This charming comedy has delighted audiences for over two centuries. First performed in 1773, it concerns Kate Hardcastle, a young lady who poses as a serving girl to win the heart of a young gentleman too shy to court ladies of his own class. A number of delightful deceits and hilarious turns of plot must be played out before the mating strategies of both Kate Hardcastle and her friend Constance Neville conclude happily. Along the way, there is an abundance of merry mix-ups, racy dialogue and sly satire of the sentimental comedies of Goldsmith's day.
The extraordinary humor and humanity with which Goldsmith invested this play have made it one of the most read, performed, and studied of all English comedies. It is now available in this inexpensive Dover edition, based on the text of the fourth edition, published in the year of the play's first staging.