The scene represents the entrance Hall of an old English Elizabethan Manor House -- solidly built up with heavy fireplace -- with armorial bearings -- panelled oak walls -- hung with armour and weapons and ancestral portraits -- lofty mullioned windows -- and staircase leading to upper apartments. The Hall is furnished in luxurious modern fashion as a Lounge with settees -- carpets -- occasional tables, etc., and doors lead in various directions to the Servants' quarters -- to the Dining Room -- to the Porch -- and so forth.
At the rise of the Curtain -- a group of ladies is discovered -- they are attired in tea gowns -- some busy round the grand piano -- others reading -- a visitor is playing a valse -- some few are dancing -- servants come in with lighted lamps -- bring afternoon tea. Return of the shooting party -- who join the ladies. Afternoon tea-and-cake walk (? ' Bedelia') -- Arrival of visitors from the station -- Fashionable society actress (Mlle Zanfretta) who attracts so much attention from one of the eligible young men of the party that his fiancee (Mlle Genée) a daughter of the house -- is jealous. This thread of story will of course be strengthened and developed -- a brief rehearsal -- with comical diversions -- of the play to be presented in the evening is interrupted by the dressing bell. The Company troop off upstairs. The perplexed amateur author busy writing up his dialogue, etc., is dusted 'from pillar to post' -- by a bevy of parlour maids and footmen -- who, directed by butler and housekeeper, decorate the Hall for the evening festivities. Some fun may be had here by amateur attempts to fit up the scenery, etc., for the stage -- (to be prominently seen on a landing of the great staircase) -- and the testing of some of the armour suits for stage wear, etc., etc. Then the guests begin to appear for dinner. Firstly some few of the principals to play their little scenes of intrigue and then the bulk of the guests in swell evening gowns -- the men possibly in hunt evening dress -- red coats and black satin knee breeches. They pair off and dance in to dinner -- (air ' Little Mary'). When they are 'off' the preparations for the theatricals are resumed -- the stage manager (excused from dinner -- the various courses brought to him by a supercilious footman) drills the gardener and the groom and the page boy and some giggling servant girls in their supernumerary business. Then (the guests who are acting having gone to their rooms to change) the hostess appears to welcome some additional visitors -- to form an audience -- somewhat eccentric countrified types -- the rector