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  • Sir Ebenezer Tare (later Lord Carnaby Poppytop) - BARITONE
  • Rosa (his niece, later Lady Maud) - SOPRANO
  • Mrs. MacMotherly (later Dame Cherry Maybud) - CONTRALTO
  • Mr. Columbus Hebblethwaite (later Sir Cecil Blount) - TENOR
  • Steward (later Brown) - BASS


SCENE - Picture Gallery in Glen-Cockaleekie Castle

For almost a century, Glen Cockaleekie Castle has been deserted, its last inhabitants leaving no heir. Every hundred years, however, in fulfillment of a past mortgage made with the devil, the title deeds mysteriously appear and a new rightful owner is found.

Recently, Ebenezar Tare has started squatting in the castle, disregarding the warnings of his superstitious housekeeper, Mrs. MacMotherly (a Scot). At present he has an unwelcome visitor — his niece Rosa's poor, but honest, suitor, Columbus Hebblethwaite.

That night, when the inhabitants have gone to bed, the portraits of the past owners of the castle come to life and step out their frames (except Brown, who is only painted down to the waist!). There is much confusion over the fact that, as they appear as the age they were painted, the oldest owners are the youngest ghosts, and that a sixty-five year old man has a seventeen year old grandmother! Lady Maud and Sir Cecil, as well as Lord Popptop and Dame Maybud, eventually pair up, and have their union blessed by Brown. They then fulfill their duty and leave the title deeds to the castle, declaring Columbus Hebblethwaite to be their lineal descendent, before returning to their frames for another century.

The present inhabitants emerge for breakfast and find the title deeds. Columbus strikes a good bargin — he allows Ebenezar to continue living in the castle if he consents to his marriage to Rosa. The old man relunctantly agrees.

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