Collection No. 59: The Maid of Bath, by Samuel Foote

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

Publication details

Author: Foote, Samuel
Author dates: 1720 - 1777
Title: The Maid of Bath

First played: 1771
First published: 1778, for John Wheble. 69p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1778?):

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996):

Genre: Comedy

Character types: Innkeeper; Country; Scottish

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Kitty Linnet is pressured by her parents to marry the elderly Solomon Flint (based on R.B. Sheridan and Elizabeth Linley's story).

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Secondary commentary

A) 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.

"The play is highly topical and was eagerly awaited by the London audience. It is the story of Kitty Linnet, a beautiful young woman whose parents insist on marrying her to the aging but wealthy Solomon Flint. As usual, Foote's dramatic situations reflected contemporary events, in this instance the case of Elizabeth Linley, an actual maid of Bath whose parents attempted a forced match of their daughter with Sir Walter Long, a man old enough to be her grandfather. The Maid of Bath, which opened on 26 June 1771, was an immediate critical and popular success. Its favorable reception was largely attributable to the cause célèbre on which Foote drew, and not on the quality of the play itself. Untouched by the scandal it reports, modern readers find it less remarkable than did Foote's original audience."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Of the minor characters, a native of the area is featured in Act I and a Scotswoman in Act II. Act III has a stage German called Sour Crout.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Bath (Southwestern)
a. Sample of dialect

Enter Fillup.

Why John, Roger, Raphy, Harry Buckle; what a dickens are become of the lads? Can't you hear?---Zure, zure, these whelps are enow to make a man maz'd!

Enter several Waiters .

Coming, Sir.

Coming! ay, zo be Christmass, I think---where be'st thee gwain, boy? What

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I reckon thou ca'st not zee for thy eyes--- here, take the candle, and light the gentlefolk in.
b.1 Orthography: "ca'st not zee"; "Zure, zure" ; "enow"; "maz'd"
b.2 Grammar : "what a dickens" (vs "the dickens"); "where be'st thee gwain" (where are you going)
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: English (Bath)
d. Character profile: innkeeper?
e. Consistency of representation: Consistent

Variety: Scottish – Lady Catharine Coldstream
a. Sample of dialect
La. Cath.
I canna say Mr. Flint is quite an Adonis; but wha is it that in matrimony gets aw they wish? When I intermarried with Sir Launcelot Coldstream, I was een sik a spree lass as yoursel; and the baronet bordering upon his grand climacteric; you mun ken, Miss, my father was so unsaucy as to gang out with Charley in the forty-five. After which, his fidelity was rewarded in France by a commission that did na bring in a bawbee, and a pension that he never was paid.

b.1 Orthography: indicates Scottish pronunciation
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: Scottish words (e.g. gang, ken)
c. Nationality: Scottish
d. Character profile: Scottish noblewoman
e. Consistency of representation: fairly consistent

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects


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Other points of interest

Satirizes Elizabeth Linley's elopement with Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

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©2008 Arden Hegele