Music by Alfred Cellier: Written by B.C. Stephenson
Gaiety Theatre, London 25 September, 1886
Standard Theatre, Broadway 5 November, 1887.
(Rural Kent in 1740)
The plot surrounds the Squire's daughter, Dorothy and her cousin Lydia, who, tired of the social rounds, decide to pose as villagers during the festival of the Hop Pole, (An annual celebration occurring in the vicinity of the Hop Pole Inn), at the end of the Hop picking season. It so happens that Geoffrey, a "young English gentleman", and his friend Harry, under assumed names, are using the Hop Pole Inn as a hideout to escape Lurcher, a Sheriff's officer who has been chasing them with a bundle of writs. The men and girls are mutually attracted but neither pair knows the other's true identity. Lurcher arrives on the scene and is tricked into posing as a servant to the two men when they visit the house of the Squire. There is a faked burglary, Lurcher dines too well, identities are exposed, but the end is obvious and happy.
At old John Tuppitt's inn in rural Kent, the country folk of the neighbourhood of Chanticleer Hall, the property of Squire Bantam, are enjoying themselves on the morning of an autumn day in 1740. Dorothy Bantam, the Squire's daughter, and Lydia Hawthorne, his niece, take the opportunity to dress informally and join in the festivities. They find that Phyllis, Tuppitt's daughter, has promised to marry Tom Strutt, a local man. They try to dissuade her, believing that women should remain free from the fetters of matrimony. The Squire wants Dorothy to marry Geoffrey Wilder, his nephew and heir, whom she has never met and who has been leading a wild life in London.
Coffin as Harry Sherwood
Wilder, pursued by bailiffs, has fled London and is on his way to his uncle's house, driven by debt to comply with Squire Bantam's matrimonial plans for his daughter. Wilder and his friend Sherwood pull up at Tuppitt's inn for refreshment. Dorothy and Lydia pass themselves off as village girls, Dorcas and Abigail. Wilder and Sherwood are smitten, and Wilder rapidly gives up the idea of marrying his cousin even at the risk of arrest for debt. The principal bailiff, Lurcher, catches up with Wilder, but is prevented from arresting him because he has infuriated the villagers by serving a writ on an old woman of the village. Wilder saves him from a ducking and persuades him to help in a scheme to pay off all Wilder's debts.
Dorothy and Lydia, their insistence on permanent spinsterhood shaken by the attractions of Wilder and Sherwood, give the two men rings, making them promise never to part with them.
Squire Bantam is entertaining guests when the arrival of a stranger is announced. This is Lurcher passing himself off as secretary to the Duke of Berkshire. He asks for hospitality for the duke and his friend, Lord Crinkletop, whose carriage has broken down. Wilder (posing as the "duke") and Sherwood (Crinkletop) are welcomed by Bantam. Dorothy and Lydia enter, but the two men do not recognise them as the rustics who enchanted them in Act I. The women play on the susceptibilities of the men. Wilder becomes beguiled by Lydia and Sherwood by Dorothy. Eventually the women succeed in persuading each man to give them the rings that "Abigail" and "Dorcas" gave the other at the inn.
The guests retire to rest, and in the dark, Wilder, Sherwood and Lurcher carry out Wilder's scheme. Cloaked and masked, they capture Squire Bantam and tie him up. At the same time, Sherwood binds Wilder. The house is soon roused by the cries; but when the guests reappear they find that the robbers have taken none of Bantam's money, but have, it seems, robbed the "duke" of a large amount (coincidentally equalling the sum of Wilder's debts). Feeling responsible for this misfortune under his roof, Bantam insists on making good the "duke"'s loss.
Dorothy and Lydia test the fidelity of their two admirers. The men have repented of their temporary infatuations of the previous night and have sent letters to Dorothy and Lydia affirming that they remain devoted to Dorcas and Abigail. By return the men receive challenges to duels, ostensibly from two young gentlemen outraged at their conduct to the two young ladies, but in fact written by Dorothy and Lydia.
The young women turn up disguised as men at the appointed site for the duel. They are pleased that Wilder and Sherwood are so dedicated to "Dorcas" and "Abigail" that they will risk their lives in a duel for the sake of their devotion. On the other hand, the ladies are anxious that the duels should not go ahead. Squire Bantam arrives, having learned of the burglary plot from Lurcher. He will forgive his errant nephew if he will consent to marry Dorothy. The ladies overlook the men's temporary wavering of the night before, and the couples are married.
Principal Characters (plus Chorus)
Sir John (baritone)
Mrs Privett (non-singing)
- Opening Chorus and Ballet – "Lads and lasses round about the hop-pole trip"
- Song with Trio – "Be wise in time, Oh Phyllis mine" (Dorothy, Lydia, and Phyllis)
- Quartet – "We're sorry to delay you" (Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, and Sherwood)
- Ballad – "With such a dainty dame none can compare" (Wilder)
- Quintet – "A father's pride and joy they are" (Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, Sherwood, and Tuppitt)
- Song and Trio – "I am the Sheriff's faithful man" (Lurcher, Wilder, and Sherwood)
- Quartet – "You swear to be good and true" (Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, and Sherwood)
- Chorus with Solo – "Under the pump" (Lurcher)
- Act I Finale – "Now take your seats at table spread"
- Act II Introduction and Country Dance
- Song – "Though born a man of high degree" (Wilder and Chorus)
- Music for the Entrance of Dorothy and Lydia
- Graceful Dance
- Song – "Contentment I give you and all that it brings" (Bantam)
- Septet and Chorus – "Now let's to bed" (Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, Sherwood, Lurcher, and Bantam)
- Recit and Quartett – "One moment pray" (Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, and Sherwood)
16a. Ballad – "I stand at your threshold sighing" ("Queen of my Heart") (Sherwood)
- Trio – "Are you sure that they are all in bed?" (Wilder, Sherwood, and Bantam)
- Chorus with Dorothy, Lydia, Wilder, Sherwood, Bantam, and Lurcher – "What noise was that"
- Act II Finale – "Hark forward"
- Act III – Ballet
- Chorus – "Dancing is not what it used to be"
- Ballad – "The time has come when I must yield" (Phyllis)
- Septet and Chorus – "What joy untold to feel at last"
- Act III Finale – "You swore to be good and true"
No. 16a became a successful ballad standard, "Queen of My Heart."
(Total number of books = 17)
2 Violins I ; 1 Violin II ; 1 Viola ; 1 Cello/Double Bass ; 1 Flute I ; 1 Flute II ; 1 Oboe ; 1 Clarinet I ; 1 Clarinet II ; 1 Bassoon ; 1 Horn I ; 1 Cornet ; 1 Trombone ; 1 Drums ; 1 Timpani ; 1 Conductor Score annotated vocal score
Three acts of one scene each should present little trouble for any company. Choreography calls for many short dances in the period of the piece. In all, it is an easy show to stage and, despite its age, is a delightful musical.