Collection No. 32: The Fashionable Lover, by Richard Cumberland

Publication Details | Synopsis | Secondary Commentary |Varieties & Dialects | Other

Publication details

Author: Cumberland, Richard
Author dates: 1732-1811
Title: The Fashionable Lover

First played: 1772
First published: 1772, for W. Griffin [etc.] 63 p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1772)

Modern availability: Available from ECCO (1997)

Genre: Comedy

Trend(s): Nationality; Contemporary Satire; Popularity

Character types: Scottish; French; Welsh; Jewish

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The good-hearted servant Colin Macleod saves Augusta from the improper advances of Lord Abberville, allowing her to marry Tyrell and to be reconciled to her long-lost father Aubrey. Ausgusta's former guardians, the Bridgemores, are punished for their swindling of her fortune.

Act I.
Colin Macleod and La Jeunesse, two servants, prepare Lord Abberville’s house for a supper-party. Mortimer, Abberville’s father’s former executor, enters, quoting philosophy and refusing to attend the dinner. Mortimer disapproves of Abberville’s friends, including Dr. Druid, a Welshman. This gentleman enters as Mortimer departs. Abberville must slip out during the dinner to see Miss Aubrey, so he asks Druid to entertain the guests during his absence. Bridgemore, Mrs. Bridgemore and Lucinda (Abberville’s fiancée) arrive; they are impressed by the grandeur of the nobleman’s house. Druid says that Abberville is out, and entertains the family by telling them that he has imported over fifty poisons into England. The family leaves, Lucinda saying that because Abberville is already acting like a husband (in being absent when she is at home), she will act like an indifferent wife. Mortimer’s nephew, Tyrell, meets with Miss Augusta Aubrey at the Bridgemores’ house. Lord Abberville enters to pay her a call; he is in love with her. Lucinda returns home; flustered, Augusta locks Abberville into a bedroom.  Lucinda tells Augusta that she has taken care to inform Mortimer that his nephew wants to marry Augusta, and that the match will never be possible. She realizes that someone is in the bedroom; suspecting it is Tyrell, she threatens to expose Augusta as having a lover in the house. Augusta opens the door to expose Lord Abberville. Lucinda banishes Augusta from the house; Abberville offers her asylum at his house, but Augusta refuses him.

Act II.
Tyrell arrives to see Mortimer; the older man is angry at his nephew for justifying killing a man by arguing that it was the honourable thing to do. However, he offers him lodgings at his home and is interested in meeting Augusta. Tyrell encourages him to make him his heir and rectify the problem of Augusta’s having no fortune. Colin Macleod arrives and gives a report on the doings at Abberville’s: Abberville is gambling away his fortune and has turned to a Jewish creditor to deliver him from his financial peril. However, the creditor is a go-between for Bridgemore, who is acting as Abberville’s usurer. Colin tells Mortimer that the match between Abberville and Lucinda is off. Mortimer asks Colin to bring the Jewish creditor to him. Bridgemore and Dr. Druid discuss their respective philosophies; Druid gives Bridgemore a message from Abberville. After Druid leaves, Lucinda vows revenge on Miss Aubrey for having ended her engagement. The Bridgemore women are angry at Bridgemore for continuing to harbour Miss Aubrey under their roof after the incident of the previous evening. They call her downstairs, but she has already quitted the house. They read a note: realizing that they will make her leave the house and will not be convinced of her innocence, she has left preemptively. A servant comes in and confesses to Lucinda that she eavesdropped on Lord Abberville’s conversation with Augusta, and that the latter is innocent. Lord Abberville arrives and speaks to Lucinda alone. He asks about Augusta’s whereabouts; a spiteful Lucinda tells him that she has probably fled to his house. Tyrell interrupts their conversation; Lucinda acquaints him with the news. Tyrell challenges Lord Abberville to a duel for having ruined Augusta. They agree to meet later that evening.

