Clandestine Marriage

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A comedy by Colman the elder and Garrick, performed 1766; it caused a rift between the two collaborators when Garrick refused to take the role of Lord Ogleby.

Lovewell has secretly married his employer's younger daughter Fanny. Her father, Mr Sterling, a wealthy London merchant, has arranged a marriage between his elder daughter and Sir John Melvil, nephew of Lord Ogleby, who accepts the alliance for mercenary reasons. Melvil suddenly reveals his aversion to the proposed match and his passion for Fanny, who repels his advances. Melvil induces Mr Sterling, for a financial consideration, to allow him to transfer his suit to Fanny. But now Mrs Heidelberg, Mr Sterling's wealthy sister (whose eccentric speech foreshadows that of Mrs Malaprop), intervenes, and orders Fanny from the house. Fanny in despair applies to old Ogleby who, mistaking her inarticulate confession for a declaration of love for himself, announces that he himself will marry her, thereby increasing the confusion. Finally a lover is discovered in Fanny's bedroom. When he turns out to be Lovewell, Lord Ogleby good‐naturedly intervenes on behalf of the guilty couple and all ends well.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

George Colman, the Elder (1732—1794) playwright and theatre manager

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