The Dear Departed 2 is a sequel to Stanley Houghton’s classic play, The Dear Departed. It follows the next generation of the Slater family, 20 years after the events of the original play. The play is a satire of the Victorian middle class, exposing their hypocrisy, greed, and lack of family values.
The Dear Departed 2 Summary
Abel Merryweather sees the Jordans and asks them how they come there. Abel thrusts his hand at Ben and he skips back smartly and retreats with Mrs. Jordan to a safe distance below the sofa. Mrs. Slater pokes him with her hand to see if he is solid.
Mrs. Jordan asks him if he is well. Abel sees his slippers being worn by Henry and says it is not good. Mrs. Slater snatches them from Henry and gives them to her father. He asks why they are in mourning dress. Victoria tells her grandpa that she is glad he is not dead.
Abel asks them who is dead as they are all in mourning. Mrs. Slater lies that Ben’s brother is dead. Then Abel says they have only been waiting for him to begin tea. He tells them to sit down and be jolly. Abel suddenly recollects something and asks them why they have shifted his bureau out of his bedroom. Mr. Henry and Mrs. Slater are speechless.
Then he realizes that his clock has also been shifted. Elizabeth blames her sister for stealing. The two sisters start quarrelling. When both his daughters argue, he asks what has been going on. Mrs. Jordan tells him that he is thought to be dead and Mrs. Slater and Henry has pinched his things.
Abel comes to know the reality. He has understood everything. He wonders that they don’t take long to start dividing his things between them. He tells them that neither of them has any cause to feel proud about the way they have treated him. He wants to teach them a lesson. He tells them that he shall make a new will leaving all his things to whoever he is living with when he dies.
Both the sisters try to persuade him to keep with them but he says that it is a bit late. Ben tells him that he has got to live with one of his daughters. Then Abel announces that he is going to do three things on Monday next. The first one is that he will go to the lawyer and change his will. The second one is that he will go to the insurance office and pay his premium and the third one is that he will go to St. Philip’s Church and get married.
They are all surprised to hear the news of his marriage. He tells them that he will get married to Mrs. John Shorrocks, the keeper of the ‘Ring-o-Bells’. He invites all of them to attend the ceremony. He thanks Mrs. Slater for she has brought his bureau downstairs as it will be handier to carry it across to the ‘Ring-o-Bells’ on Monday.
In the conclusion of The Dear Departed 2, Henry Slater is undone by his own greed, while Elizabeth Slater finds happiness in simpler things. Houghton’s play is a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and the importance of family.