1918 - 1919
The Yeomen of the Guard
The curtain opens on Tower Green, where Phoebe, daughter of Sergeant Meryll of the Tower Yeomen, is at her spinning wheel. Colonel Fairfax, a brave soldier and student of alchemy, is in the Tower charged with sorcery and is condemned to be beheaded. Phoebe has fallen in love with him, although they have never spoken, and wants her brother Leonard and her father to bring about his freedom. Head jailor Wilfrid Shadbolt is jealous of Phoebe’s interest in the Colonel. The Meryll family successfully devise a plan of escape for Fairfax, who asks for a bride to be found before his execution. Elsie Maynard, a strolling player, is to be the bride. Jack Point, a jester, loves Elsie but consents to the marriage, tempted by a dowry and the knowledge that she can leave as soon as the wedding is over, an hour before Fairfax’s execution. Elsie is blindfolded and taken to Fairfax’s cell to be married. Soon after, Fairfax escapes and is disguised as a Yeoman of the Guard, pretending to be Leonard Meryll. When the escape is discovered, Shadbolt is briefly arrested. Jack Point is frantic that the escapee is now betrothed to Elsie, while Elsie faints in the arms of the disguised Fairfax.
Two days later, Fairfax is still free. Jack Point bribes Shadbolt to say that he shot Fairfax so that Elsie will think her husband is dead. Fairfax, still in disguise as Leonard, learns that pretty Elsie is his bride and makes love to her. They hear a shot. Shadbolt and Jack Point say that Fairfax is dead. Jack tries to get Elsie back, but she accepts Fairfax, very much alive, whom she thinks is Leonard. Phoebe sees this and upsets Shadbolt by saying that the man she loves is to marry Elsie. Shadbolt then realizes that the supposed Leonard is not Phoebe’s brother. When he threatens to expose her deception, she promises to marry him to protect Fairfax. Elsie soon learns that her husband Fairfax is alive and pardoned; she is in distress until Fairfax discloses his identity. Jack Point’s heart is broken. He falls at Elsie’s feet as the curtain descends.