Composers and their stage works 

The Clandestine Marriage

Comedy of manners - (1766)

David Garrick

Mr. Sterling, a merchant, decides to rise socially by having his elder daughter marry an aristocrat. He plans to make a match for her with Sir John Melville, Lord Ogleby's nephew. When the two noblemen visit Sterling's estate to complete the contract, Melville unexpectedly proposes to Sterling's younger daughter, Fanny, and in so doing is caught by his fiancée. The jealous elder sister, not realising Fanny's innocence, persuades their rich aunt to threaten Sterling, their father, with disinheritance unless the marriage contract is fulfilled.

All this while, Fanny has been secretly wed to Lovewell, her father's clerk and a distant relative of Lord Ogleby. Lovewell has been awaiting a propitious moment to tell Sterling of the marriage. In an effort to straighten things out, Fanny and Lovewell appeal to Lord Ogleby for assistance. He, however, misses the point, and his fatuous vanity leads him to believe that he is the object of Fanny's passion.

In despair, Lovewell and Fanny confer that evening in her room. The suspicious elder sister, believing Melville to be with Fanny, rouses the family. Thus the marriage is disclosed, and, with Ogleby's compassionate blessing, Sterling forgives the young couple.