Box and Cox (One-act Play) Summary

Box and Cox is a one-act farce written by John Maddison Morton in 1867. The play tells the story of two men, Mr. Box and Mr. Cox, who unknowingly rent the same room from a dishonest landlady, Mrs. Bouncer. Box is a hatter who works at night and requires the room for sleeping, while Cox is a printer who works during the day and requires the room for working. Read More 1st Year English Summaries.

Box and Cox (One-act Play) Summary

John Maddison Morton images

Box and Cox is a one-act farce by John Maddison Morton. It is based on a French one-act Vandeville Frisette. It is a humorous drama. It fulfills all the characteristics of a true one-act play. It has just three characters. It follows the unity of place and time too. It has humour in abundance. It serves a social message.

Mrs. Bouncer is a greedy landlady. She rents out her lodge room to two persons at the same time without their knowledge. The gentlemen pay weekly rent to Mrs. Bouncer. One of them, Mr. Box, a printer, works at night and stay at this room only during the day time. The other man, Mr Cox, a hatter, works at the shop all through the day and occupies the room at night. Mrs. Bouncer somehow manages to see that they do not come to know this. Mrs. Bouncer feels that it is her capital idea. Practically, nobody can imagine such a thing.

After a while, the tenants suspect that something is wrong, then starts a strange series of situations. Cox doubts that Mrs. Bouncer has been using the room during the day time. He complains to her that his coal continues to decrease, and there is a steady increase of evaporation among his candles, wood, sugar, and matches.

He also complains that his room is full of tobacco smoke. Mrs. Bouncer gives various excuses on this matter including that Box, who she says, occupies the attic, is a persistant smoker and that his smoke must come down the chimney. Cox leaves for his work at the hat shop, and on the stairs passes Box, who returns from the night shift at the newspaper printer. Meanwhile, Mrs. Bouncer gets busy to put Mr. Cox’s things out of Mr. Box.

One day, Mr. Box has brought a rasher of bacon with him. He prepares to cook at once. He lights the fire. He is indignant that his matches have been used and his candles burnt low. For being at home only during the day. He suspects Mrs. Bouncer of these actions. In an unhappy and sleepy state of mind, he places the gridiron on fire and then with fork lays his bacon on the gridiron to cook.

He goes to bed for a nap. In the meantime, Cox returns the room because he gets an unexpected holiday from his employer. He has bought a mutton chop and going to cook it on the gridiron, he finds the fire already lit and the rasher of bacon on the gridiron. He removes it and puts his chop in its place. He hurries into the adjoining room for a plate.

The slamming of the door awakens Box. Remembering his bacon, he leaps out of the bed and finds the chop where he left the rasher. He angrily seizes the chop, flings it out of the window, and leaves the room to pick up a plate. Cox returns, and instead of his chop he discovers the rasher that follows the chop out of the window.

Box and Cox meet, each imagining the other to be an intruder, each pulling the last week rent receipt from his pocket, they find fault with each other. But finally they come to know of Mrs. Bouncer’s deceptive trick. She bursts into sobs and prays for pardon.


In the conclusion of Box and Cox, Box and Cox expose Mrs. Bouncer’s dishonesty and greed. They refuse to pay her any further rent, and she is forced to return their money. Box and Cox decide to stay in the room together and start a successful hat-making business. Mrs. Bouncer is left alone, without any tenants or any money.