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by Benjamin Charles Stephenson

Genre: Comedy, Operetta
Format of Original Source: Plot summary
Recommended Adaptation Length: Two Hours

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


The story of “Dorothy” is a simple one, but affords much scope for humor. The first act opens in a hop-field, introducing a chorus and dance of the hop-pickers. Afterward appears Dorothy, daughter of a wealthy squire, who is masquerading in a peasant’s dress, and while serving the landlord’s customers falls in love with a gentleman whose horse has lost a shoe. Her cousin, Lydia Hawthorne, who is with her in disguise, also falls in love with a customer. Each girl gives her lover a ring, and each lover vows he will never part with it; but that same evening at a ball the faithless swains give the rings to two fine ladies, who are none other than Dorothy and Lydia as their proper selves. After they have parted, the two lovers, Wilder and Sherwood, play the part of burglars and rob Squire Bantam. Dorothy, disguised in male attire, then challenges her lover, who, though he accepts, displays arrant cowardice, which leads up to the inevitable explanations. Incidentally there is much fun growing out of the efforts of Lurcher, the sheriff’s officer, who has followed Wilder and Sherwood down from London to collect a bill against the former. In the end Wilder and Sherwood are united to Dorothy and Lydia amid great rejoicing at Chanticleer Hall.


Two different disguises for each of the two leading ladies, and two cads who are the object of their affections.  Aside from the obvious question why these ladies would continue to want the fellas once they find out they’re both cads and then thieves, the storyline is a lot of fun.  (Perhaps it’s not a romance in a today’s retelling of the plot, but a revenge story, or a sting operation.)  Structure is solid, if obvious.


A word of caution:  This plot summary was written by 19th-century literary critic George Upton, who often mixes personal opinion with summation.  You would be advised to consult the original source material, if the general plot appeals to you.


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