THE NEW ACADEMY, or
THE NEW EXCHANGE
Published in 1658.
Harbage sets as the limits of its original production between 16231640. Recent scholarship strongly favors 1635.
a synoptic, alphabetical character list
AUNT, RACHEL MAUDLIN'S
A "ghost character." She is mentioned during Matchil's fight with his new wife. He threatens to send Rachel back to her "old Aunt the apple-woman, at Hockly-hole."
Niece to Sir Swithin Whimlby. She and Erasmus are most removed from and critical of the foolish characters around them. She rejects the plan by Sir Whimlby and Lady Nestlecock that she marry Nehemiah, pointing out that she would quickly grow tired of laughing at him, does not find beating him worth the trouble, and does not want to be reduced to the "common town-trick" of cuckolding him. Her uncle takes her to the New Academy in hopes that she may be taught to requite Nehemiah's wooing in a courtly manner. While there, Erasmus helps her hide from Nehemiah and is secretly married to her himself.
Father to Hannah Camelions, stepfather to Valentine Askal. Prior to the action of the play, he married Valentine's mother and fathered Hannah, whom he sent to live in London. He refuses to supply money from his wife's estate to her spendthrift son Valentine; however, he sends Hannah £100 instructing her to relieve Valentine's debts as she sees fit. After he and Old Lafoy conduct business on the Isle of Wight, the two men travel to London to locate their children.
Old Matchil's deceitful apprentice. Cash appears to serve Matchil humbly during the day, but at night he sneaks out dressed in lace and a periwig to spend money stolen from Matchil on feasts and prostitutes. Stigood, knowing of his exploits, blackmails him. Cash receives the news of Philip Matchil's supposed death and is disappointed that Joyce, as Matchil's heir (whom he had hoped to court), will now be a popular marriage prospect. When Cash overhears Matchil reading a letter describing Philip's death, he mistakes the description of Philip's riotous lifestyle for a description of himself and assumes that someone has informed Matchil of his embezzlement. After Matchil asks Cash to bring him a full account of his finances so that he can make a will, Cash panics and fleas the house "with a strong and lusty Porter / Loaden with money." Dressed as a gallant, he discovers Joyce and Gabriella in the New Academy. Strigood assumes that Cash, fearing Matchil, will not reveal their location, so he makes Cash a confederate in his scheme. Despite the danger, Cash goes to Old Matchil (who briefly mistakes him for Philip) and reveals Joyce's location in hopes that Matchil will allow him to marry her, which he does not. Matchil does, however, ultimately forgive Cash.
Lady Nestlecock's servant, he is secretly in love with her and hints of his affections to her by suggesting that if she married him, as Matchil married his servant, Nehemiah would approve of the match. After eavesdropping on her and Sir Whimlby's courtship, he vows to cross their match. He instructs Nehemiah in the art of being a man, in exchange for which Nehemiah advises his mother to marry Ephraim rather than Sir Whimlby. Lady Nestlecock reacts to the suggestion with outrage and commands Ephraim to leave her sight. He does, however, accompany Lady Nestlecock and Sir Whimlby to the New Academy where he watches the exterior door.
A gentleman and companion of Valentine. His nickname is Mus. At the beginning of the play, he and Valentine arrive to dine with Old Matchil, whom they have previously found entertaining, but are told on their arrival that he is grieving from the news of his son's death. Erasmus had hoped to match Valentine with either Joyce or Gabriella and himself with the other, primarily because Valentine has become a financial burden. Erasmus is the more morally upstanding character in the play and looks disapproving on Valentine's behavior with Hannah and Rachel. He accompanies Valentine and Rachel to the New Academy to prevent his friend from acting on his desire for her. While there, he helps Blithe slip away from her uncle and secretly marries her. He also positions Rafe where he can see Valentine begging for more money from Hannah.
FIRST WIFE to OLD MATCHIL
A "ghost character." She is depicted as a domineering woman who controlled Matchil during their marriage. Since her death six years prior to the beginning of the play, Matchil has "kept continual feast and jollity." Remembering her, he exclaims, "were I on her grave, I could cut capers."
