Collection No. 85: A Trip to Scarborough, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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

Publication details

Author: Sheridan, Richard Brinsley
Author dates: 1751-1816
Title: A Trip to Scarborough

First played: 1777
First published: 1781, for G. Wilkie [etc.] 104 p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1781)

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996)

Genre: Comedy

Character types: French; Sophisticated; Servant; Country

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Lord Foppington has cut off his younger brother Young Fashion. In order to avenge himself, Young Fashion decides to marry Lord Foppington's fiancée, Miss Tunbelly, which he does successfully. Colonel Townly tries to seduce Amanda Loveless to spite his lover Berinthia, while Amanda's husband Loveless is extremely taken with Berinthia. This love quadrangle is eventually resolved. Lord Foppington is made to look sheepish as everyone takes him for an imposter.

Act I.
Young Fashion and Lory are traveling to Scarborough for Lord Foppington’s wedding. They are broke and cannot even pay the postilion carrying their portmanteau. Lory pleads with Young Fashion to go and ask his older brother Lord Foppington for money. Young Fashion says that to get money he’d have to cut his brother’s throat. Lory threatens to leave. They meet Colonel Townly, who describes Foppington’s bride-to-be as a cloistered heiress, and who says that he is trying to win Loveless’ wife Amanda’s affections to spite Berinthia, the “sprightly widow” whom he loves. Foppington is also Amanda’s admirer; to better seduce her, he hires many servants to improve his appearance. Young Fashion and Lory see Foppington grooming himself to meet Amanda, to their disgust. Young Fashion is virtually ignored by his brother, who says that he is too unsophisticated to eat with his own friends. Madam Coupler enters; Lory and Young Fashion induce her to participate in their scheme to bring Foppington down. In exchange for five thousand pounds, Coupler offers to bring Young Fashion instead of Foppington as the young heiress’ suitor. Young Fashion agrees (although he will owe her a debt), but is first resolved to sound his brother out before taking his place in the courtship.

Act II.
Loveless and Amanda discuss the theatre; Loveless saw a beautiful girl at a play the night before, but cannot tell Amanda her name or her place of residence. Berinthia, Amanda’s visiting relative, enters; she is the woman Loveless saw at the play!  Lord Foppington is announced. He discusses reading and the opera with Amanda; she sees he is a cultureless fool but encourages him to continue talking. Sotto voce, he tells her that he loves her; she boxes his ears. Loveless challenges him and they fight. Loveless wounds Foppington; a doctor enters and pronounces it a scratch but humours Foppington, who thinks he is dying. Probe, the doctor, takes Foppington back to his apartment in order to “bubble him out of his money”. Colonel Townly enters and asks about Foppington’s wound. He tells the Lovelesses of Fashion’s plan to prevent Foppington’s marriage; they agree to help him. Amanda asks Loveless what he thinks of her cousin; although he finds her very attractive, he tells his wife that he loves her most of any of her kinswomen. Reassured, Amanda asks Berinthia to live with her. Amanda confesses that Townly has been paying her addresses, to Berinthia’s indignation. Berinthia is resolved to try to seduce Loveless.

Act III.
Lord Foppington tells La Varole that he intends to pay court on his intended bride. Fashion arrives and asks his brother for five hundred pounds; he has mortgaged his income, has been forced to spend the money he received from the mortgage, and faces bankruptcy. Lord Foppington refuses to give him the money, and says that Nature has created him better-looking than his younger brother. Fashion tries to fight him but Foppington leaves without drawing. Fashion is no longer uncertain about taking his brother’s place as the heiress’ suitor. Berinthia and Loveless flirt. Townly enters just after Loveless has kissed Berinthia; he jealously asks her why she has granted her friend’s husband this favour while treating him -- her faithful lover -- with coldness. Piqued, Berinthia replies that he deserves as much for having flirted with a married woman. Berinthia tells Amanda that her husband fell in love at the play; when Amanda asks her how she knows this, Berinthia hastily replies that Townly told her. Young Fashion and Lory go to pay call on the heiress; the gates of the house are secured and the servants threaten them. Finally, her father, Sir Tunbelly Clumsey, arrives to speak with them. Initially gruff and dismissive, he alters his demeanour entirely when he realizes that Fashion ‘is’ Lord Foppington. Miss Hoyden, the heiress, waits for her betrothed’s arrival. The Nurse announces that her betrothed has arrived.

