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Princess Ida (or, Castle Adamant)

Summary

The first act starts at King Hildebrand's palace, where the courtiers and loyal subjects are awaiting the arrival of King Gama and his daughter, the Princess Ida, who has been promised in marriage to Hilarion, Hildebrand's son. When Gama arrives without Ida, he explains to the enraged Hildebrand that she is at Castle Adamant where she presides over a women's university. Gama and his three sons are seized and held as hostages, while Hilarion and his two friends, Cyril and Florian, set off to Castle Adamant to try to convince the Princess to fulfill her promise.

The second act opens at Castle Adamant, with the pupils of the university in discourse with Lady Psyche, Professor of Humanities and Lady Blanche, Professor of Abstract Sciences. Hilarion and his friends sneak onto the grounds and disguise themselves as girls to avoid being detected. They meet the Princess and ask if they may enter the university. Ida agrees, and the deception is successfully kept up by the three men until at luncheon, Cyril becomes tipsy and discloses Hilarion's identity. Ida tries to escape from the presence of the men and falls into a creek, from which she is rescued by Hilarion. In spite of the rescue, she orders the arrest of the men. At that moment, Melissa announces the approach of the army of King Hildebrand. Led by Hildebrand, the soldiers invade the Castle Adamant grounds and the curtain falls with the Princess hurling defiance at them.

At the opening of the third act, Ida and her pupils are preparing to defend the Castle Adamant. Their courage ebbs, however, and finally Ida is left alone. Her father arrives at this juncture with a message from Hildebrand to the effect that he is loath to war with women. He suggests that the Princess should allow the question of her submission to be decided by a fight between Gama's three sons and Hilarion, Cyril and Florian. In the contest, the Hilarion and his friends prevail and Ida yields to Hilarion.

 



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