Mrs. Slater - e-CTLT

“The Dear Departed” was the first of many to be
reproduced at the gaiety theatre.
It is a pungent satire on the moral degradation of
British middle-class society.
The two sister, Mrs. Slater and Mrs. Jordan, are so
mean and materialistic that instead
Of mourning over their father’s death, they
planned to divide his belongings. When the old
man says that
He will , ’leaving all his bit of thing to whomsoever,
he living with when he dies’ , they at once change
their attitude and offer to have their father with
(William) Stanley Houghton (22 February 1881–10
December 1913) was an English Playwright.
•His plays are set locally in Northern England, but
represent universal aspects of human nature.
•During the summer of the year 1912, he
developed Viral pneumonia in Venice and moved back
to Manchester where he died in December
from meningitis.
•He was unmarried.
1)Abel Merryweather
2)Mrs. Amelia Slater
3)Henry Slater
5)Ben Jordan
He is an old widower. Since the death of his wife, he has been living,
by turns, with his daughters Amelia Slater and Elizabeth Jordan. He
is fun-loving, jovial man who likes to go to the pub and have a drink.
He is quick-witted and too intelligent to be fooled by any show of
affection by his daughters. He knows them too well. But still, because
they are his daughters he was planning to leave them something in
his will. However, when he discovers however they behaved, believing
him to be dead. He decides to change his will, leave everything to the
person he is living with at d time of death, and also decides to marry a
widow, Mrs. Shorrocks, the keeper of "Ring-o-Bells". He is a likeable
old man, much better than his daughters.
Mrs. Slater or rather Amelia is a very
Vigorous plump, vulgar, selfish and a
greedy type of lady.. She is ready to do
anything to do her work and she also has
no feelings for her father, rather she only
has concern about the belongings This
shows that Amelia is a very disgusting
lady. She is ever ready with a lie.
Henry Slater, the husband of Amelia ,is a
stooping , heavy man with a drooping
moustache. He is not mean like his wife
but he has no strength to contradict what
his wife says.
When Amelia asks him to put on the
slipper of grandfather, he reluctant to do
it. He is a selfish and cunning, but not to
the extent his wife is.
In the play, the "dear departed", Victoria is envious,
opportunist as well as very mean. She always were
in search of chances to grab their parents valuables.
Rather than being sad at heart to their so called dead
father, they were and chances to grab all the
valuables and belongings. This shows that both of
the woman were not at all affectionate towards each
other nor did they follow their filial obligation
towards their parents and considered him as a
Ben Jordan is the husband of Elizabeth.
He is a jolly little man accustomed to be
humorous. He has bright
Chirpy little voice. Chirpily he remarks,
‘We have all got to die sometime or other’.
Even on a grave occasion,
He humorously remark about the
grandfather ,”If there was one thing he
couldn’t bear ,it was water.”Internally he
is very timid.
•Play opens with Mrs. . Slater (Amelia) (daughter of Abel Merryweather & wife of
Henry Slater)
•Mrs. Slater is preparing to receive her sister Mrs. Elizabeth Jordan with her husband
Mr. Ben Jordan
•Reason--- The Jordans are visiting the Slaters to “talk over” the father’s affairs as
the Slaters have informed them about the death of the old man.
•Though the ‘death’ has been discovered a few hours ago, Mrs. Slater hardly seems
•She instructs her 10 year old daughter Victoria to change into a white frock with a
black sash (cloth belt)
•Reason—if her aunt (Mrs. Jordan) were to discover her in a colourful dress soon
after her grandfather’s death, she would get sarcastic and taunting.
•Mrs. Slater grabs Grandpa’s new pair of carpet slippers asks her husband to wear
them( despite them being of a smaller size)
•She also hastily shifts his new Bureau to her room and substitutes it with an old,
discarded and shabby chest of drawers.
•She makes sure all this is done hurriedly, with main door locked so that her sister
(Mrs. Jordan) doesn’t arrive and see.
She also warns her daughter Victoria not to open the door even if the Jordans arrive
till the shifting is complete
•Henry Slater feebly attempts to stop her as all this does not appear ‘delicate’ to him
(After-all grandfather had just died!)
