The Way to Keep Him
A play by Arthur Murphy
Take two beautiful accomplished young ladies, one married, one widowed, and add two handsome young men, one married, one not. Stir in two maids and a footman (married to one of them). Leave to marinade for a month or so in a mixture of love, jealousy, passion, humour, betrayal and pretence, then dish to an audience and allow the revelation to develop. Murray developed this recipe for a perfect potted plot to serve as the dessert course to an evening’s entertainment at Garrick’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1760. Garrick himself led the cast, and the piece was so successful that it was not long before Murray whipped it up into a full-length play. Here we offer the original: tart and brisk, simple and clear.
Thirteen years before She Stoops to Conquer and seventeen before The School for Scandal, this is miniature Georgian comedy at its best.