198 BYGONE SUSSEX.
battle, has several suitors for her handsome person and extensive possessions. The noise of a drum is heard nightly, and the servants are alarmed at this ghastly visitant. It is, in fact, one of the lady's rejected suiters, who, in connivance with the obliging Abigail has taken this method of frightening away his rivals, the chief of whom is a London fop who makes a shallow profession of unbelief in everything except that the world was made by chance. Sir George Truman, the report of whose death was false, returns home as a magician, and tells the fortunes of his "widow" and her suitors. Thus when Fantome, disguised as Sir George, and armed with a drum, has frightened away two of the suitors, he is himself driven off by the apparition of the real Sir George. The comedy closes with the marriage of Abigail and the Steward, and the re-union of Sir George and Lady Truman.
Mr. W. J. Courthope declares, " There appears to be no good reason for doubting that The Drummer was the work of Addison. . . . The plot is poor and trivial, nor does the dialogue, though it shows in many passages traces of its author's peculiar vein of humour, make amends by its brilliancy for the tameness of the dramatic