Collection No. 51: The Englishman Return'd from Paris, by Samuel Foote

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

Publication details

Author: Foote, Samuel
Author dates: 1720 - 1777
Title: The Englishman Return’d from Paris

First played: 1756
First published: 1756, for Paul Vaillant. 56 p.

C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1756):

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996):

Genre: Comedy / Farce

Trend(s): Nationality; Popularity

Character types: French; Legal; Scottish

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Buck has adopted French mannerisms. He suggests that his fiancée Lucinda become his mistress, to her horror. Lucinda pretends to poison Buck's tea as vengeance.

Prologue: reintroduces Buck: “Tho’ to be born a Briton is his crime / He’s manufactured in another clime”

Act I.
Mr. Crab, executor for the recently deceased John Buck’s will, laments his responsibility to care for the Buck family. Mr. Latitat, an attorney, arrives. Latitat’s legal jargon confuses Crab, who despises the law. Crab sees Latitat out. Buck has been delayed at Calais, but his Scottish tutor Macruthen arrives. Crab offends Macruthen by suggesting he has been pimping for Buck. Macruthen suggests that they swindle Buck’s money; furious, Crab makes a jibe at Scots, then dismisses him: “Guilt and Confusion choak thy Utterance. Avoid my Sight. Vanish.” Lucinda arrives and asks Crab for advice on whether to marry Buck. News comes that Buck’s coach has been wrecked, but he, “swear[ing] like a Trooper”, arrives on foot. As Classic predicted in The Englishman in Paris, upon his return to England, Buck has adopted French affectations:

Who, I. Damn your Premises, and Conclusions too. But this I conclude, from what I have seen, my dear, that the French are the first People in the Universe; that in the Arts of living, they do or ought to give Laws to the whole World, and that whosoever wou'd either eat, drink, dress, dance, fight, sing or even sneeze, avec Elegance , must go to Paris , to learn it. This is my Creed (22).

Buck’s friend Lord John philosophizes about the need for exclusive national identities. Buck banters with Crab, demonstrating how he has been changed by France. Crab reveals that Lucinda will forego £15,000 of her fortune if she marries Buck (she will be left with £5,000). Buck leaves to change before seeing Lucinda; Lucinda and Lord John discuss Buck. Crab summons Lucinda to the library.

Act II.
While at his toilette, Buck reveals to Lord John that he does not intend to become a “happy husband.” Buck’s friends Racket and Tallyhoe arrive, and are taken aback by his transformation. Buck and Lucinda meet, and discuss the lack of entertainment in London (Foote’s satire on the popularity of Italian opera and Voltaire’s appellation of the major works of Shakespeare as “monstrous farces”). Buck has written a French play and recites some lines. Crab and Lord John leave, and Buck proposes that Lucinda marry Lord John and become his mistress so the two can share the entirety of her fortune. Lucinda is horrified and chastises him. Buck leaves; Lord John and Crab have overheard their conversation, and agree to help Lucinda in her plan to take revenge on Buck. They have another private meeting, and she serves him English tea, which he accepts. She bids him goodbye, then reveals she has poisoned the tea: they are both about to die. Buck flees the room in a panic. Crab makes Buck promise to release Lucinda with her fortune, to abandon his French fopperies, and to send away his French servants. After this promise has been secured, Buck learns that the tea was not poisoned. Crab waxes poetic about the virtue of Britain.

Epilogue: Mrs. Bellamy (Lucinda) pleads in verse for the audience’s approbation.

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Secondary commentary

A) Dircks, Phyllis T. ‘Foote, Samuel (bap. 1721, d. 1777)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 26 May 2008.

"[On] 3 February 1756 he brought out The Englishman Return'd from Paris, a sequel to his Englishman in Paris, having stolen the idea from Arthur Murphy, who had confided in him that he was working on such a play."

B) Howard, Douglas. ‘Samuel Foote: January, 1721-October 21, 1777.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 26 May 2008.