The Foot-post delivers a letter from Captain Hardyman to his daughter Hannah in II.i. The letter contains a bill of charge for £100, which Hardyman instructs his daughter to pay to her half-brother, Valentine, at her discretion. He initially gives the letter to Rafe, whose refusal to look at it once he realizes that it is addressed to his wife dramatizes his lack of jealousy. He mocks Rafe for this faith in his wife.
Gabriella takes on the name Frances at the New Academy. Although she fears for her reputation and safety, she sees little option but to aid in Strigood's scam by teaching dancing, singing and courtly behavior. She falls in love with Galliard (Frances LaFoy in disguise).
A Frenchman and son to Old Lafoy. Philip was raised with him in France. The two travel to London to see Philip's father. After arriving, they decide to assume false identities and visit the attractions of London. Frances takes on the name Galliard. At the New Academy, he falls in love with his sister Gabriella (who has taken the name Frances as a disguise). Although Stigood agrees to prostitute her to him, he insists on marrying her instead. The couple gives the impression that they have in fact been married in secret, but when it is revealed that they are brother and sister, they reveal that they have not yet actually carried out the marriage. In the end, Frances agrees to marry Joyce Matchil.
A Frenchwoman and daughter of Old Lafoy. She has been reared by Matchil in England while Philip has been reared by Old Lafoy in France. In Matchil's rage over his son's supposed death, he throws her out of his house. When Joyce intercedes for her and draws her father's wrath, Gabriella begs Matchil to reconcile with his daughter and advises Joyce to abandon her. After Joyce refuses to do so, the two women agree to go to Lady Nestlecock's house in hopes that Matchil's anger will subside. Strigood steals away with the two women and uses them to establish the New Academy at the Camelions lodging. There, Gabriella takes on the name Frances. Advertising lessons from the women in dancing, fashion and courtly behavior, Strigood collects money from men under the impression that they are purchasing sex. Although Gabriella and Joyce remain chaste, they wish to escape Strigood because they fear their true identities will be discovered and their reputations ruined. Eventually, Strigood attempts to prostitute her to Galliard, but Galliard (actually her brother, Frances LaFoy, in disguise) bowing to her objections refuses to do so and instead contracts to marry her. The couple gives the impression that they have in fact been married in secret, but when it is revealed that they are brother and sister, they reveal that they have not actually carried out the marriage yet. In the end, Gabriella agrees to marry Philip Matchil.
Frances Lafoy disguises himself as Galliard, a French spark, when he travels to the New Academy. There, he is more direct and forceful in his wooing of the women than is Philip. When Strigood agrees to prostitute Gabriella to him, he refuses to rape her and insists on marrying her. The two are contracted, but they soon discover that they are siblings and call off the marriage. "Galliard" agrees to join the New Academy, teaching courtly behavior to Blithe, Nehemiah and the other visitors at the end.
A "ghost character." Wife to Sir Swithin Whimlby. Her death prior to the action of the play set off her husband's continual crying and poetic musings.
Wife to Rafe Camelions, daughter to Captain Hardyman. She is an honest and virtuous woman, but she fears that Rafe's complete lack of jealousy is causing people to assume that he is a wittol. He refuses to alter his trusting behavior, so she devises a plan to make him jealous. She begins a non-sexual relationship with Valentine Askal by staring at him desirously and giving him money. One day before Rafe leaves for the ducking pond, she asks him to write a word or sentence that he will recognize later on a letter that has arrived for her. She then agrees to rent lodging in their personal residence for Stigood to found the New Academy. When Valentine brings Rachel to the Academy, he takes Hannah aside and asks her for more money. Rafe overhears this conversation and finally erupts in jealously. Hannah then reveals that (unbeknownst to all but her), Valentine is her half-brother from whom she has been separated and the money that she has been giving him has actually come from their father. To prove this, she reveals a letter from her father containing a bill of charge for £100 and instructions to supply her brother with the money as she sees fit. This is the same letter upon which Rafe has written Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame to any who think evil of it).
Joyce takes on the name Jane while at the New Academy. Although she fears for her reputation and safety, she sees little option but to aid in her uncle's scam by teaching dancing, singing and courtly behavior. She falls in love with Papillion (Philip Matchil in disguise).
