Elizabeth Kidd's My Lord Guardian

Elizabeth Kidd's My Lord GuardianSydney Archer torments her guardian, the Marquess of Lyle, with her headstrong and affectionate behavior. She agrees to go to London in order to be introduced to society, but her real desire is to act. And indeed she does act--as a disguised Ariel to the Prospero of a rather pompous, yet self-proclaimed artistic nobleman. She is something of a bluestocking as well, as one of her proponents, Cedric Maitland, notes, "Bad enough that she reads Shakespeare and Milton rather than Scott and Byron" (44). Long before her debut as Ariel, Lyle has likened her to a badly dressed Ophelia (he rescued her when she fell in the brook), thus demonstrating his appropriateness as a husband.

Lord D'Arcy, however, is the match to the Shakespearean tinder in this novel and, to all public appearances, Sydney's match as well. However, the two are actually in close consultation about their performance. She completely loses her cavalier when her performance so thoroughly outstrips his than the ton imagines Kean to have been the disguised actor. She gives up the theatre for writing novels at the end of the book.


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