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Extra info for Women Dramatists, Humor, and the French Stage: 1802–1855
Frontin enters to play the role of Desbosquet’s lover’s brother, enraged over her abandonment and concerned for her honor. By the time the servant/fake soldier exits, Desbosquet is desperate to break his engagement to Laure. Just as Bawr presented us with one quartet of playactors (Laure, Stainville, Frontin, and Marine) who invented a role for Stainville to play, she develops a parallel dramatic structure, in essence parodying her own plotline. This time the quartet consists of Stainville/Duparc, Desbosquet, Laure, and Marine.
When 34 Women Dramatists, Humor, and the French Stage he asks what their goal would be, she replies, “De s’amuser” [to have fun] (17). The audience knows that Madame Dalville is correct in her assumption regarding Saint Firmin’s intentions. However, as the play unfolds, Madame Dalville considers Derval a more appealing potential spouse for Hortense since he seems to possess a larger bankroll. Madame Dalville nonetheless puzzles over why Derval would hide his fortune from her. The genius of Saint Firmin’s plan is that his finest accomplice is an unwitting one, namely Couprin, who, in an attempt to assure his own fortune and marriage, manages to arrange that of his rival.
Moreover, he divulges to Stainville/ Duparc—who can hardly get a word in edgewise—that he intends to ignore Laure entirely once he has acquired her handsome dowry. Desbosquet’s constant repetitions of the phrase “quelquefois dans la conversation on lache un mot de trop” [sometimes in a conversation one drops one word too many] adds an ironic touch to his buffoonery as he constantly violates his own maxim. Frontin enters to play the role of Desbosquet’s lover’s brother, enraged over her abandonment and concerned for her honor.