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The following discussion is a compilation of thoughts and opinions from the SavoyNet Mail List from September 22nd to October 8th, 1997. Opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors.
Cox and Box, first produced in 1866, was the work of Sullivan and F.C. Burnand. A one-act farce, it concerns two lodgers, James John Cox and John James Box. These two gentlemen are inadvertent roommates, their landlord Sgt. Bouncer having rented the same room to each of them as a single. Since one of them works at night and the other in the daytime, neither has known of the other's existence.
At the start of the show, one of them gets the day off, and they meet. They learn that they're both engaged to the same woman, Penelope Ann Wiggins. Mr. Box was originally engaged to her, but he faked his death to get out of the engagement. Mr. Cox then became engaged to her, but he too has begun to have second thoughts. He urges Mr. Box to come back to life and marry Penelope Ann so that he will not have to.
Mr. Box refuses, and they're on the point of fighting a duel -- the unlucky survivor, presumably, to marry Penelope Ann -- when a letter arrives from the lady herself. She informs Mr. Cox that she has chosen to marry a third man, Mr. Knox.
As Mr. Box and Mr. Cox rejoice over their narrow escape from matrimony, Mr. Box suddenly suspects that Mr. Cox is his long-lost brother. When Mr. Cox confirms that he doesn't have a birthmark on his left arm, Mr. Box decides that that's conclusive -- neither had his brother! -- and the curtain falls on a scene of family celebration.
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