Collection No. 35: The Walloons, by Richard Cumberland

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

Publication details

Author: Cumberland, Richard
Author dates: 1732-1811
Title: The Walloons

First played: 1782
First published: 1813, in The Posthumous Dramatick Works of the Late Richard Cumberland. In two volumes. London: Printed for G. and W. Nicol ... by W. Bulmer [etc.] 2 v.
C18th availability: Not available

Modern availability: Available from LION (1997)

Genre: Comedy

Character types: Irish; Servant; Nautical

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Lady Dangle's bigamy is exposed; Father Sullivan and Daggerly, two French spies, are apprehended. Agnes Dangle marries Montgomery, a Catholic Englishman forced to serve in the Spanish army.

Act I.
Lady Dangle confesses to Father Sullivan that she is a bigamist; she has been married to Sir Solomon Dangle in the Church of England and Drelincourt in the Catholic Church. Lady Dangle threatens to expose Father Sullivan as a foreign spy if he reports her bigamy, but the priest reminds her that all the incriminating copied documents are in her handwriting. Lady Dangle has received a letter from Drelincourt, her Catholic husband, who has joined the Spanish service; the couple is to be separated for life. Father Sullivan encourages her to convince Sir Solomon to marry his daughter Agnes to Lady Dangle’s nephew Patrick. A letter arrives from Daggerly; he invites himself to the Dangles’ and mentions that a Spanish ship, on which Sir Solomon’s son David once served, has recently arrived from Cadiz. Mrs. Partlett, Tipple and Joyce discuss the Dangles’ marriage; since Sir Solomon married “the whore of Babylon”, he (and his household!) has not enjoyed a moment’s peace. The nautically-speaking Davy Dangle returns, to the servants’ joy. Mrs. Partlett tells Davy about his father’s marriage to a Catholic lady who keeps a lazy friar about the house and who has turned the billiard-room into a chapel. Davy’s sister Agnes is supposed to marry Pat Carey; Mrs. Partlett tells Davy that it will be a very undesirable match as Pat Carey is “a tadpole of a fellow with a head like a moon-lanthorn”. Sir Solomon, Lady Dangle and Father Sullivan take a walk through the grounds. Lady Dangle suggests many “improvements”, paining Sir Solomon and his purse. Davy learns how his father met and married Lady Dangle (he roomed at her inn in Lisbon; she spoke English and he did not speak Portuguese). Daggerly and his niece Kitty Carrington enter; they have journeyed by coach from London. After introductions all around, the group separates.  Father Sullivan asks Daggerly why he travels with a girl; Daggerly tells him that she is indispensable for fooling gullible people, as no one suspects him of any misdeeds if he has a seemingly innocent girl on his arm. Father Sullivan disagrees, saying that a girl is liable to bring more trouble than she is worth.

Act II.
Davy and Agnes reunite joyfully. Davy brings Agnes a love-letter from Montgomery. Agnes loves Montgomery, but cannot marry him; she is not disturbed by his disinheritance or his religion (Catholicism), but she refuses to marry a man who is enlisted in the service of an enemy country (Spain). Pat Carey enters; Agnes and Davy tease him for reading Thomas Aquinas. They agree to defend Pat from Father Sullivan’s wrath. Agnes goes to play piano at her father’s bidding. A bored Kitty Carrington enters; Davy suggests that she be his mistress and Pat Carey’s wife; Carey agrees to this proposition. Kitty confesses that she is not really Daggerly’s niece; she wants to play a trick on him. Carey is puzzled that when he put a hedgehog into Sullivan’s bed, the chambermaid had a sore foot for a fortnight while the friar showed no signs of injury. The three go to ‘hatch mischief’. Daggerly confers with Father Sullivan; the former has met some Catholic Englishmen serving in the Spanish army who might help them set fire to the shipping. Father Sullivan does not trust Catholic Englishmen, however, as he fears that they are patriotic to England despite their religious alliance with Spain. The two men fight. Hearing their shouting, Lady Dangle enters; Father Sullivan tells her that Daggerly was retelling the story of his journey. Agnes arranges to meet Montgomery in the garden. Montgomery is a prisoner of war; he describes how he was forced into Spanish service because of his destitution. When Montgomery tells Agnes that he spared Davy’s life, she blesses him. Montgomery informs Agnes that Daggerly is a traitor, and that he has a plan with Don Vincente (another exiled Englishman) to apprehend him at daybreak. Agnes applauds Montgomery’s patriotism to England and laments that the country does not let Catholics serve in its army. Agnes confesses her love to an overjoyed Montgomery. Montgomery warns Agnes not to trust Father Sullivan. Davy, Pat and Kitty drink together; Kitty implores Pat to sing her a nautical song. Father Sullivan tries to enter the room; they clear the glasses away hastily. Father Sullivan reprimands Pat, who tells him to follow Thomas Aquinas out the window. Father Sullivan knocks Pat out of his chair; Lady Dangle enters and douses her nephew with lavender water. The servants swear that they have had nothing to drink. Lady Dangle fires Father Sullivan and tells Kitty that she must behave more appropriately if she wants to continue to stay in the house. Father Sullivan proposes that Kitty come away with him.

