Phryne

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Phryne, or The Romance of a Young Wife, Boucicault’s 1887 play revolving around a marital quarrel that sets off a chain of unfortunate events, was dedicated to his new wife, Louise Thorndyke Boucicault. The couple had married in September of 1885 under dubious circumstances. Though Boucicault was technically still married to his first wife, Agnes, he proceeded to marry Louise, and was summarily shunned in social circles by both those who did and did not know him. Though he continued to create and put on plays, he sought to avoid the public’s voyeuristic fascination toward his new marriage, and employed actors to play parts intended for him and Louise. It seems as if one of the play’s main characters, Phryne, whose excessive adoration for her husband is central to the plot, is echoed in his thoughts about Louise. He told his friend, Albert Palmer, that “the only true, disinterested love that has come into my life I have found since I married Louise Thorndyke.”