"During the summer of 1755, Foote encouraged Arthur Murphy in the latter's plan to write a sequel to The Englishman in Paris. Inspired by Murphy's idea, however, Foote secretly wrote his own sequel, The Englishman Return'd from Paris, which opened at Covent Garden on 3 February 1756, two months before Murphy's play. Early biographers insisted that Foote plagiarized wholesale from Murphy's work, but the discovery of Murphy's Englishman from Paris in the Newberry Library, and its publication in 1969 by the Augustan Reprint Society, put such accusations to rest. Foote was certainly duplicitous in simultaneously encouraging and competing with Murphy, but he did not steal Murphy's material, and his own play is clearly superior. In fact, Foote's foppish Buck and wily Lucinda were more successful in this play than in the original. The Englishman Returned saw nineteen performances by the end of its first season, and it was acted regularly at Covent Garden until 1760."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

The Englishman Returned from Paris is an amusing contrast to The Englishman in Paris. As in its predecessor, this play uses Franglais to signify the adoption of loose French morals and devious activities, most strikingly portrayed in Buck’s transformation. In this play, however, Standard English, spoken by Lucinda, Lord John, and Crab, is a sign of integrity. Latitat’s legal jargon and Macruthen’s strong Scottish accent satirize lawyers and Scots.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Latitat’s legal jargon
a. Sample of dialect

[page 10]
Lat. I wou'd, Mr. Crab , have attended your Summons immediately, but I was oblig'd to sign Judgment, in Error at the Common Pleas; sue out of the Exchequer a Writ of Quæ minus , and surrender in Banco Regis the Defendant, before the Return of the Sci fa , to discharge the Bail.

Crab. Pr'ythee, Man, none of thy unintelligible Law Jargon to me, but tell me in the Language of common Sense, and thy Country, what I am to do.

Lat. Why, Mr. Crab , as you are already possess'd of a Probat , and Letters of Administration de Bonis , are granted, you may sue, or be sued; I hold it sound Doctrine, for no Executor to discharge Debts, without a Receipt upon Record: This can be obtain'd by no Means, but by an Action. Now Actions, Sir, are of various Kinds: There are special Actions, Actions on the Case, or Assumpsit's ; Actions of Trover, Actions of Clausum fregit , Actions of Battery, Actions of---

Crab. Hey, the Devil, where's the Fellow running now?---But heark'ee, Latitat , why I thought all our Law Proceedings were directed [50]  to be in English .

Lat. True, Mr. Crab .

Crab. And what do you call all this Stuff, ha!

Lat. English .

Crab. The Devil you do.

Lat. Vernacular, upon my Honour, Mr. Crab.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: Legal: summons, judgment, error, writ; defendant, bail; Latin: quae minus, banco regis, sci fa; de bonis; clausum fregit, etc.
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: lawyer
e. Consistency of representation; consistent

Variety: Macruthen’s Scottish dialect
a. Sample of dialect
[page 14]
O, the young Baronet is o'the Road. I was mighty afraid he had o'rta'en me; for between Canterbury and Rochester , I was stopt, and robb'd by a High-way-man.
b.1 Orthography: "o'the"; "o'rta'en"; "High-way-man"
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: Scottish
d. Character profile: Scottish servant
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Buck’s affected French.
a. Sample of dialect
[page 20]
Not a Word, mi Lor, jernie , it is not to be supported!---after being rompu tout vif , disjointed by their execrable Pavé , to be tumbled into a Kennel, by a filthy Charbonier ; a dirty Retailer of Sea-coal, morbleu !

[page 28]
And first for the great Pleasure of Life, the Pleasure of the Table: Ah, quelle Difference ! The Ease, the Wit, the Wine, the Badinage , the Perciflage , the double Entendre , the Chansons à boire , Oh, what delicious Moments have I pass'd chez Madame la Duchesse de Barbouliac .

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: Suffused with French words; a sign of Buck’s foppish affectation (quelle difference, rompu tout vif, pave, charbonier, morbleu!, etc)
c. Nationality: English, but strives to be French
d. Character profile: the eponymous Englishman Return'd from Paris
e. Consistency of representation: Fairly consistent

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects

On legal jargon:

[page 10]
And what do you call all this Stuff, ha!
English .
The Devil you do.
Vernacular, upon my Honour, Mr. Crab.

On Buck's French accent:

[page 15]
But as to the Language, I suppose, he's a perfect Master of that.
He can caw for aught that he need, but he is na quite Maister of the Accent.
A most astonishing Progress!

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Other points of interest


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©2008 Arden Hegele