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THE SEQUELS

LARRY T. GARVIN: I bet you didn't know that there was a third act to Patience. Thanks to one St. John Hankin, author of Mr. Punch's Dramatic Sequels there is. Hankin, an Edwardian humorist, playwright, and critic, speculated freely about what would have happened to the characters in a number of famous plays after the curtain fell. We thus see, for example, Fortinbras and Horatio chatting in the amply haunted castle of Elsinore. Hankin's introduction to his third act of Patience reads:

"At the end of Patience, it will be remembered, the twenty lovesick maidens gave up aestheticism and decided to marry officers of Dragoons. But a taste for intellectual gimcrackery is not so easily eradicated, and it is probable that the poor ladies neither liked or were liked at Aldershot. That is certainly the impression conveyed by the following sequel."

Given the difficulty of finding the book (Bradbury, Agnew & Co., 1901) and its want of copyright protection, I set forth some excerpts below.

Hankin starts with a chorus of lovesick officers' wives, each "dandl[ing] a baby, which squalls intermittently." They sing, in part:

Twenty heartsick maidens we,
Living down at Aldershot,
Every morning fervently
Wishing, wishing we were not.

They complain about all the artistic movements they've missed Ibsen, Beardsley, Maeterlinck and where have they been? They certainly hadn't expected to live in the backwater of Aldershot. As Angela sings (verse 1):

When first I consented to wed,
I said, "I shall never come down
To passing my life
As an officer's wife,
In a second rate garrison town."
I said, "I shall live in Mayfair,
With plenty of money to spare,
Have admirers in flocks,
Wear adorable frocks,
And diamonds everywhere."
Yes, that's what I certainly said
When first I consented to wed.

Enter the officers. Their wives turn on them, in part because of their most unattractive uniforms (which, in any case, a good soldier wears as seldom as possible). We hear the story of William Stokes (again, verse 1), sung by Saphir:

Saph.:
Once William Stokes went out to woo,
A corporal, he, of the Horse Guards (Blue),
He thought all housemaid hearts to storm
With his truly magnificent uniform.
But the housemaids all cried "No, no, no,
Your uniform's only meant for show,
Our gorgeous trappings are wicked waste,
And your whole getup's in the worst of taste.
All:
The worst of taste?
Saph.:
The worst of taste!
These quite unfeeling,
Very plain dealing,
Ladies cried in haste
"Your uniform, Billy,
Is simply silly,
And quite in the worst of taste!"

The Colonel agrees, but adds that the stupidity of the War Office assures that the uniform won't be changed. Nor will the Dragoons ever get snug berths at the Horse Guards, thus allowing their wives to live in London. The Colonel explains how advancement is reached in the British Army:

When you once have your commission, if you want a high position
in the Army of the King,
You must tout for the affections of the influential sections of
the Inner Social Ring,
If you're anxious for promotion, you must early get a notion of
the qualities commanders prize:
You must learn to play at polo, strum a banjo, sing a solo, and
you're simply bound to rise!
For every one will say,
In the usual fatuous way,
"If this young fellow's such a popular figure in High Society, Why,
what a very competent commander of a troop this fine young
man must be!"

[Verse 2 cut]
When, your blunders never noted, you are rapidly promoted to the
snuggest berth you know,
Till we see you at Pall Mall with the Army gone to well, where
the Army should not go
When your country goes to war your abilities will awe all the
foemen that beset her,
And if you make a mess of it, of course we're told the less of
it the country hears the better!
And you'll hear civilians say,
In their usual humble way,
"If this old buffer is a General of Division, and also a G.C.B.,
Why, what a past master of the art of war this fine old boy must
be!"

The officers' wives are aghast to learn that they'll be mired at Aldershot. Saphir leads the way: "Then my patience is exhausted. I shall apply for a judicial separation." The other ladies join in. As Angela points out, "At any moment a new movement in the world of Arts or Letters may begin in London, and we shall not be in it. The thought is unendurable. We must go and pack at once." As the curtain falls, the ladies exit.

Not bad, eh? Copies available on request.

DAVID CRAVEN:

"ANXIETY"

(a.k.a. Bunthorne's Revenge..)

Anxiety takes place a long time after the close of the act in Patience.

PROLOGUE:

The curtains open on a drunken Bunthorne sitting in a Tavern. He has been talking to Anxiety, a beautiful young bar maid... While he is talking to her, the door to the bar swings open and in strides a handsome man with a silver magnet around his neck... It is the evil Dr. Grover. He approaches the somewhat drunken Bunthorne and buys him a drink. As they drink, Grover sings a song about a rat named Kleinzach... Bunthorne collapses into a drunken stupor. During the song, Anxiety has placed an envelope next to Bunthorne. It contains a key, a note and a Wedding License, urging Bunthorne to meet her in the nearby Church... she has agreed to be Bunthorne's Bride. Anxiety leaves to go prepare for the rendezvous. Dr. Grover see the envelope, and upon examining its contents, places it in his pocket.

