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The Works of Aphra Behn, Volume III   By: (1640-1689)

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First Page:

THE WORKS OF APHRA BEHN, VOL. III

EDITED BY MONTAGUE SUMMERS

MCMXV

CONTENTS:

THE TOWN FOP; OR, SIR TIMOTHY TAWDREY THE FALSE COUNT THE LUCKY CHANCE; OR, AN ALDERMAN'S BARGAIN THE FORC'D MARRIAGE; OR, THE JEALOUS BRIDEGROOM THE EMPEROR OF THE MOON NOTES

THE TOWN FOP; OR, SIR TIMOTHY TAWDREY.

ARGUMENT.

Sir Timothy Tawdrey is by the wishes of his mother and the lady's father designed for Celinda, who loves Bellmour, nephew to Lord Plotwell. A coxcomb of the first water, Sir Timothy receives a sharp rebuff when he opens his suit, and accordingly he challenges Bellmour, but fails to appear at the place of meeting. Celinda's old nurse, at night, admits Bellmour to her mistress' chamber, where they are surprized by Friendlove, her brother, who is, however, favourable to the union, the more so as he is a friend of Bellmour, and they have but newly returned from travelling together in Italy. Lord Plotwell warmly welcomes his nephew home, and proceeds to unfold his design of giving him his niece Diana in marriage. When he demurs, the old lord threatens to deprive him of his estate, and he is compelled eventually to acquiesce in the matrimonial schemes of his guardian. Bellmour sends word to Celinda, who replies in a heart broken letter; and at the wedding feast Friendlove, who himself is deeply enamoured of Diana, appears in disguise to observe the traitor. He is followed by his sister disguised as a boy, and upon Friendlove's drawing on Bellmour a scuffle ensues which, however, ends without harm. In the nuptial chamber Bellmour informs Diana that he cannot love her and she quits him maddened with rage and disappointment. Sir Timothy serenades the newly mated pair and is threatened by Bellmour, whilst Celinda, who has been watching the house, attacks the fop and his fiddlers. During the brawl Diana issuing forth meets Celinda, and taking her for a boy leads her into the house and shortly makes advances of love. They are interrupted by Friendlove, disguised, and he receives Diana's commands to seek out and challenge Bellmour. At the same time he reveals his love as though he told the tale of another, but he is met with scorn and only bidden to fight the husband who has repulsed her. Bellmour, meantime, in despair and rage at his misery plunges into reckless debauchery, and in company with Sir Timothy visits a bagnio, where they meet Betty Flauntit, the knight's kept mistress, and other cyprians. Hither they are tracked by Charles, Bellmour's younger brother, and Trusty, Lord Plotwell's old steward. Sharp words pass, the brothers fight and Charles is slighted wounded. Their Uncle hears of this with much indignation, and at the same time receiving a letter from Diana begging for a divorce, he announces his intention to further her purpose, and to abandon wholly Charles and Phillis, his sister, in consequence of their elder brother's conduct. Sir Timothy, induced by old Trusty, begins a warm courtship of Phillis, and arranges with a parasite named Sham to deceive her by a mock marriage. Sham, however, procures a real parson, and Sir Timothy is for the moment afraid he has got a wife without a dowry or portion. Lord Plotwell eventually promises to provide for her, and at Diana's request, now she recognizes her mistake in trying to hold a man who does not love her, Bellmour is forgiven and allowed to wed Celinda as soon as the divorce has been pronounced, whilst Diana herself rewards Friendlove with her hand.

SOURCE.

The Town Fop; or, Sir Timothy Tawdrey is materially founded upon George Wilkins' popular play, The Miseries of Enforced Marriage (4to, 1607, 1611, 1629, 1637), reprinted in Dodsley. Sir Timothy himself is moulded to some extent upon Sir Francis Ilford, but, as Geneste aptly remarks, he may be considered a new character. In the older drama, Clare, the original of Celinda, dies tragically of a broken heart. It cannot be denied that Mrs. Behn has greatly improved Wilkins' scenes. The well drawn character of Betty Flauntit is her own, and the realistically vivacious bagnio episodes of Act iv replace a not very interesting or lively tavern with a considerable accession to wit and humour, although perhaps not to strict propriety... Continue reading book >>


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