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The New York Idea

Langdon Mitchell

Book Overview: 

I find it very hard to classify "The New York Idea" under any of the established rubrics. It is rather too extravagant to rank as a comedy; it is much too serious in its purport, too searching in its character-delineation and too thoughtful in its wit, to be treated as a mere farce. Its title—not, perhaps, a very happy one—is explained in this saying of one of the characters: "Marry for whim and leave the rest to the divorce court—that's the New York idea of marriage." Like all the plays, from Sardou's "Divorçons" onward, which deal with a too facile system of divorce, this one shows a discontented woman, who has broken up her home for a caprice, suffering agonies of jealousy when her ex-husband proposes to make use of the freedom she has given him, and returning to him at last with the admission that their divorce was at least "premature." In this central conception there is nothing particularly original. It is the wealth of humorous invention displayed in the details both of character and situation that renders the play remarkable.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Thomas. [Announcing with something like reluctance.] Sir, Mr. Fiddler. Mr. Karslake's trainer.

Fiddler walks in. He is an English horse trainer, a wide-awake, stocky, well-groomed little cockney. He knows his own mind and sees life altogether through a stable door. Well-dressed for his station, and not too young.

Cynthia. [Excited and disturbed.] Fiddler? Tim Fiddler? His coming is outrageous!

Fiddler. A note for you, sir.

Cynthia. [Impulsively.] Oh, Fiddler—is that you?

Fiddler. Yes'm!

Cynthia. [In a half whisper, still speaking on impulse.] How is she! Cynthia K? How's Planet II and the colt and Golden Rod? How's the whole stable? Are they well?

Fiddler. No'm—we're all on the bum. [Aside.] Ever since you kicked us over!

Cynthia. [Reproving him, though pleased.] Fiddler!

Fiddler. The horses is just simply gone to Egypt since you left, and so's the guv'nor.

Cynthia. . . . Read More