warded for the cause of Prince Charles Stuart who has arrived from France and is preparing to lead the Scots against the English.   The purpose of the uprising is the restoration of the Stuarts to the English throne, now occupied by George the Second.     Flora MacDonald, an enthusiast for the Stuarts' cause, arrives with a hunting party and cajoles the Provost into consenting to the gathering of the clans in Perth.   The Provost is anxious to be friendly with both the Scots and the English.   Hearing of the Scots victory, he compels his daughter Janet to marry Sandy MacSherry, a town crier who claims relationship with the Stuarts.     Immediately after the wedding, English soldiers enter the town and the commanding officer, Captain Sheridan, falls in love with Janet.   The Provost compels Janet to declare herself the wife of the Captain, and, in order to get Sandy out of the way, accuses him of the robbery of the English gold.   Janet, to save her father, declares herself the wife of Captain Sheridan.   Immediately afterward Rob Roy and his Highlanders capture the town.   The Provost, now eager to be rid of his English son-in-law, causes Captain Sheridan to be arrested.     It now appears that when Janet went through the Scottish form of marriage with Sandy and the Captain, she was secretly married to Rob Roy.   She proposes to escape her two nominal husbands by going with Rob's regiment as his Orderly.   The Scots now being victorious, the Provost and his henchmen appear at Highlanders and, in song, vow to be Scotsmen till the Scotsmen are beaten.   The gathering of the clans is heralded by the music of bag-pipes; the ceremony of the "Elevation of the Standard" takes place and the act ends with a Jacobite war song.

ACT II.

    The Highlanders led by Rob Roy are posted to guard a mountain pass.   The Battle of Culloden is in progress and the Scots expect a great victory.   After a song by Janet, bag-pipes are heard in the distance.   The Highlanders at first think this the signal of victory, but presently they recognize the song of defeat, the coronach.   The Scots led by the Prince and Lochiel return wounded and defeated.     A chorus declaring allegiance follows, and the Prince, cheered by the fidelity of the Highlanders, vows to prey upon the "Brunswickers" as his predecessor Prince Rupert did upon the Roundheads.   "The lay of the Cavaliers" is the song that follows.   A reward is offered for the Prince who, disguised as a peasant, is sheltered by the MacGregors in their mountain retreat.    The Provost and his henchmen appear as wandering ballad-mongers, having fled before the battle.   They are still in Highland dress, not having heard of the rout of the Scots.   Sandy MacSherry arrives and informs the Provost of the English victory, and the Provost, changing Highland kilt for English uniform, becomes an Englishman.   He determines to obtain the reward offered for the Prince, and the act is mainly devoted to his efforts toward this end and his sudden change of nationality according to the fortunes of war.     At length the English capture the Prince in the dress of a miller's boy, and are about to lead him away when Flora appears in the Prince's costume, declares him to be her servant and gives herself up as the Prince.   The act ends with an ensemble as Flora is led away by the English soldiers, in spite of the efforts made to rescue her by the Prince, Rob Roy and their followers.

ACT III.

 The English troops are in bivouac near Stirling Castle and a Drummer's Song begins the act.   The Prince comes to rescue Flora who is imprisoned in the Castle and is to be shot on the coming morning.   Lochiel has taken the turnkey's place and aids her escape.   Flora goes to the MacGregors' Cave, where the Prince is to join her spying into the force and plans of the English.   Flora's escape leaving the cell empty, Lochiel replaces the prisoner with Sandy MacSherry who has been made tipsy by the English soldiers.     The Provost, now an English Corporal, believing Flora still in the Castle, brings her a market-woman's dress in disguise.   Sandy escapes in the dress, the Provost still supposing that he is assisting Flora.   Hearing of the Prince's danger, Rob and Janet come as Lowland rustics to aid him with the English gold (stolen in Act I), which is concealed beneath the vegetables in their farm-wagon.   The Provost sends his servants to the MacGregors' Cave to capture the Prince; but the servants find Flora, who is there awaiting the Prince, and bring her back to camp.

    She is about to be shot when Prince Charles enters and gives himself up.   As he is about to be executed, the peasants throw off their long Lowland coats and disclose themselves as Highlanders fully armed.   They hold the English at bay while the Prince and Flora escape to France in a vessel which is seen sailing away as the curtain falls.


American Musical Theatre | Rob Roy

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