Old Matchil's daughter. Gabriella was raised with her. When Matchil (in a rage over his son's supposed death) throws Gabriella out of the house, Joyce refuses to abandon her. Matchil responds by throwing her out as well. The two women agree to go to Lady Nestlecock's house in hopes that Matchil's anger will subside. Strigood steals away with the two women and uses them to establish the New Academy at the Camelions lodging. There, Joyce takes the name Jane. Advertising lessons from the women in dancing, fashion and courtly behavior, Strigood collects money from men under the impression that they are purchasing sex. Although Gabriella and Joyce remain chaste, they wish to escape Strigood because they fear their true identities will be discovered and their reputations ruined. Eventually, Strigood attempts to prostitute her to Papillion (Philip Matchil in disguise), but he assents to her objections and refuses to do so and instead contracts to marry her. The couple gives the impression that they have in fact been married in secret, but when it is revealed that they are brother and sister, they reveal that they have not actually carried out the marriage yet. In the end, Joyce agrees to marry Frances Lafoy.
A "ghost character." Husband to Lady Nestlecock and father to Nehemiah. He died prior to the action of the play.
A widow, around age Fifty-five, sister to Old Matchil, half-sister to Stigood. She is a busybody who dotes on her son Nehemiah. Disliked by Old Matchil, she nonetheless visits him immediately upon hearing of his son's death. Upon learning that Joyce has displeased her father, Lady Nestlecock offers to take her in and teach her "duty" while also expressing hope that Nehemiah will now become Matchil's heir. Her plans to watch over Joyce and Gabriella are thwarted when the two women escape with Strigood. Meanwhile, she is busy trying to arrange a double marriage between herself and Sir Swithin Whimlby and between her son and Whimlby's niece Blithe Tripshort. When Blithe refuses to marry Nehemiah, Lady Nestlecock agrees with Whimlby's idea that the youths should be educated at the New Academy. While there, she succumbs to Valentine's flirtations and rejects Whimlby for him.
Strigood rents lodging for the three of them from Hannah Camelions under the name Lightfoot. As Lightfoot he claims to be Joyce and Gabriella's father. At Hannah Camelions' home, he establishes the New Academy, which purports to give instruction in courtly behavior but quickly gains the (undeserved) reputation as a house of prostitution.
Son to Lady Nestlecock. He is nineteen years old, but has been coddled excessively by his mother and spends his time playing a Jew's trump, reading ballads or playing childish games. He is at first excited about the proposed marriage between himself and Blithe Tripshort, but he becomes disillusioned when she refuses to play games with him, breaks his Jew's trump and throws one of his bounding rocks at his head. In the altercation between Blithe and Lady Nestlecock that ensues, he is impressed by Blithe's ability to "out-scold" his mother and resolves once again to marry her. To help him court her, Ephraim educates him in the art of being a man. To this end, Nehemiah destroys all of his toys, starts wearing a sword and memorizes a jest book (which he misunderstands, identifying himself with the characters at the butt of the jests). In return, he advocates Ephraim as a suitable husband for this mother. He agrees to go to the New Academy with Blithe as he wants to learn French. After losing Blithe, he advises his mother to marry Valentine.
Father to Frances. He raised Philip Matchil in France while Old Matchil raised Gabriella Lafoy in London. He sends Frances and Philip ahead of him to visit Old Matchil while he conducts some business with Captain Hardyman on the Isle of Wight. Upon arriving in London, he is shocked to learn that Old Matchil has not seen the men and is under the impression that Philip is dead.
