In the grounds of Pointdextre Mansion, the home of Thomas Brown. Somewhat impoverished by death duties he has transformed the grounds into a safari park, around which the British public are milling.
The discover AEsculapius Carboy on a chair with a rope around his neck, attempting to hang himself. Upon inquiries as to his actions, he outlines the reason for his plight. Having been forbidden to marry his love Laetitia, by her father, Mr Grinder, they have been forced to send love letters in the form of prescriptions, for Carboy is an apothecary. He has received word that there has been a label mix-up with one of these, and believes it must have killed Laetitia. The public try to dissuade him from his actions until Eliza Smith, the food-stall holder, appears and confiscates the rope. She returns to her job as Thomas Brown appears in search of her. He is quite obviously besotted with her, and she with him.
Laetitia enters looking for Carboy, who assumes she must be a ghost. She Explains that the labelling mix-up never happened, and that it was her sister's idea of a joke. Meanwhile Thomas has eaten too much at Eliza's stall during his flirtations. He faints, and much advice is given on how to revive him - finally Eliza is despatched with a prescription. As Thomas comes round, Carboy and Laetitia discover that he is a peer, and due deference is paid by the public. He hesitantly thanks them for their courtesy. In an extraordinary bit of reading between the lines, the public realises that he loves Eliza and suggests that he propose. He departs to don the appropriate garb, along with Carboy and Laetitia.
Grinder enters in search of Laetitia, but she is nowhere to be found. Eliza comes in looking for Thomas, but he is also absent so she reflects on her past 'acquaintances'. There is a confrontation between Grinder, Carboy and Laetitia, and the public pleads for them to be allowed to marry. Grinder refuses, so Carboy says a prolonged farewell, and heads off to the bear pit, rope in hand.
Thomas Brown enters in his full regalia and proposes to Eliza who hesitates because she does not want to leave the animals. He reassures her that he owns the whole place, so she consents. Carboy returns, having been unsuccessful in his attempts at suicide (someone moved the bears) and heads off to the lions den. He is prevented from doing so by Thomas who has interceded on his behalf and paid Grinder off. As usual, all ends happily ever after!
|AEsculapius Carboy||Geoff Allan|
|Thomas Brown||Nick Presdee|