Haddon Hall
Derbyshire, England

Ought We To Visit Her? by W. S. Gilbert

Ought We To Visit Her? is a novel published by Mrs. Annie Edwardes in 1871. It was adapted by W. S. Gilbert as a play and opened at the Royalty Theatre, London in 1874. The play was printed by Samuel French as a manuscript, presumably for use by Mr. Gilbert and the cast during rehearsals. It was never printed for general distribution.

The play and the novel both open in the Belgian resort town of Spa; the scene then shifts to the English countryside. The story of the play closely follows that of the novel.

The phrase "Ought we to visit her?" refers to whether new neighbors are of sufficient social status to be included in the neighborhood social structure. From the play: "I understand that Mrs. Theobald was once upon the stage in a dancing capacity.  Consequently however much we may pity the position of Mr. Theobald,  and however much we may wish well to his wife,  the question for us all will be, ought we to visit her?"

The manuscript copy contains many errors, most of which appear to have come about through errors in transcribing it from a written to a printed format. These include: obvious spelling errors, inconsistent spelling - the same word spelled differently in two or more places, the wrong form of a word obscuring the meaning of the sentence. These errors could usually be resolved by referring to the novel, which the play follows very closely. As one purpose of this edition is to provide a format which is easy to follow on a first reading, it includes such corrections without a notation.

Perhaps Gilbert recognized that he could mine the novel for many quotations which were Gilbertian in nature. This edition illustrates what parts of the play are original with Gilbert. Shown in bold are passages lifted verbatim, or nearly so, from the novel; they account for more than half of the play.

Ought We To Visit Her? has been included in the book Five W. S. Gilbert Plays. A printed copy of the book may be purchased at www.LULU.com/shop
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