A London merchant, brother to Lady Nestlecock and half-brother to Strigood. True to his name, Matchil married a domineering woman whose death he has been celebrating continuously for the six years leading up to the beginning of the play. He has raised Old Lafoy's daughter Gabriella in London while Lafoy has raised Philip Matchil in France. Upon receiving news that after living a riotous life, his son has been slain in an impetuous quarrel, Matchil falls into a deep sorrow. He quickly resolves to banish his grief in favor of the "nobler and more manly passion" of anger. Blaming Lafoy for not tempering his son's "youthful follies" into "manly virtues," he orders Cash to cast up his accounts so that he can draw up a will before traveling to France to face Lafoy in a duel. In a rage, he throws Gabriella out of his house along with his own daughter Joyce who attempts to intercede on Gabriella's behalf. Having disinherited his daughter and not wishing to leave his wealth to any of his relationshis spendthrift half-brother, his already wealthy sister or milksop nephewhe decides to marry for a second time to produce an heir. Not wishing to be dominated in marriage again, he takes as wife his maid Rachel Maudlin, whose obedience he demonstrates to Valentine and Erasmus by her eagerness to execute her employer's peevish commands. After his marriage, he takes his new bride to Lady Nestlecock's house, where he learns that his daughter, Gabriella and Strigood have disappeared. In a strikingly hypocritical moment, he upbraids Lady Nestlecock for not having looked after his daughter better. He rails against her, her son and her fiancée and encourages his wife to do the same. He is at first delighted to learn that Rachel has a sharp tongue. However, when he criticizes Sir Whimlby for crying over his dead wife rather than laughing, which is "the manlier passion," she upbraids him, announcing her plans no longer to play a subservient role now that they have been made equal by marriage. Suddenly aware that he is once again in an ill match, he returns home, followed by his scolding wife. There, Erasmus and Valentine attempt to maintain peace between the two. When Rachel leaves the room with Erasmus and Valentine, with whom she has been flirting, Matchil repents not only his mockery of Whimlby's grief but also his anger towards Old Lafoy and his behavior to his daughter, all of which he attributes to "unbridled wild affections" and "contempt of counsel." He speaks secretly with Rachel and they agree that she will be allow to dominate him in private as long as she allows him to maintain the appearance of dominance. When Rachel sneaks away to the New Academy, he is delighted by the thought that she may have disappeared. He is also encouraged (though perplexed) by the arrival of Old Lafoy, who tells him that Philip is not dead. At this point, Cash enters dressed as a gallant and Matchil mistakes him for Philip. This confusion is soon cleared up and Cash leads Matchil to the New Academy, where he finds his children.
After losing his money at dice in the New Academy, Cash asserts that he should be called by the pseudonym "Outlash."
Philip Matchil disguises himself as Papillion, a French spark, when he travels to the New Academy. There, claiming to know little of the language, he is more reserved in this wooing of the women. When Strigood agrees to prostitute Joyce to him, he refuses to rape her and insists on marrying her. The two are contracted and he agrees to join the New Academy, teaching courtly behavior to Blithe, Nehemiah and the other visitors at the end.
Son to Old Matchil. Philip has been raised in France by Old Lafoy while Gabriella has been raised in London. He and Frances travel to London to see his father. Upon arriving, he learns that Matchil has cast out Joyce and remarried. He wants to learn more of this matter before meeting Matchil, so the two decide to assume false identities and visit the attractions of London. Philip takes on the name Papillion. At the New Academy, he falls in love with Jane (not recognizing that she is his sister Joyce in disguise). Although Stigood agrees to prostitute her to him, he insists on marrying her instead. The couple gives the impression that they have in fact been married in secret, but when it is revealed that they are brother and sister, they reveal that they have not actually carried out the marriage yet. In the end, Philip agrees to marry Gabriella Lafoy.
A "ghost character." Rafe Camelions secures a priest (only mentioned in the text) willing to marry Erasmus and Blithe in secret.
Servant to Old Matchil, later his wife. As a servant, she is obsequious and fearful of Matchil, leading him to believe that she will make a perfect wife. Once they are married, however, she is emboldened and rebukes Lady Nestlecock for calling her "drudge and droile." At first this change pleases Matchil, but when he criticizes Sir Whimlby for crying over his dead wife rather than laughing, which is "the manlier passion," Rachel scolds him. She rebukes him for being officious and tells him that now that they are made equal through marriage she will not abstain from criticizing his behavior. Erasmus and Valentine try to make peace between the couple, but Rachel, claiming that she has not been herself since Matchil made her rich through marriage threatens to make Matchil poor by spending excessively. She also threatens to cuckold Matchil, to which end, she agrees to be "mistress" to Valentine who asks to be her "servant." After Matchil repents, she agrees to let him maintain the appearance of dominance in public so long as she remains dominant in private. Later, she sneaks away with Valentine and Erasmus to the New Academy. There, she bickers again with Lady Nestlecock but the two end up reconciling in a parody of the courtly speech that the Academy proposes to teach. At the end of the play, she kneels to Matchil and humbly asks for his forgiveness.
