Traditional family relationships are reinvented and explored in Dion Boucicault’s 1877 play, A Bridal Tour. The plot reveals long-forgotten infidelities and tales of abandoned children, interrupting the excitement of two marriage celebrations. A Bridal Tour entertained audiences with intercepted secret messages and accusations that cause true identities to be revealed. The play comes to a neat resolution as the characters face the consequences of their previous missteps. Boucicault summarizes this happy ending in the words of the lovable father figure of the play, Silas, who says, “Allow the Californian author to stand against the music-master and it balances the account.”
Interestingly, Boucicault was surrounded by a similar flurry of speculation, as his parentage has also been a fact of contention. Legally Boucicault claims, and is claimed by, Samuel Smith Boursiquot, a failed wine merchant. However, there is great speculation that Dr. Dionysius Lardner, a well-known professor, writer, lecturer, popularizer of science, encyclopedist, and godfather to Boucicault, was actually his biological father. The connection between A Bridal Tour to Boucicault’s later play, Marriage is of importance to note, as both are of similar construction. Though Boucicault tried to restructure them during his career, neither play was well received by audiences at the time.