Act III.
Father Sullivan makes amends with Daggerly by overpaying a bill that he owes him. Daggerly tells him that he has made a plan with Montgomery and Drelincourt, the two Catholic Englishmen. Father Sullivan urges Daggerly to write out their conversation. Father Sullivan realizes that Drelincourt is Lady Dangle’s second husband. Father Sullivan tells Lady Dangle that her husband Drelincourt has been captured. Lady Dangle urges Father Sullivan not to divulge her double marriage; only he has the proofs thereof. To guarantee his silence, Lady Dangle gives him money for a journey to France. Sir Solomon and David enter to ask Lady Dangle if they may invite Montgomery and Drelincourt to dinner. When Lady Dangle refuses to accommodate the visitors, Sir Solomon gets angry at her for turning “Christmas into Lent” by making alterations to his home. Davy tells Sir Solomon that Agnes loves Montgomery; however, Sir Solomon objects to him on the grounds of his poverty and his Catholicism (qualities shared with Lady Dangle). For a lark, Pat and Kitty make an arrangement to run off together to get married in Scotland.

Act IV.
Daggerly has second thoughts about setting fire to the ships; he was to have done so at one time in France on Britain’s behalf, but the British government did not permit it. Father Sullivan tells him that his “conscience” is really cowardice. Knowing that Montgomery and Drelincourt, the eponymous Walloons, will foil the plot, Father Sullivan says that he will turn Daggerly in to save his own neck. Lady Dangle comes in with money; she gives it to Father Sullivan in exchange for his promise to quit England the following day. Sir Solomon tells Father Sullivan that he cannot cope with his wife; he is dismayed to discover that Father Sullivan intends to leave for France the next day. Father Sullivan breaks his confession oath and tells Sir Solomon that Lady Dangle has another husband living (Drelincourt) and that Daggerly is a traitor. Sir Solomon is shocked by all of this; Sullivan tells him to issue a warrant for Daggerly’s arrest immediately. Davy tells Pat that he is stupid to want to elope with a “salt eel” better than with “fresh provisions” (an underhanded comment on Kitty’s supposed virginity), but that he will lend Kitty his sailor’s kit. Montgomery enters to report that Davy has been promoted to Lieutenant and that Montgomery will renounce all ties with the Spanish army. Daggerly tries to repent for his crimes by confessing them to God. Father Sullivan interrupts him by knocking at the door. Daggerly says that he is tormented by the thought of what they plan to do; Sullivan says that it would be better if he were to take his own life. Sullivan summons hidden soldiers, who arrest Daggerly. Daggerly goes off saying that the goals of France (for which Sullivan is an agent) have been thwarted, so at least he will die knowing that he has served his country somehow.

Act V.
Montgomery tells Agnes that he has inherited a valuable property and that he and Drelincourt have been reinstated as British citizens. Agnes confesses that she always loved Montgomery and would have married him at any time if he were not fighting against his own country. They agree to be married as soon as possible. Overcome with emotion, Agnes leaves. Montgomery starts to cry for joy in front of Drelincourt. Father Sullivan sees Kitty and Pat elope; he interrupts them to say that he must take their post-chaise, and offers Kitty a place therein. She goes with him, leaving a disconsolate Pat behind. Pat asks Davy to go with him to recover her; Davy does not value the girl, but goes to get his uniform back. Sir Solomon welcomes Drelincourt to his home; they commiserate about their awful wives. Drelincourt sees Lady Dangle, recognizes her as his own wife, and says that honour obliges him to take her off Sir Solomon’s hands. Drelincourt will abandon Lady Dangle in a convent in Lisbon. Sir Solomon is overjoyed. Agnes and Montgomery enter; Sir Solomon happily agrees to the match, saying that he would have done so even when Montgomery had no fortune. Father Sullivan and Kitty Carrington are caught. Pat Carey flees his angry aunt. Drelincourt and Sir Solomon meet Lady Dangle; after appealing in vain to Sir Solomon, she must be contented with returning to her first husband. He tells her that Father Sullivan has exposed her criminal involvement. Father Sullivan is brought in under arrest; knowing he was part of the plot, Drelincourt gave orders to apprehend him. Montgomery, Agnes and Davy re-enter. They all express joy at the upcoming marriage, and hope that England will permit her Catholic residents to be full citizens.