Act III.
Augusta goes to Mortimer’s to try to find Tyrell. She meets Colin, who offers to carry her letter to Tyrell. She admits to him that she is Miss Aubrey, and reveals that Lord Abberville is the cause of her misfortunes. When she realizes Colin is in Lord Abberville’s employ, he reassures her by saying that he serves the lord, but not his vices. Colin goes to Mrs. Macintosh, a Scotswoman, who agrees to give Augusta sanctuary. Colin gives Mrs. Macintosh money surreptitiously to provide for Augusta’s wants. Mrs. Macintosh reveals that she is not actually Scottish, but that the name has helped her secure business from every Scotsman in town. La Jeunesse tries to convince Abberville to fire Colin, who is too “oeconomique”. Abberville tells Colin that the entire household wants him to quit. Druid arrives, interrupting their conversation. Mrs. Macintosh, actually a notorious madam, sends Abberville a note: a more beautiful girl than “[his] Mrs. Somers” has taken lodging at her house. His creditors arrive; he proceeds to Mrs. Macintosh’s to avoid them. Tyrell arrives to find Abberville gone. Druid tells him where Abberville is. Colin arrives with Augusta’s letter, and tells Tyrell that she is at Mrs. Macintosh’s. Tyrell hastens there, blaming Colin for conspiring with Abberville. He meets Mrs. Macintosh, who refuses to let him see Augusta. Abberville arrives shortly afterwards. Augusta enters and sees the two men. At her insistence, Tyrell refuses to fight with Abberville and says he will quit her forever. Mortimer enters with Colin. Abberville offers Augusta his hand; she refuses him. He leaves her with Mortimer, who says that she is now his ward. She is overwhelmed by his kindness. He says that they will have to correct Tyrell’s conception of what has happened. Colin vows to prove that Mrs. Macintosh is an imposter and not a true Scotchman.

Act IV.
Aubrey, Augusta’s father, arrives at Bridgemore’s after eighteen years’ absence. He meets Colin outside Bridgemore’s house. Colin agrees to conduct Aubrey to his daughter; Aubrey is amazed that Bridgemore has cheated him out of a fortune that he intended for Augusta. Bridgemore and Napthali, the Jewish creditor, meet to discuss Abberville’s fortune. Napthali reveals that Aubrey’s ship, the Sea-Horse, has arrived; Bridgemore is terrified that he will be found out. Colin goes to Bridgemore and tells him that Aubrey is dead. The entire Bridgemore family goes to Mortimer’s. Mortimer has told Tyrell the true story, and Tyrell goes to apologize to Augusta. Aubrey and Mortimer meet; Aubrey tells Mortimer who he is. He has laid a plot with Colin to trick Bridgemore, who believes he is coming to Mortimer’s to meet a person who will give him details of Aubrey’s death, thus permitting Bridgemore to cast Augusta out into the world without any qualms. Tyrell comes in to announce that he intends to ask Augusta to marry him. Aubrey says that if he were Mortimer, he would not consent to the match unless the lady had a fortune. They summon her. Aubrey initially tells her that he is her father’s friend, but eventually says that he is her father. She is overjoyed.

Act V.
Abberville fires Colin, to La Jeunesse’s joy. Napthali goes to Mortimer’s, where he shows them the documents detailing Bridgemore’s financial activities. He discovers that Aubrey is alive. Dr. Druid comes to talk to the foreign traveller. The Bridgemores arrive. Mortimer says that Francis Tyrell and Augusta Aubrey are to be married; Bridgemore does not give Augusta a dowry. Aubrey enters, to Bridgemore’s horror. Aubrey calls him a wretch for having swindled Augusta, but after his daughter entreats him to pity Bridgemore, says he will not expose him to scandal. Aubrey agrees to Tyrell and Augusta’s marriage; Abberville vows to mend his ways and re-hires Colin. Mortimer concludes with an appeal to end prejudice against Scots in England.

