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La Jeunesse de Louis XV

drame/play, pub:1854

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     A prose comedy in five acts. It has never been published or performed in this state. One can affirm, almost with certainty, that Dumas had no collaborator.
     Though actually written at the end of 1853, like "La Jeunesse de Louis XIV.," this play must be listed under the following year, where the other falls owing to date of production, since it was a later composition
     A clever and witty comedy, worthy to stand with his other famous pieces of that nature. It was banned by the censor for political reasons, like its companion. Some years later Dumas greatly modified it, cutting out much, reduced it to three acts, and had it performed as "Le Verrou de la Reine" (see page 324.)
     For a considerable time "La Jeunesse de Louis XV." was thought to be lost, but was actually in private ownership, having been given by Dumas fils to M. Moreau-Chaslon in 1877. On the dispersal of this gentleman's library it was purchased by M. Glinel, and when, in its turn, his collection was disposed of, it was bought for the Reed Dumas Collection.
     This MS. is written on the outer half only of both surfaces of sheets of that azure paper, 280 by 440 mm., which Dumas so much affected ; it is bound in half black morocco with black cloth sides, gold lettered. The writing is small, beautiful and clear, with the lines extremely straight, and, as usual with him, leaving practically no margin at top, bottom or edge ; it has but a very few corrections or erasures. There is no list of characters, but on the front page, on the half left blank, is this inscription :—"J'ai offert et avec grand plaisir à Moreau-Chaslon ce manuscrit de mon père, comme un souvenir affectueux et durable de nos bonnes relations.—A. Dumas fils. 15 Octobre 1877." ("I have offered and with the greatest pleasure to Moreau-Chaslon this manuscript of my father's, as an affectionate and enduring memory of our good relations.—A. Dumas fils. 15 October 1877.") At the conclusion of the first act occurs this memorandum: "Commence le 11 à 7 heures du matin; fini le 12 à 2 heures ½.—Al. Dumas." (" Commenced on the 11th at 7 o'clock in the morning; finished on the 12th at half-past two.") At the end of the third act he notes : "Fini Vendredi à 6 heures ½ du soir. " ("Finished on Friday at half-past six in the evening.") After the words: "Fin du 4e Acte," Dumas has written: "Samedi, commence à minuit—fini à neuf heures du matin.—Al. Dumas." (" End of the fourth act . . . Saturday, commenced at midnight—finished at nine o'clock in the morning.—Al. Dumas.") Finally, at the conclusion of the last act is this inscription: "Commence Samedi à 10 heures du matin, fini à midi moins un quart.—Al. Dumas." ("Commenced Saturday at 10 o'clock in the morning, finished a quarter of an hour before midday.—Al. Dumas.")
     The composition of the MS. is as follows: Act I., 18 pages; Act II., 16 pages; Act III., II pages; then five which are blank; Act IV., II pages, followed by a further five blank ones; Act V., 5 pages, followed by three blank ones.
     Some estimation of the change which the play has undergone in becoming "Le Verrou de la Reine," where there are changes in plot and omission of roles, may be gathered from the following list of scenes :—
     La Jeunesse de Louis XV.      Le Verrou de la Reine.
     Act I. has 9 scenes      Act I. has 13 scenes
     Act II. has 20 scenes      Act II. has 20 scenes
     Act III. has 12 scenes      Act III. has 15 scenes
     Act IV. has 17 scenes     
     Act V. has 8 scenes     
     66 scenes      48 scenes
     Dumas says he wrote the part of Topaze specially for the young Émilie Dubois, which may perhaps account for it no longer being found in "Le Verrou de la Reine," in 1856.

         References :—
     Glinel: "Alexandre Dumas et Son Œuvre," page 433.
     Glinel: "Théâtre Inconnu."—"Revue Biblio-Iconographique," Year 1899, page 12.
     Dumas: Causeries in "Le Mousquetaire" for December 8th, 1853. February 20th, 1854, and March 29th, 1855.
     Houssaye (Arsène): "Les Confessions," Vol. III., pp. 217-18. (English Translation: "Behind the Scenes at the Comédie Française," pp. 372-75.)

From A Bibliography of Alexandre Dumas père by Frank Wild Reed:
     Ten lines, very unequal in length, rhyming a, h, c, b. c, b, a, c, a, b. (Act I., Scene iv.)
     Eight regular lines, rhyming alternately. (Act I., Scene iv.)
     Eight lines, all rhyming alike. (Act I., Scene viii.)
     Three eight-line stanzas, rhyming alternately, and of which the last two lines are in each case repeated as a chorus. (Act I., Scene viii.)
     CHANT DU ROI. (Addenda CCCVII.)
     An eight-line stanza, rhyming alternately. (Act I., Scene viii.)

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