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Secondary commentary

A) Sherbo, Arthur.  ‘Cumberland, Richard (1732–1811)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 26 May 2008.

"The Walloons, performed on 20 April 1782, grew out of Cumberland's experiences in Spain and owed what success it had to the actor John Henderson, for whom the part of the principal character, Father Sullivan, was created. The public was unenthusiastic, and Cumberland, hoping to benefit financially, was disappointed."

B) 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 Walloons is most patriotic, reflecting Cumberland's own disappointment only in the failure of England to appreciate fully the loyalty of its sons. Written at the request of John Henderson, an excellent actor in search of a "fine bald-faced villain," The Walloons offered him Father Sullivan, a priest who breaks the seal of confession, practices extortion, moves to betray English military secrets to the Spanish, and finally betrays his fellow conspirators. In the end all of his machinations are discovered, and he goes off to execution without the slightest repentance. In contrast to Father Sullivan are Montgomery and Drelincourt, both Catholic, who serve with Spain against England only because English anti-Catholicism will not allow them in the English service. Their true patriotism, however, is never in question, and for their refusal to carry out Father Sullivan's plan, poetic justice smiles on them when the king in his mercy restores their estates and accepts them as full-privileged citizens."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Many varieties, including nautical language (Davy Dangle), Irish-Catholic vocabulary, false superlatives (“familiarest”, “completest”), inconsistent “you” / “thou”, and Latin vocabulary.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Father Sullivan (Irish-Catholic priest)
a. Sample of dialect
[page 78]
Father S.
But you may tumble upon it in the Statutes, you may read it in the black letter, and a Chancery decree is as hard of digestion as the tables of stone.---You talk to me as if I was not privy to your marriage in Portugal; not content with being Mrs. Drelincourt there, you must be Lady Dangle here, and lead your poor Sir Solomon in a noose up and down this mansion at pleasure. The Church of Rome put one string to your bow, and the Church of England put another.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: “as if I was” (vs. “were”)
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: Irish
d. Character profile: Irish-Catholic priest working as a spy for the French
e. Consistency of representation: few Irish idioms

Variety: Sir Solomon’s servants
a. Sample of dialect
[page 82 ]

What though he was a little unlucky, and run from school, and wouldn't take to his book learning, he was sharp enough at other matters; there wasn't a hound in the pack, nor a whelp in the kennel, but he knew his tongue as well as if he had been his feeder.

He was always at his gambols in the kitchen, or in the pantry, or the servants' hall; the familiarest creature in life; always on his tricks with the maids, or the justice folks, or his worship himself.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: “though he…run” (ran); “there wasn’t…but”
b.3 Vocabulary: “What though” (although); “familiarest”; “justice folks” (?)
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: servants
e. Consistency of representation: this example only

Variety: Davy Dangle
a. Sample of dialect
[page 82]
Heave off your grappling hooks, and give me sea room---veer away more cable, old girl, and let me swing---How is it, friend Tipple? Ah, Joyce, we have an entapis once again after [50]  a plaguy long chase.

Seventeen leagues and a half by the log; Cape Finisterre bearing east, north-east, and by east, upon the weather bow, when we first set top gallants to give chase to the Spaniard.

Why, who's talking of the Spaniard, lubber? what tack are your wits upon now, Bumboat? we are come to an anchor, and your small venture

[page 83 ]

of brains is out upon a cruise. Come, down with your trumpery---lower away handsome---How does father do, I ask you? what cheer over head? where's sister Agnes? shew that fellow to a warm birth by the kitchen fire, I'll rig myself in the galley, I've a better jacket in the bundle. Go along, Bumboat, and make ready.

b.1 Orthography: “birth” (berth)
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: Nautical: “Heave off your grappling hooks”; “sea room”; “veer away more cable”; “entapis” (enterprise?); “lubber”; “what tack”; “come to an anchor”; “out upon a cruise”; “lower away”; “a warm birth” (berth);  “rig myself in the galley”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: naval officer; son of an English lord
e. Consistency of representation: very consistent!