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Secondary commentary

A) Joseph J. Keenan Jr., ‘Richard Cumberland: February 19, 1732-May 7, 1811’. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 26 May 2008.
"The Fashionable Lover still possesses an overly complicated plot of coincidence and intrigue. Lord Abberville, the fashionable lover, must learn the true value of human virtue by first falling to a baseness in which he attempts to rape Augusta and in which he gambles to the brink of bankruptcy. The Bridgemores must learn that fraud and cruelty bring true emptiness, and Augusta's virtue must be rewarded with an honest lover, the return of a long-lost father, and a fortune: pure virtue, unmitigated evil, and moral sentiment pervade the whole in a setting as melodramatic, though different, as that of The Brothers. The mysterious seascape (nature's brooding violence) is replaced by the opulence of Lord Abberville's mansion, and the menace of the interior of a house prostitution (the violence of human corruption).
Rape, bankruptcy, and plotted murder underlie the central action of the play, and, whatever comedy there is, is secondary. Cumberland introduces the Welshman, Dr. Druid, to take advantage of a comic stage accent and to point the satire of scientific pedantry. While Cumberland uses the stage Welshman for comic effect, he does present the generous, benevolent Colin Macleod, who challenges the English aversion to Scots. As such he joins Paddy, O'Flaherty, and Belcour as an example of Cumberland's humanitarian crusade against national prejudice. Macleod's integrity and ingenuity eventually lead to the destruction of Bridgemore and the conversion of Lord Abberville, but he is comic in his addiction to Scotland and in his outspoken, openhearted view of the world. He is the element of comic relief, the forerunner of the comic man so much a part of melodrama."

B) Synder, E.D. “The Wild Irish: A Study of Some English Satires against the Irish, Scots, and Welsh.” Modern Philology 17, 12 (1920): 687.

"Still more important is Richard Cumberland’s The Fashionable Lover, with Colin Macleod, who poses as a Scot (though he had once been known as “plain Nan Rawlins of St. Martin’s Parish”), with Mrs. Macintosh, and, best of all with Dr. Druid, the Welsh antiquary. This last play rises considerably above the average mere satire of a type, of which I have noted so many cases, by giving Dr. Druid eccentricities typically Welsh but at the same time individualized" (Synder 709).

[Note: In this, Synder is incorrect; Mrs. Macintosh poses as a Scot, while Colin Macleod is a true Scotsman (and “Nan” is a woman’s name!)]

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

A few characters’ nationalities affect their speech (French, Scottish, Welsh, Jewish); the most prominent examples are Colin Macleod and Doctor Druid.  Abberville speaks with occasional grammatical errors.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Colin Macleod
a. Sample of dialect
[page 1]
Hoot ! fellows, haud your honds: pack up your damn'd clarinets, and gang your gait for a pair of lubberly minstrels as you are. An you cou'd hondle the bagpipe instead, I wou'd na' say you nay: ah! 'tis an auncient instrument of great melody, and has whastled many a braw lad to his grave; but your holidays horns there are fit only to play to a drunken city-barge on a swan-hopping party up the Thames.

b.1 Orthography: “haud your honds”; “na’ say you nay”; “auncient”; “whistled”; “braw”
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: “gang” (Northern)
c. Nationality: Scottish
d. Character profile: a loyal Scottish servant (Abberville says “What a Highland savage it is!”)
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: La Jeunesse
a. Sample of dialect:
[page 1]

La. Jeu.
Fedon, Monsieur Colin, for why you have send away the horns? It is very much the ton in this country for the fine gentlemens to have the horns: upon my vord, my Lord this day give grand entertainment to very grand company; tous les maccaroni below stairs, et toute la coterie above. Hark, who vait dere? My lord ring his bell.---Voi la, Monsieur Colin, dere is all the company going to the tea-room.
b.1 Orthography: “vord” (word); “vait” (wait), “dere” (there)
b.2 Grammar: “for why you have send”; “gentlemens”; “my Lord…give”; “who vait dere”
b.3 Vocabulary: French: “Fedon” (Fais donc?) ; “tous les”; “et toute la coterie”; “Voi la” (voila)
c. Nationality: French
d. Character profile: French servant
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Lord Abberville
a. Sample of dialect:
[page 3]
L. Abb.
A truce, good cynick: pr'ythee now get thee up stairs, and take my place; the ladies will be glad of you at cards.