Act IV.
Miss Hoyden is more taken with the prospect of being a lady than with her fiancé. The Nurse agrees to leave them alone together. Young Fashion tells Miss Hoyden that they must get the Nurse to agree to their marriage the next morning. Lory intercepts a letter from “the enemy” announcing Foppington’s approach. The Nurse agrees to let them be married that very evening, at Young Fashion’s request. Berinthia tells Amanda that she has no right to complain about her husband’s misplaced affections while she continues to indulge Townly. The latter arrives to say that they are all to dine at Sir Tunbelly Clumsy’s that evening. Loveless approaches Berinthia in her dressing-chamber as she writes letters. Berinthia repulses all his advances but agrees to talk with him in the garden that evening before they go to Sir Tunbelly’s. Hearing Amanda enter, Loveless hides in the closet. Amanda tells Berinthia that Townly has renewed his suit. Loveless overhears this and reflects on his own conduct.

Act V.
Loveless pleads with Berinthia to match his love; she tells him that she no longer wishes to speak with him. Amanda and Townly enter the garden, and Loveless and Berinthia hide. Townly tells Amanda that Berinthia has seduced Loveless. Amanda refuses to believe him. Loveless is chastened, and Berinthia reveals that Townly has only begun to pursue Amanda as a means of piquing his real mistress. Lory tells Young Fashion that his brother is at the gate, and that Sir Tunbelly is denying him entry as he believes him to be an imposter. Young Fashion and Miss Hoyden are already married, however. Sir Tunbelly brings in Lord Foppington, who has been disarmed, and questions him. Sir Tunbelly believes that Foppington is mad. Young Fashion enters and all are scandalized when Foppington calls him ‘Tam’.  Foppington asks Young Fashion to let him have the girl in exchange for five thousand pounds; Young Fashion refuses him. Loveless, Townly, Amanda and Berinthia arrive; Foppington seizes the chance to have them confirm his identity, but they are aware of the plot and call him an imposter. More acquaintances arrive; seeing that he will be exposed, Young Fashion admits that he is Lord Foppington’s brother, to Sir Tunbelly’s fury. However, the description of Foppington’s recent activities (including being stabbed for taking liberties with Amanda) rouses Sir Tunbelly’s wrath; Townly’s approbation of Young Fashion’s character encourages Sir Tunbelly to accept him as his son-in-law. Sir Tunbelly agrees to give the young couple enough money to live on and they have the wedding party. Foppington leaves in disgrace.

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Secondary commentary

A) Jeffares, A. Norman. ‘Sheridan, Richard Brinsley (1751–1816)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 29 May 2008.

"On 21 September 1776 Drury Lane opened under Sheridan's management. He staged three revised versions of Congreve's comedies and rewrote Vanbrugh's The Relapse as A Trip to Scarborough (staged on 24 February 1777), giving it ‘a little wholesome pruning’ (R. B. Sheridan, A Trip to Scarborough, II.i)."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Some language variation occurs among the servants: the fashionable Foppington’s valet is French, Sir Tunbelly’s servant speaks archaically (or is perhaps Welsh?), and the Nurse uses “you” and “thou” inconsistently. Foppington’s language is marked by his frequent interjection of “stap my vitals!”. He speaks with an accent (“Tam” (Tom), “jedge” (judge) etc), and uses “thou/thee” consistently. The inexperienced and uncultured Miss Hoyden speaks rustically.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: La Varole
a. Sample of dialect
[page 9]
La Varole.
Mi Lor, de shoemaker, de taylor, de hosier, de sempstress, de peru, be all ready, if your lordship please to dress.

b.1 Orthography: “Mi Lor”; “taylor”; “sempstress”; “peru”
b.2 Grammar: “de shoemaker…be all ready”; “if your lordship please to dress”
b.3 Vocabulary
c. Nationality: French
d. Character profile: French valet
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Lord Foppington
a. Sample of dialect
[page 14]

Ld. Foppington.
As Gad shall jedge me, I can't tell, for it is passible I may dine with some friends at Donner's.