Variety: Sir Solmon Dangle
a. Sample of dialect
[page 87]
Sir S.
A trifle! nothing but my son come home after three years absence, the heir apparent of this crooked old castle; 'twill serve him for ballast upon his next voyage; he won't find a hovel on his estate to shelter a cow, when your ladyship has finish'd your improvements of it;---o'my conscience I believe I shall volunteer the next trip with him myself,---Your ladyship has turn'd my beds into hammocks, 'tis only changing my parlour for a cabin, and the thing is done.

Enter Davy .


Sir S.
Davy! my son Davy! how dost thou, my brave boy?

[page 146]

Sir S.
Infandum Regina, jubes renovare dolorem. Married her in Portugal, a plague upon all warm climates and blue skies; the pure air [250]  of Lisbon put the freak into my head, and the fogs of England put it out again, with repentance in its stead.
[page 149]
Sir S.
Why you was not going to elope, sirrah, was you?

b.1 Orthography: “’twill”; “’tis”; “o’my”
b.2 Grammar: “nothing but my son come home”; inconsistent use of “thou” / “you” (addresses Lady D. as “you” and his son as “thou”); “you was…was you?”
b.3 Vocabulary: Latin: “Infandum Regina, jubes renovare dolorum”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: English lord
e. Consistency of representation: inconsistent “you” / “thou”; Latin only in this instance

Variety: Patrick Carey
a. Sample of dialect
[page 95]
Not I, I never had nothing to say to none of them; but if you must know, 'tis a Thomas Aquinas, burst it, I've a whole page to get by heart before vespers: I would it was in the fire for me.

Give me, and I'll heave it overboard in a hurry; there it goes; he never took such a jump in his life.

The lud ha' mercy on my poor bones; they'll rattle for this.

Never fear, my stout fellow, I'll stand by you---What, 'tis time to ha' done being a school-boy. Snap your fingers at daddy Sullivan; value him not a rope's end.

Aye but it's a godly book, and it's a sin for to throw it out of the window.

b.1 Orthography: “the lud ha’ mercy”
b.2 Grammar: “never had nothing to say to none”; “a sin for to throw”
b.3 Vocabulary: “burst it”; “I would” (I wish)
c. Nationality: Irish
d. Character profile: Irish-Catholic nephew to Lady Dangle (married into nobility)
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Kitty Carrington  
a. Sample of dialect
[page 96]
By my faith I'm glad I've found you: never was so tir'd in my born days: mercy be good unto me, what a stiff starch'd piece of formality this lady of yours is! Why I had quite and clean other notions of the country, than I find it: I thought it was all joy and jollity, that you all talk'd and laugh'd, and drank at one and the same time; that your dinners consisted of

[page 97 ]

roast beef, fat turkies and plum-puddings, with buckets of beer, and bowls of punch I could swim in---that a country squire was a sleek, rosy, round-fac'd man, sitting in his elbow chair, with his family about him, smother'd in the smoke of his tobacco pipe; but I find it clear another case; my lady as prim as if she was sitting for her picture---Sir Solomon as melancholy as a moulting chicken, and every body in the dumps, and the country the completest bore in the universe.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: “as prim as if she was” (vs. “were”)
b.3 Vocabulary: “mercy be good unto me” (extended form of “mercy on me!”?); “completest”; “clean” / “clear” (used as adverb to mean “entirely”)
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: supposedly Daggerly's innocent niece, but really a prostitute
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Daggerly
a. Sample of dialect
[page 100]
Dag. Don't provoke me, Sullivan, your life is in my power; and if it were not for that cloak thou hast borrowed of religion, I'd drag thee by the throat to the gallows, thou Jesuit in the frock of a friar.
b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: inconsistent use of “thou” / “you”
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: criminal with a conscience
e. Consistency of representation: inconsistent

Variety: Agnes
a. Sample of dialect
[page 105]

O England! England! when wilt thou awake from this unnatural lethargy!

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar: apostrophe: use of “thou”
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: daughter of a nobleman
e. Consistency of representation: this instance only

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects

[page 144]
The murrain go along with you for an old mischief-making interloper, and the pestilence to boot! ah, master Davy, I'm rejoic'd to see you; for the love of good-fellowship, make after that wicked priest, and recover Kitty from his clutches.

Enter Davy with Bumboat , &c.

Heyday, you are beside yourself; speak in plain English.

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Other points of interest


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