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First performed at the Royal Gallery of Illustration on 3rd July 1873, with Fanny Holland and Arthur Cecil in the two parts. Performed again with the same cast on 5th May 1876 at the Princess's Theatre for Pauline Rita's benefit.

Opened 17th November 1877, Opera Comique (same night as The Sorcerer). Ran till 7th or 8th February 1878.

No printed libretto or vocal score traceable in British Library. License copy of libretto in Lord Chamberlain's collection, Add. MS. 53194, play no. A, Nov-Dec 1877. The text of this copy is handwritten and has been considerably amended, some lines and passages having been crossed out, and alterations and additions made in what looks remarkably like Gilbert's hand. Only dialogue is given, not the words of the songs, and in Cecil's original draft it was evidently not intended to be with music.


DORA LESLIE, a romantic young lady Giulia Warwick
FRED FANCOURT, her cousin, of the Stock Exchange Richard Temple
A VOICE OUTSIDE, supposed to be Dora's father  


The scene is a drawing room in a villa in Putney. Fred Fancourt comes wooing his cousin because he has a dream of the comfy, capable, dumpy little wife. Dora, on the other hand, has taken to literature, and declares that she will only marry a poet. They play charades in which Fred shows how impossible poets are to live with, and Dora shows how insufferable stockbrokers can be to their wives. Both dreams shattered, they agree to part, but eventually make it up and (presumably) they get married and live happily ever after. The most memorable line in the play is Fred's opinion of the perfect woman:

Order is a first-rate quality in a wife. I maintain that if a girl cannot be born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she ought to be born with a bunch of keys at her waist.

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