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The plot of Mr Bland Holt’s fit at production is a fine whole-souled, sturdy, and cleanly story, and forms a fascinating narrative, made additionally interesting on account of many new places which have been utilised in its construction. The first act is located outside of the rectory at Market Ditton—one of 11 the cowslip works of Merry England’’-near Portsmouth, and we quickly learn from a conversation between General Coventry and Dr Penrose, the rector, that "War Office secrets are leaking out from Portsmouth, and that, in spite of all efforts, the traitor remains unidentified. We also learn that the Generals daughter Esther ia the possessor of a past (but only a very little one), and that the donor of this 'gift 5b Philip Ellsworth, the owner of the Market Ditton saw-railla. Philip is In Queer street financially, but £5,000 wi 1 save him, and this sum De Gruohy. a foreign spy, offers him If he will obtain for one hour certain plans and fortifications for information of the French Govern* ment. Philip persuades Esther to help him. Whilst the plotters are plotting Lieutenant Dudley Keppel, of the 2nd Highlanders, is engaged in making love to Mary Penrose, and what time the curtain falls has gained her promise to be his very own. Act ii. shows us General Coventry’s office, but to tell of the exciting and ingeniem method by which Keppel is accmed of rifling the safe, ot the struggle between Ellsworth and Coventry in the gloom, and the arrest of Keppel would take too long. Follows the c mrt-martial—an impressive and realistic piece of work—and then comes the great scene of the play. The stage is filled with soldiers, officers, and men, and standing alone in their midst is Budlev Hoppe 1 . His sentence is read out to him ; he is" to be drummed out of his army and impri oned for fife. A a the process of degradation is proceeded with the condemned stands ns though entirely unconscious. Piece by piece the trappings of his rank are tom, from bis uniform, but lie never moves or utters a sound. But when his sword is demanded he wakes up for a momeut, snavs the blade across his knee, and kisses the hilt before giving it up The sergeant makes to take from him his Victori i Cross, but Keppel clutches the precious medal and will not let it go. Then, wh-n the whole ceremony is finished, ho "asps out “God save the Queen.” After this the play moves rapidly to its ending. Esther, deserted by Philip, confesses the truth to her father, and in the last scene Kepptl is reinstated amid the blare of trumpets, the waving of busbies, and the ringing cheers of his corn” rades.

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Bibliographic details

'ONE OF THE BEST.’, Issue 10428, 24 September 1897

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'ONE OF THE BEST.’ Issue 10428, 24 September 1897

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