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The Marriage Market

A musical play in 3 acts adapted for the English stage by Gladys Unger from the Hungarian Leányvásár by by Max (Miksa) Brody and Franz (Ferenc) Martos : English Lyrics by Arthur Anderson and Adrian Ross : Music by Victor Jacobi

Knickerbocker Theatre, Broadway - 22 September, 1913 (80 perfs)
Daly's Theatre, London - Opened 17th May, 1913 - ran for 423 performances.


The curtain rises on a delightful South Californian scene and the stage is filled with cowboys, who are awaiting the annual sale of ladies by the proprietor of the Palace Hotel and Sheriff of Mendocino Bluff. For years past Bald Faced Sandy has repeated this interesting episode, but this year he has resolved that the aforetime mock marriages shall take place in earnest, and to that end he has engaged the services of Father Pedro from an adjacent mission to tie the connubial knot.

By a mere chance Mariposa Gilroy, the San Francisco heiress, and her bosom friend, Kitty Kent, arrive at Mendocino Bluff and, moved by the spirit of fun, determine to set themselves up for auction. Mariposa, however, has no sooner arrived at the Bluff than she attracts the attention of handsome Slippery Jack, whose real name is Jack Fleetwood and who is in reality the son of Mariposa's father's bitterest enemy.

Another arrival is Lord Hurlingham, whose wide-awake valet, Blinker, intends that he shall marry the heiress, and to further that end he bribes the Sheriff to allow him to pose as the auctioneer, but his lordship has been captivated by the bright eyes of Kitty Kent, and so it falls out that Mariposa marries Slippery Jack and Lord Hurlingham her winsome companion, who poses for the nonce as her servant.

The whole episode is taken in the high spirit of irresponsible fun when along comes the Padre, who assures them they have been united according to the ritual of the Holy Catholic Church and, as the Sheriff subsequently remarks, the only thing that can divide them is the Judge or a stroke of lightning. Although Mariposa willingly handed her rosette to the picturesque cowboy, she considers the marriage has been obtained by a species of fraud and demands that Jack shall not hold her to it against her will, stoutly maintaining that she has no love for him, and Jack, being a gentleman, despite the slippery nom de guerre, parts with her on the understanding that he will claim her as his wife in six months' time.

mm-ppIn the next act we are on board the yacht of the 'Frisco senator, and as Mr. Edwardes has set it upon the stage it is a vessel that might be owned by a syndicate of multi-millionaires, so gorgeous are its appointments, and here we find that Slippery Jack has entered himself as an ordinary sailor. Of course, husband and wife meet and need it be said that Mariposa has been yearning in secret fer her handsome cowboy, but when she realizes his immediate proximity she is filled with righteous indignation and declines his connubial advances, until Jack takes her in his arms and makes an eloquent appeal with eyes and lips, when she succumbs and frankly tells her father that she prefers love to dollars.

But can the ex-cowboy and present common sailor comport himself as a gentleman? is the query which the senator puts to the lovers! Jack answers the question by going ashore and returning in the most up-to-date suit of evening clothes ever turned out of Saville Row, and with the manners and bearing of a Guardsman. What more could a punctilious American require?

In assuming the conventional clothes of the gentleman, Jack also resumes his proper name and then it is that the senator recognises in him the son of his ancient enemy. So once again the course of true love is rudely disturbed, and Jack is given his cards. However all is made right in the third act and the audience may rest content that they live happily ever after.

So much for the story of hero and heroine - and unfortunately space forbids that I enter into particulars of Blinker's courting of Emma and Lord Hurlingham's quest of piquant Kitty Kent, to whom he had been unconsciously wedded in the marriage market sale. In spite of the jealous moments of the former, and the misunderstandings of the latter, their respective problems are resolved to the satisfaction of all, and wine and dance prevail at the wedding banquet in the palatial hall of the senator's San Francisco residence.

"Reproduced courtesy of Don Gillan (Copyright), www.Stagebeauty.net).

Musical Numbers:

Act I

  1. OPENING SONG & CHORUS - Little Chiquita - Pablo and Chorus - "Then pay and suffle the pack"
  2. TRIO - Compliments - Mariposa, Kitty and Jack - "Can you tell us when the festival commences?"
  3. DUET - Never Count Your Chickens Before They're Hatched - Emma and Blinker - "My young lady's not accepting ev'ry peer who's in low water"
  4. SONG - American Courtship - Kitty - "Now if yoour fortune should make you"
  5. DUET - The One I Love - Mariposa and Jack - "If I could find my unknown girl"
  6. CHORUS - Come On Boys For This Is Market Day - Chorus of Cowboys and Girls
  7. QUARTET - Hand In Hand - Mariposa, Jack, Kitty and Hurlingham - I have always understood that a maid was shy"
  8. FINALE Act I - "Really, truly, isn't it awful

Act II

  1. OPENING CHORUS - "Half a mile away from 'Frisco Town"
  2. SONG - All the Ladies Love a Sailor Man - Captain & Chorus - "Scarce a breath across the bay"
  3. DUET - Love Of Mine - Mariposa and Jack - Oh, how near and yet how far"
  4. SONG - The Middy - Kitty & Chorus of Middies - I love to meet the sailors of the fleet"
  5. SONG - A 1 - Blinker & Chorus of Girls - "Though I must admit that I was not born to fame"
  6. CONCERTED NUMBER - On Their Honeymoon - Company - "As soon as we are tied up we'll all make up a party"
    15a - DUET - June Is In the Air - Mariposa and Jack - "June is in the air, roses everywhere"
  8. SONG - Answers - Kitty - "When a girl of any nation"
  9. DUET - How Things Happen - Hurlingham and Blinker - "I like a girl, and the girl likes me"
  10. FINALE Act 2 - "Belay, my men!"


  1. OPENING CHORUS - "We drink success to both of you"
  2. SONG - It's Late Now - Blinker - "I'm the bridegroom just at present"
  3. SONG - Jilolo - Kitty - "When I'm up a tree"
  4. FINALE - "Now the clouds have passed away"

Additional Numbers

I'm Not A Silly Billy - Kitty - "When a compliment a man is paying"
The Boy In Blue - Captain - "The boy in blue is a sailor"
I Don't Believe In Fairies Now - Blinker - Many years ago, before I was a man"
The Heart of a Sailor - Captain and chorus - "Scarce a breath across the bay"
Very Little Time For Loving Nowadays - Blinker and chorus - "When a lover woo'd a maid"
Joy Bells - Blinker and chorus  - "I've taken this woman"

The above listing is taken from the original vocal score. There is considerable difference between this grouping and that which was presented in America. The following songs do not appear in the Vocal Score.

By the Country Stile
Come Nestle In My Arms
The Futurist Whirl
Golden Day Of Love
It Might Be an Oomps Sight Worse

It might well be that these are the Americanised versions of those included in the English version.


Jack Fleetwood - known as "Slippery Jack"
Senator Abe K. Gilroy
Bald-Faced Sandy - Sheriff of Mendocino bluff and proprietor of the Palace Hotel


Mexican Bill
Tabasco Ned
Cheyenne Harry

Hi-Ti - a Chinese bar-keeper
Padre Pedro - A Spanish Priest
Captain on the 'Mariposa'

Guests on the yacht

Kitty Kent

Spanish and American cowboys, Spanish and American girls, Miners, Sailors, Guests, Middies, Footmen, etc.

Synopsis of scenes:

Act 1 - Mendocino Bluff, Southern California
Act 2 - The Yacht Mariposa anchored in the Bay of San Francisco
Act 3 - Senator Gilroy's Palace, San Francisco