The Drunken Police Officers in the Tavern rouse Bunthorne and demand that he read one of his poems. Bunthorne, still in a drunken stupor, agrees and in salute to his great love, Anxiety, he will tell about his former loves...

ACT I: The Tail Of the Dragoon

SCENE ONE: A Military Encampment....

Bunthorne, depressed over losing the fair maid Patience, has enlisted in the 35th Dragoon Guards. He is a private and has been assigned to the officers' mess. The 35th Dragoons have been sent to the site of one of many little wars fought during Queen Victoria's time. The Officers have gathered before battle. As the curtain rises, the Officers (Major Rupert Murgatroyd, Duke Donald Dunstable, Col. Cyril Calvary, Captain Alexis Pointdexter, and Captain Edmund Fitzbattleaxe,) are singing about home and family ("I hear the lost note of the dinner bell...")

A message arrives from Major General Stanley telling them that they will be leading the charge tomorrow. They sing the happy and cheerful "It really is surprising what a thorough pulverizing." They all leave for the Duke's tent for one last celebration. Lady Jane, the Duke's wife, who has been observing the proceedings, enters and speaks with Bunthorne. She tells Bunthorne that even though the Duke is the sole Heir to a large fortune, his terrible temper has made this an unfortunate match. ("Spiteful is the Raging Heir"). Bunthorne tells her of the terrible battle to occur the next morning. Bunthorne and Lady Jane slip off to the Duke's tent to sabotage the Duke's weapons and saddle, in hopes that this will result in his death.

SCENE TWO: A Military Encampment, the next evening

The Battle did not go well for the Dragoons. The surviving officers (Duke, Col C., and Capt. Fitzbattleaxe) have gathered to discuss what went wrong. The Duke asks about the Major.

Col C. relates how Major Murgatroyd, who apparently had not committed his bad deed for the day, and intentionally led his subcommand into the guns of the feared Nightwind Regiment. ("When the Nightwinds Howl..."). These fearsome troops had decimated the Dragoons, and Murgatroyd had been one of the first to fall.

Capt. Fitzbattleaxe then described how he observed from a nearby hill (where he had been assigned to watch the spare horses) ("A tender all seeing above") how Capt. Pointdexter had met his fate as he discovered that Love was not the solution to all problems. Upon seeing the enemy, Capt Alexis P. had thrown down his weapons and extended his arms while loudly proclaiming that love was the answer. It was not, as he was quickly struck down. With his dying breath he admitted his error ("It is not love").

The Duke sang how the expedition was ill omened from the start. ("A many hours ago, when we were young and hearty"). In it he tells how Lady Jane went out to bid the troop farewell as they were marching into battle. As she was waving goodbye to her husband, the Horse belonging to the Company Surgeon, a young and handsome man with a magnet around his neck, bolted. The Duke drew his pistol to try and stop the out of control horse, but alas it would not fire. The Duke then spurred his horse to try and ride to the rescue, but his saddle broke and he fell to the ground. By the time the Col. and the rest of the troop was able to come to her aid, it was too late. The Surgeon took away the badly injured Lady Jane, was not optimistic about her prognosis...

As the officers retire to their quarters, Bunthorne, realizing what he has done, collapses on the stage in an insensible heap.

ACTS II and III...

FRANCES YASPRICA: I must humbly admit to once having created a "sequel" to Patience. It was called Bring Back Bunthorne and was performed at a NY G&S Society dinner on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Patience. The title was inspired by the then recent Broadway musical sequel to Bye Bye, Birdie, entitled Bring Back Birdie.

Like Birdie II, my version took place 20 years after the original and mainly concerned the various offspring of the original characters.

Except Bunthorne, who for some reason has become a vicar (so he could sing Dr. Daly's "Time was..."). This time he was in love with Patience's daughter, who strangely was a mezzo. She toyed with him by singing "Were I thy bride" but was really in love with Lady Angela' son, who was betrothed to Lady Jane's daughter Casilda.

Lady Jane (played by the formidable Jocelyn Wilkes) exhorted her reluctant daughter with "On the day when I was wedded". Even worked in the line "That man is a Duke, and I will love him!".

There were long lost heirs (Frederic, the pirate apprentice surfaced and was returned to his parents) and a baby mixup, sorted out by the sudden reappearance of Lady Ella, who married the Solicitor, wound up earning her living as a baby nurse. She almost married Bunthorne, but the sudden reappearance of her long lost husband put the kibosh on that.

The cast also featured the late (and much missed) Isaac Asimov as Bunthorne, Nathan Hull (as one of the young men; I forget which) and myself (as Casilda). A good time was had by all.

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