Me at cards! Me at a quadrille-table! Pent in with fuzzing dowagers, gossiping old maids, and yellow admirals; 'sdeath, my Lord Abberville, you must excuse me.

L. Abb.
Out on thee, unconformable being; thou art a traitor to society.

L. Abb.
Mr. Mortimer, you was my father's executor; I did not know your office extended any further.

b.1 Orthography: “pr’ythee”
b.2 Grammar: inconsistent use of “thou” and “you” (“get thee up stairs” vs. “glad of you”); “you was”
b.3 Vocabulary: “unconformable”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: foppish, immoral nobleman
e. Consistency of representation: inconsistent; mostly StE

Variety: Dr. Druid
a. Sample of dialect
[page 4]
Dr. Druid.
Putterflies! Putterflies in your teeth, Mr. Mortimer. What is the surly-poots prabbling about? Cot give her coot luck; will the man never leave off his flings and his fleers, and his fegaries; packpiting his petters?---Coot, my Lord, let me call him back, and have a little tisputes and tisputations with him, d'ye see.
b.1 Orthography: “Putterflies” (butterflies); “Cot” (God); “coot” (good); “packpiting” (backbiting); “petters” (betters); “tisputes and tisputations” (disputes and disputations)
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: “surly-poots”; “prabbling”; “flings and his fleers, and his fegaries” (? – note that ‘f’ may be a poorly transcribed ‘s’; slings and sleers and his segaries?)
c. Nationality: Welsh
d. Character profile: Welsh travel enthusiast
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Napthali
a. Sample of dialect
[page 42]
[A broker and betray his principal! That's not my vay; there is no senses in that. Here I have make out your account; 'tis var coot bargain I have make considering diamond is a drug.

b.1 Orthography: “vay” (way); “var” (very); “coot” (good)
b.2 Grammar: “there is no senses”; “I have make out”; “I have make”
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English Jew
d. Character profile: Jewish moneylender
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects

Satire of Welsh / Scots speech:

Dr. Druid.
Tutor me truly---talk to me! Pray, Gentlemens, bear witness: is Master Colins here a proper teacher of the dialects, d'ye see, and pronunciations of the English tongue?

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Why not? Is there not Duncan Ross of Aberdeen that lactures twice a week in oratory at the Seven Dials? And does not Sawney Ferguson, a cousin of mine awn, administer the English language in its utmost elegance at Amsterdam?

Dr. Druid.
Bear witness; that is all I say, bear witness.

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Other points of interest

Scottish nationalism in England:
Mrs. Mac.
Another of my Scottish cousins---Oh, this new name of mine is a most thriving invention; a rare device to hook in customers; when I was plain Nan Rawlins of St. Martin's parish, scarce a yard of ferret cou'd I sell to club a prentice's hair on a Sunday morning; now there's not a Knight of the Thistle that does not wear my green paduasoy across his shoulder, nor a Mac passes my shop who does not buy snuff and black ribband of his kinswoman; of such consequence is it to have a good name in this world.

The moral (to eliminate national prejudice):
Come, come, 'tis you that should know better;  in this poor Highlander, the force of prejudice has some plea, because he is a clown; but you, a citizen that should be of the world, whose heart, philosophy and travel, might have open'd, shou'd know better than to join the cry with those, whose charity, like the limitation of a brief, stops short at Berwick, and never circulates beyond the Tweed: By Heaven, I'd rather weed out one such unmanly prejudice from the hearts of my countrymen, than add another Indies to their Empire.

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©2008 Arden Hegele