The French Maid

The French Maid

Infobox Musical
name = The French Maid
subtitle =

caption =
music = Walter Slaughter
lyrics =
book = Basil Hood
basis =
productions = 1989 West End
awards =

"The French Maid" is a musical comedy in two acts by Basil Hood, with music by Walter Slaughter, first produced at the Theatre Royal, Bath, England, under the management of Milton Bode on the 4 April 1896. It then played in London at Terry's Theatre under the management of W. H. Griffiths beginning on 24 April 1897 and transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre on 12 February 1898, running for a very successful total of 480 London performances. The piece starred Louie Pounds and Richard Green. There was a New York production in 1897.

Roles and original London cast

*Admiral Sir Hercules Hawser - H. O. Clarey
*General Sir Drummond Fife - Windham Guise
*Lt. Harry Fife - Richard Green
*Paul Lecuire - Herbert Standing
*Monsieur Camembert - Eric Lewis
*Maharajah of Punkapore - Percy Percival
*Charles Brown - Murray King
*Jack Brown - Joseph Wilson
*Alphonse - J. W. MacDonald
*Dorothy Travers - Louie Pounds
*Lady Hawser - Kate Talby
*Violet Tavers - Hilda Jeffries
*Madame Camembert - Lillie Pounds
*Suzette - Kate Cutler


Suzette, a French maiden, has attracted several men, including a jealous gendarme, Paul Lecuire, and a waiter at the hotel where she works, Charles Brown. She must choose an escort to the upcoming bal-masqué. But things are complicated when several visitors to the hotel all call for the pretty maid, including an Indian Prince, his attaché, and Jack Brown, an English soldier who is the waiter's twin brother. In traditional French style, Suzette strings them all along, causing confusion in the lives of all concerned, including the aristocratic Admiral and Lady Hawser, their niece Dorothy and her lover, Harry, who gets involved in situations full of jealousy, disguises and misunderstandings. Finally everything is revealed, and a chastened Suzette returns to her faithful gendarme.

Musical numbers

*No. 1 - Opening Chorus - "Les femmes de chambre de cet Hôtel (Hôtel Anglais, Boulogne-sur-Mer)..."
*No. 2 - Song - Paul - "O pretty Suzette! Delightful Suzette, you're a bright little, slight little, sweet soubrette..."
*No. 3 - Entrance of Sir Drummond & Maharajah - "I'm General Sir Drummond Fife, V.C., K.C.B.,..."
*No. 4 - Duet - Sir Drummond & Prince, with Chorus - "In eighteen hundred and ninety-four the Maharajah of Punkapore..."
*No. 5 - Song - Charles - "I'm only a waiter today, but the thought is most exhilarating..." (three verses)
*No. 6 - Song - Suzette - "The sort of girl I am the gentlemen adore, although I am a Femme de Chambre..." (three verses)
*No. 7 - Song - Dolly - "With my pencil and paper (my sketch-block or book) I frequently caper to some quiet nook..."
*No. 8 - Duet - Dolly and Harry - "'Tis a law in Society's code that, whatever a damsel may do..."
*No. 8a - Song - Dolly - "There is a castle in the air, and Cupid holds the key..."
*No. 10 - Song - Jack and Chorus - "When quite a little chap, a-sitting on my mother's lap..." (three verses)
*No. 11 - Song - The Twin Duet - Charles and Jack - "Some twins are very much alike, but we are not a bit..." (four verses)
*No. 12 - Song - Jack and Chorus of Sailors - "The Admiral! Sir Hercules! Let every gal get off your knees..."
*No. 13 - Song - Admiral and Chorus - "I'm an Admiral of the Fleet, with character untarnish'd..."
*No. 14 - Finale Act I - "She's going with the Admiral, the Admiral, the Admiral..." ACT II
*No. 15 - Act II Opening Chorus - "Tho' Englishmen in England may take their pleasures sadly..."
*No. 16 - Song - Harry and Chorus - "When Elizabeth ruled England, in the gallant days of yore..." (three verses)
*No. 17 - Chorus of Girls and Sailors - "It's gone eight bells, or, leastways, sev'n-- Ashore that spells half past elev'n..."
*No. 18 - Duet - Jack and Suzette - "You seem to say the proper way of making love's an art..."
*No. 19 - Trio - Charles, Jack and Paul - "We're bound to follow Nature's laws, whatever we may do..."
*No. 20 - Song - Charles and Chorus - "As a child my father told me of the good that people reap..."
*No. 21 - Song - Paul and Gendarmes - "When danger sounds the alarm, the bold Gendarme must nerve his arm..."
*No. 22 - Duet - Dolly and Harry - "No one I ever heard a sentence could compress..."
*No. 23 - Song - Admiral - "I'm as proud as a Plantagenet - you mightn't, p'raps, imagine *it..."
*No. 24 - Song - Jack - "I ain't no famous 'ero of 'alf a hundred fights..."
*No. 25 - Finale Act II - "Ah! Ah! Ah! that's a way we have in France..." Additional item
*Song with Chorus - soloist probably Jack - "I ain't the sort of man as you meets now and then..."

External links

* [ Song list and links to Midi files and cast list]
* [ Brief Synopsis and other information]
* [ Information about shows opening in London in 1897]
* [ Information about the New York production from the IBDB database]

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