Shows H

hand; reluctantly she consents. Instantly there comes a thundering 'No!' from the mysterious stranger, whose chivalry has been stirred by Bess's charm and evident distress; Obadiah as promptly denounces him as O'Neill; the watchman attempts to arrest him-and the next moment sees the highwayman galloping away on his black mare, 'Bonnie Bess,' with the Grenadiers in hot pursuit. ACT II - SCENE I Later the same evening the villagers are seen deriding Solomon, who is in the stocks for allowing O'Neill to get away. Before being released he is the indignant spectator of a love scene between his daughter and the sergeant. The Grenadiers are still searching for the highwayman, who is lying concealed in the inn until Braddlum and Isabel can effect his escape. To do this, the gipsy girl alarms the soldiers with a creepy witch story, and when Denis suddenly appears from the inn in witch's garb they flee in panic. By a further stroke of luck O'Neill, masquerading this time as an old apple-woman, overhears Sir Jeffrey dispatching Diggory to London with the title-deeds of the Lovel estate, which he is secretly mortgaging to keep his bubble company afloat. To cover the fraud Obadiah has prepared forged copies of the deeds to palm off on Sir Harry. Disregarding danger to himself, O'Neill tells his discovery to the lovers, and cheers their hearts by promising to recover the deeds and expose Sir Jeffrey's duplicity. Meanwhile, Denis's presence at the inn has been detected by Solomon and Dr. Flute, who covet the reward, and the highwayman finds himself trapped by the soldiery. Once again, however, by a skilful ruse he turns the tables on his pursuers and rides off in the moonlight, leaving the unfortunate Governor a public laughingstock. SCENE II Daybreak next morning finds Solomon bemoaning his worries as a watchman. Sir Jeffrey gets the news that 'Bubbles, Ltd.,' has burst, and that a warrant is out for his arrest Isabel, no longer jealous, is desperately hoping that her highwayman lover has succeeded in overtaking Diggory and the deeds, on the recovery of which so much depends. The whole village has now learnt of Sir Jeffrey's financial ruin, and the Governor is furious on finding out how he has been duped. In his grief he is consoled by Lady Lovel, for whom he discovers a tenderness which rapidly ripens into mutual love. He sternly forbids his daughter's marriage to Sir Jeffrey, who has, however, one more card to play. Foiled in his earlier attempt to involve his nephew's honour, he now hands over to the unsuspecting heir the bogus documents. All at once a horseman is heard approaching; it is O'Neill! The highwayman has kept his word. Flushed but triumphant, he enters with the miserable Diggory his prisoner, and on him the purloined title-deeds. Sir Jeffrey and his confederates are arrested by the Governor, who recovers the money he has entrusted to the baronet; Sir Harry is free to marry Bess; Sophy is happy with the sergeant, O'Neill with Isabel - and the opera ends with the delighted company toasting the name of 'Bonnie Bess,' the highwayman's mare, whose all-night gallop to Lovel. Court has proved, to the surprise of no one more than Bess Mannering herself, the true though unsuspected fulfilment of the legend's prophecy that 'Bess shall save the house again.' CHARACTERS Sir Harry Lovel, of Lovel Court (Tenor). Sir Jeffrey Digby, Bart., his Uncle (Baritone). Major-General Mannering, Governor of York (Baritone) Solomon Smug, Head Watchman (Bass). Sergeant Mustard, of the Grenadier Guards (Bass). Obadiah Blunt, a Notary (Baritone). Old John Braddlum (Host of the ‘Lovel Arms’). Doctor Flute, Organist at York Minster (Tenor). Diggory, Steward at Lovel Court (Baritone). Gaffer Jarge, the Oldest Inhabitant. Denis O’Neill, a Highwayman (Baritone). Lady Lovel, Sir Harry’s Mother (Contralto). Bess Mannering, the Governor’s Daughter (Soprano). Sophy, Bess’s Maid and Solomon’s Daughter (Mezzo- Soprano). Peggy (Serving-maid). Prue, an Old Apple-Woman Isabel, a gipsy girl (Contralto) Rustics (Minxes and Bumpkins) & Grenadier Guards.