[Page 15 ]

Y. Fashion.
Shall I meet you there? for I must needs talk with you.

Ld. Foppington.
That I'm afraid may'nt be quite so praper;--- for those I commonly eat with are a people of nice [150]  conversation; and you know, Tam, your education has been a little at large---but there are other ordinaries in town---very good beef ordinaries---I suppose, Tam, you can eat beef?---However, dear Tam, I'm glad to see thee in England, stap my vitals!  


[page 32]
Ld. Foppington.
Dear Loveless, adieu: if I die, I forgive thee; and if I live, I hope thou wilt do as much by me.---I am sorry you and I should quarrel, but I hope here's an end on't; for if you are satisfied, I am.

b.1 Orthography: “Gad”; “jedge”; “passible”; “praper”; “Tam”; “stap” (stop)
b.2 Grammar: “thee”; “thou wilt”
b.3 Vocabulary: “stap my vitals!”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: affected, sophisticated nobleman; cuts off his younger brother
e. Consistency of representation: accent somewhat consistent; “stap my vitals!” very consistent

Variety: Sir Tunbelly’s servant
a. Sample of dialect:
[page 57]
Why look you d'ye see, with good words much may be done.---Ralph, go thy waes, and ask Sir Tunbelly if he pleases to be waited upon---and dost hear? call to nurse that she may lock up Miss Hoyden before the geats open.

b.1 Orthography: “waes” (ways); “geats” (gates)
b.2 Grammar: inconsistent you/thou
b.3 Vocabulary: “look you” (Welsh)?
c. Nationality: English (Welsh idiom?)
d. Character profile: servant
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Miss Hoyden
a. Sample of dialect
[page 60]
Sure, nobody was ever used as I am. I know well enough what other girls do, for all they think to make a fool of me. It's well I have a husband a-coming, or I'cod I'd marry the baker, I would so.---Nobody can knock at the gate, but presently I must be lock'd up---and here's the young greyhound can run loose about the house all the day long, so she can.---'Tis very well--- ( Nurse , without opening the door.)

Miss Hoyden, Miss, Miss, Miss, Miss Hoyden!

(Enter Nurse .)

Well, what do you make such a noise for, ha? ---what do you din a body's ears for?---can't one be at quiet for you?

b.1 Orthography: “I’cod”
b.2 Grammar: “a-coming”; treats “din” like a verb; “to be at quiet” (irregular); “here’s the young greyhound can run”
b.3 Vocabulary: “Sure”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: Miss Hoyden has been kept at home for many years; her language portrays her as a rustic
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

Variety: Nurse
a. Sample of dialect
[page 63]
Ah, my dearest, he deceives thee fouly, and he's no better than a rogue for his pains. These Londoners have got a gibberage with 'em, would confound a gipsey. That which they call pin-money, is to buy their wives every thing in the versal world, down to their very shoe-knots.--- Nay, I have heard folks say, that some ladies, if they will have gallants, as they call 'em, are forced to find them out of their pin-money too. But, look, look, if his Honor be not coming to you.---Now, if I were sure you would behave yourself handsomely, and not disgrace me that have brought you up, I'd leave you alone together.
b.1 Orthography: “gibberage” (gibberish)
b.2 Grammar: “thee”; “not disgrace me that have brought you up”
b.3 Vocabulary: “versal”
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: servant
e. Consistency of representation: inconsistent use of “you/thou”

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects


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Other points of interest

Foppington on the joys of reading:
[page 26]

Ld. Foppington.
That, I must confess, I am not altogether so fand of, far to my mind, the inside of a book is to entertain one's self with the forced product of another man's brain. Now I think a man of quality and breeding may be much more diverted with the natural sprauts of his own; but to say the truth, Madam, let a

[page 27 ]

man love reading never so well, when once he comes to know the tawn, he finds so many better ways of passing away the four-and-twenty hours, that it were ten thousand pities he should consume his time in that. Far example, Madam, now my life, my life, Madam, is a perpetual stream of pleasure, that glides through with such a variety of entertainments, I believe the wisest of our ancestors never had the least conception  of any of 'em.

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©2009 Arden Hegele