Husband to Hannah. He is a merchant with a shop and residence in the New Exchange. His fundamental characteristic is an unflagging faith in his wife's virtue and an absolute refusal to be jealous, which has earned him a reputation as a wittol. He repeatedly dismisses what others think of him by invoking the motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense ("Shame be to he who thinks evil of it"). He spends the majority of his time outside the shop at the ducking pond. He secretly arranges for a priest to marry Erasmus and Blithe. In return, Erasmus positions him to overhear Valentine asking Hannah for more money at which point Rafe flies into a jealous rage. Hannah then reveals that Valentine is her half-brother and that she has orchestrated the scenario to provoke his jealousy.
SERVENT to OLD MATCHIL
In the final act, a servant announces that Rachel Maudlin cannot be found and that a stranger (actually Cash) has come to see Matchil.
SIR SWITHIN WHIMLBY
A widower, around sixty years of age, and uncle to Blithe Tripshort. Throughout the play, Whimlby vacillates between bouts of uncontrollable grief for his dead wife Grissel and excessive joy at the prospect of marrying Lady Nestlecock. He likens Lady Nestlecock to his dead wife in the insipid poetry (mostly consisting of dimeter couplets) that he uses to court her. He encourages his niece to marry Nehemiah, whom he views as an upstanding young man. In II.ii, Matchil rebukes him for crying for his dead wife rather than laughing. At this point, Whimlby does, in fact, laughbut he laughs at Matchil's misfortune in marrying Rachel. When Blithe continually proves unwilling to marry Nehemiah, he takes her to the New Academy to be taught how to requite Nehemiah's courtship in a courtly manner. While there, he witnesses Lady Nestlecock flirting with Valentine and falls out of love with her. In the end, he is forced to accept Blithe's marriage to Erasmus.
Half-brother to Old Matchil and Lady Nestlecock. Having squandered his inheritance in riotous living, he visits Old Matchil claiming to offer sympathies for Young Matchil's death but really for the opportunity eat Matchil's food and extort money from Cash. Upon learning that Matchil plans to remarry, Strigood reminds him of the unhappiness of his first marriage and advises him instead to secure a good marriage for Joyce, bequeath his land to Nehemiah and £100 a year to Strigood himself. After Matchil rejects his advice, Strigood secrets Joyce and Gabriella away. Everyone assumes that he has sold them into prostitution. His actual plan is only slightly less dastardly. Taking on the name Lightfoot and posing as the women's father, Strigood rents lodging in the Camelions' house, which he converts into the New Academy. Advertising lessons from the two women in dancing, fashion and courtly behavior, he collects money from men under the impression that they are purchasing sex. He contrives in earnest to prostitute them to Papillion and Galliard (who are actually the women's brothers in disguise, though they do not recognize the women). The women are saved only by the two men's desire to marry them. When Papillion and Galliard confront Strigood, he claims that he only intended to test the women's honesty but admits that they are actually not his daughters. After his plans are thwarted, Strigood confesses to having written the letter that announced Philip's death in hopes of extorting a boon from Matchil's estate.
Stepson to Captain Hardy and a wastrel gentleman. Denied money from his mother's estate by his stepfather, he has been supplied with money by his companion Erasmus and by London tradesmen's wives whom he seduces. At the beginning of the play, he and Erasmus have arrived for dinner at Old Matchil's house in hopes of securing a match with either Joyce or Gabriella. Upon learning that Matchil is mourning the news of his son's death, Valentine delights in the fact that Joyce has now become her father's sole heir. After learning that Joyce has been disinherited, he turns his attention to seducing Hannah Camelions and Rachel Maudlin. Hannah rejects his suggestions that they should steal away for a secret meeting, but she does give him money. Rachel, on the other hand, agrees to accept him as a "servant" and is receptive to his invitations to visit Hyde Park and the New Academy until she talks with Old Matchil. Valentine shrewdly surmises that she and Matchil have struck an agreement whereby he will be dominant in the public eye and she in private life. He is, thus, undaunted and slips away with her to the New Academy. While there, he flirts with Lady Nestlecock and asks Hannah for more money. Rafe overhears the latter exchange and flies into a jealous rage. Valentine refuses to reassure Rafe that he has not had sex with Hannah, so Hannah is forced to reveal that she is actually his half-sister. He is then left to pursue a match with Lady Nestlecock.