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PERCHANCE TO DREAM A musical romance in 2 Acts by Ivor Novello Produced at the London Hippodrome, 21 April, 1945 (1,022 perfs) SYNOPSIS Sir Graham Rodney (1783-1818), Regency buck and part-time highwayman, loves both Lydia and Melinda, but loathes cousin William. When Graham dies in Melinda's arms, vowing to find her again one day, his magnificent home, Huntersmoon, acquires a new owner - William and a set of restless ghosts. Thirty-five years later William's son, Valentine (1818- c. 1900), owns Huntersmoon where he meets and marries Veronica, illegitimate daughter of Lydia and the former highwayman. The marriage is nearly destroyed with the arrival of Melanie, spirited niece of the late Sir Graham, but Veronica's timely announcement of her pregnancy wins the day. Not until the twentieth century are the ghosts allowed to sleep, perchance to dream, when Huntersmoon welcomes Bay - Valentine's grandson - blissfully married to Melody, who is remarkably like Melinda and Melanie. Strangely, their best friends Bill and Iris, also happily married, bear a striking resemblance to William and Lydia who had hated each other so bitterly at Huntersmoon nearly 150 years earlier. STORY ACT 1 Huntersmoon is a beautiful mansion, the inheritance and home over many years of the Rodney family. In 1818 it is the property of Sir Graham Rodney, a disreputable if charming rake in whose dissolute hands it has become the scene of wining and gambling gatherings for some of the less distinguished members of the nobility and their fair companions. This night, Rodney's friends are amusing themselves in his absence as he has failed to arrive in time for dinner. His mistress, the actress Lydia Lyddington, does not join in the rout but awaits Rodney's return patiently, carefully putting aside the flirtatious chatter of Lord Failsham and Sir Arnyas Wendell and just a little frightened for her Graham's safety. There is talk that the famous highwayman known as Frenchy is abroad in the region. Rodney is not only safe, he is in high spirits when he arrives to take his supper with Lydia spirits which are not dampened by the news that his fearsome aunt Charlotte Fayre is descending on Huntersmoon with her nephew, William, and her daughter, Melinda. Charlotte and, more particularly, the unpleasant William have had their covetous eyes on Huntersmoon for years but, in spite of his comparative poverty, Rodney has refused to give up his heritage to the rich Fayre family. Tonight he intends to parade himself before them as a comfortable and respectable gentleman and, to top it all with a worthy flourish, he will seduce the little brat of a daughter. To Sir Amyas's disbelieving sneers he hotly proposes a wager. Five thousand guineas bets that he will seduce the supercilious Melinda. Sir Amyas accepts unwillingly and Lydia sadly foresees either a loss which will break Rodney's purse or a conquest which will break her heart. But that is the kind of man he is. For her own peace of mind and heart she should leave him, she knows, but she cannot do it. Now they must prepare their charade for the arrival of Lady Charlotte. They will be very proper and dignified and Ernestine, a buxom actress who has been snoring off her dinner on the couch and is clearly immovable, will be passed off as a famous singer. When she arrives, Lady Charlotte is singularly unimpressed by the act put on for her benefit and observes loftily that the house is 'nothing but old masters and young mistresses'. Melinda on the other hand is distressed. Their coach was held up on the road and they were robbed of the famous Fayre necklace by a man who could be no other than the notorious Frenchy. She is taken to her room before Rodney puts in his purposely delayed entrance, but when she returns, restored, their meeting is one of instant impression. In a