After just two years of marriage, Loveless grew tired of his wife, Amanda, and abandoned her to travel the continent and fritter away his fortune on women and drink. He returns to London, poor and starving. Amanda hears that Loveless believes her to be dead and, with the help of Loveless' old friend Young Worthy, disguises herself as a high class prostitute and seduces her own husband. After a night of passion, she reveals her true identity and Loveless realizes that maybe his wife is not so boring after all. He agrees to reform and their marriage is restored. Meanwhile, Sir William Wisewoud has made marriage plans for his daughter, Narcissa. He wants her to marry Elder Worthy, little knowing that she is actually in love with his younger brother, Young Worthy, and Elder Worthy loves Hillaria, Narcissa’s cousin. The couples dupe Sir William into signing misleading marriage agreements in which the brothers' names have been swapped. However, they must also fend off the unwanted attentions of Sir Novelty Fashion, an extravagant fop who takes a fancy to Narcissa but has an angry mistress on his tail.
Disguise, deception, and seduction are on the menu in the first play to bridge the gap between Restoration debauchery and the new sentimentalism of the early eighteenth century.
Love's Last Shift guide sections