Notes & Reviews:
William Makespeace Thackeray wrote The Rose and the Ring in Rome in 1854 as a "fireside pantomime". At two kingdoms on the Black Sea called Crim Tartary and Paflagonia, a Fairy Godmother bestows the gift of a Rose and a Ring to two princesses, which render them irresistibly attractive to all who behold them, regardless of how old and ugly they may become. However, from being overindulged by their adoring husbands they become lazy, bad tempered and absurdly vain. So when she is invited to be godmother to Prince Giglio and Princess Rosalba, in order that they should have to prove themselves, she sends them a little misfortune which results in their rightful kingdoms being usurped. Consequently on arriving at a subsequent christening, her way is barred by the porter, so she waves her wand transforming him into a door knocker. Twists in the story occur as the Rose and the Ring change hands, at one moment even causing Prince Giglio to sign a wedding contract with the unbecoming old Countess Gruffanuff. Rosalba's misfortune entails her being brought up by lions in teh forest before spending time as a servant at the Palace of King Valaroso where she falls in love with Giglio whose throne has been usurped by his uncle. Characters with names such as Prince Bulbo, Captain Hedzoff, Count Hogginarmo and King Padella all play a part in what follows including a tremendous battle, Rosalba being thrown to the lions, to Gruffanuff claiming her wedding contract at the door of the Cathedral, and Fairy Blackstick dramatically waving her wand to restore Grufanuff's actual husband back from being a doorknocker, so that King Giglio and Queen Rosalba can finally marry.