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y separately published work icon The Fight: A Play in Four Acts single work   drama   - Four acts
Issue Details: First known date: 1915... 1915 The Fight: A Play in Four Acts
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Ettie Beaumont is the heir to the inheritance of her deceased mother and the adopted niece of Mr and Mrs Shotwell, who have raised Ettie on their country property and invested both hers and their own more modest income in the banks. When Ettie's eyesight is damaged in an accident on the same night that the Shotwells learn of the loss of both fortunes, they resolve to keep the extent of both damages secret from her for fear that she will consider her life too much of a burden to them. A month later, her eyesight not having recovered, she is visited by eye specialist Dr Stanhope at the request of Ettie's suitor Tom Inglis. There Dr Stanhope privately confronts Inglis about the irresponsibility and dishonesty of pursuing marriage with Ettie in spite of his untreatable syphilis, as well as Inglis's ill use of his previous love interest, Nance Crossthwaite. Dr Stanhope, intrigued by Ettie's case and her relationship with Tom, takes Ettie into his own home for closer care, where she comes into contact with Nance and with Dr Stanhope's strong views on segregation of the 'unfit'. Meanwhile, her aunt and uncle have quietly sold their old home and taken their nephew out of school, with Ettie remaining unaware until they visit six weeks later for the momentous removal of her bandages and all is revealed with the help of their blabber-mouthed servant Maggie. Upon overhearing a conversation between Nance and Dr Stanhope about Inglis's impending visit, Ettie finally learns that the identity of Nance's noble and self-sacrificing lover, who supposedly distanced himself from Nance entirely to spare her the pains of his ill-health, is Inglis himself. The play concludes when Dr Stanhope foils her plans for suicide, and then with immense fortitude Ettie rejects the faithless Inglis.



MR SHOTWELL her husband

BOBBIE their nephew

ETTIE BEAUMONT their niece by adoption and an obvious gentlewoman

MAGGIE their servant

TOM INGLISH a solicitor


MRS STANHOPE his mother





  • Scanned by The University of New England, NSW, 2016. Original held in the Campbell Howard Collection, Dixson Library.
  • Records for the 1915 production include an extra character named Florrie, and describe some elements of the plot that vary from the manuscript held in the Campbell Howard Collection. A Weekly Times review identifies Tom Inglis as 'consumptive' rather than syphilitic, and reports Ettie's treatment as eventually successful, which could be supposed to produce a considerable difference in the play's conclusion. (B. J. O. 'Plays and Players.' Weekly Times, 4 Sept. 1915, 8.) These variations suggest that the Campbell Howard Collection manuscript may be a later version of the play first performed.

Production Details

  • 1915: The Miniature Theatre, Oakleigh. 28 August [second performance], 4 September.

    • Cast E. C. Davidson (Mrs Shotwell), Percy Henry (Mr Shotwell), J. A. Davidson (Dr Stanhope), Mrs Barker (Mrs Stanhope), Gwen Aitken (Maggie and Florrie), Isabel de Soyres (Ettie Beaumont), Peggy Mudge (Nance Crossthwaite), Arthur S. Nelson (Tom Inglis), Baden Gilber (Bobbie).

    1916: Performed on 19 September in the Australian Church, Melbourne.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

      1915 .
      Written as: George Byfield
      (Manuscript) assertion
      • Held at the Campbell Howard Collection, Dixson Library, University of New England.
Last amended 26 Feb 2018 10:39:45