•Victoria also dislike s this ‘pinching’ (Stealing) but Mrs. Slater is hardly bothered.
•Mrs. Slater has just one thing on her mind---that that particular piece of furniture
should look like it had always been in her room and belonged to the Slaters, because
she didn’t want Mrs. Jordan to claim/bargain over it as part of their father’s
•She also grabs the grandfather clock.
•Her mourning dress is not quite upto the mark and the fact that her sister (Mrs.
Jordan) might outshine her was a fact that was strongly playing on her mind.
•The Slaters are in for a shock----the Jordans arrive while they are in the process of
shifting furniture
•The Jordans are dressed in complete and proper mourning outfits.
•The sisters meet each other and pose that they are greatly disturbed. They seem to be
sniffing non-existent tears.
•The Jordans then accuse the Slaters of not sending for a doctor if Mr. Pringle ( the
family doctor was unavailable)
•The Slaters attempt to defend this.
•The conversation moves on and Mrs. Slater informs how their father had gone out
early , soon after breakfast to pay the insurance premium
•She also declares how he had come back drunk and fallen asleep
•She further mentions how his dinner tray had to be kept on the Bureau as he was
• She quickly realizes that they had shifted furniture and says the tray was put on
the ‘chest of drawers. She was relieved that nobody really noticed.
•She then also tells how she found her father lying dead and cold in the bed and how
Henry was informed about it.
•The Jordans who had come to the Slaters on the sad occasion of the father’s death
preferred to have tea before going to have a look at his dead person to pay tribute.
•In the meantime they also discuss the obituary note that they would like to put in
the newspaper.
•It is indeed troublesome as a reader to notice that these characters are all keen to
have something ‘more for the look of it’ (about the obituary) rather than as a content
to express heart-felt grief.
•Leaving the obituary topic undecided, Mrs. Jordan suggests that a list of all
grandfather’s assets should be drawn up.
•In the same breath she claims that her father had promised his gold watch to Jimmy,
her son.
•Mrs. Slater expresses her doubt about this.
•Ben brushes aside this topic and asks if the Slaters had the receipt of
the premium paid by Mr. Merryweather.
•It is then that the grandchild Victoria informs that he didn’t go to the
town to pay the premium, but went to Ring-o-bells ( his favourite pub
run by John Shorroks widow)
•This probability of his not having paid the premium upsets everyone
as they felt they would lose out on a lot of money.
•To confirm this , Mrs. Slater sends Victoria to grandfather’s room to
‘fetch the keys’ to look for the receipt in the ‘bureau’
•In the meantime, the Jordans get suspicious about the ‘bureau’ and
ask a whole lot of questions and also examine it.
•Before the truth of the bureau comes out, Victoria comes down to say
that Grandfather was getting up!!!
•Immediately after this Abel Merryweather appears on the scene.
•He is surprised to see the Jordans there.
•He is equally puzzled and curious about their mourning outfits.
•His queries are answered clumsily by all present
•Soon after, they all settle for tea. Mrs. Jordan’s efforts to clarify things make
grandfather remember having a recollection of the fact that the Slaters had come to
his room to carry the ‘bureau ‘away.
•He is shocked to see his bureau and the Clock in the sitting room.
•Elizabeth Jordan tries to explain that the Slaters tried to rob him after they thought
him to be ‘dead’
•Mr. Merryweather is amused to hear about his own death.
•He, however expresses his shock at his daughters’ hurry to divide his
•He then announces that he would make a fresh will naming all his assets for
whoever he would be living with then.
•Both the sisters vie with each other to have the father with them.
•Abel Merryweather gives them a shock by announcing that he has three important
things to do on Monday next—
1.Get his Will altered
2.Pay his premium
3.Get married to Mrs. John Shorroks (Owner of Ring-o-Bells)
•He also declares that he would move with bag ‘n’ baggage to Ring-o-Bells along
with the Bureau and leave everything to the lady he was marrying.
•He departs from them finally.

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