Her World Against a Lie

Florence Marryat adapted her novel Her World Against a Lie with George Neville and took the role of Hephzibah Horton when the play opened at the Adelphi Theatre in February 1881.  In a rather cross letter to The Era, she makes it clear that Neville was responsible only for constructing the “dramatic skeleton”, and that she wrote the rest of it herself.

There was an exchange of letters in The Era between Marryat and Blythe, who she accused of plagiarising her work for the play A Brave Coward.  Blythe claimed never to have read the novel.  Hazelwood also produced an unauthorised adaptation, Our Daily Bread, and didn’t even both to change the character names.  Marryat referred to it as simply a transcript of her own play.  The lead actress who played Delia Moray, Gertrude Norman, also produced her own transatlantic version of the play under the name of Delia.

Although critics were mixed in their response to the drama itself, they were generally united in praise of Marryat’s performance:

At a morning performance of this piece the authoress, Miss Marryat, played a principal part, and played it well.  “Upon my wor(l)d its true” and “not a word of a lie.” Fun

Miss Florence Marryat made a hit as Mrs Horton.  The strong-minded asserter of woman’s rights was hit off to the life, the humour of the part was well brought out, and here most certainly there was very little room for fault-finding. The Era

Unfortunately, there seems to be no surviving copy of the play script, only a few soot-blackened pages at the British Library, so we can only surmise as to how Florence Marryat dramatised her powerful novel.

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