Chapter 4: Box and Cox
Summary of Box and Cox Class 11
“Box and Cox” penned down by the English playwright, John Maddison Morton, is a farce which recounts a day in the lives of a wily lady and her two lodgers Mr. Cox and Mr. Box. It describes how Mrs. Bouncer, a crafty lady with a room to let out attempts to make money out of it and how she gets caught up in her own game. The characters are Mrs. Bouncer who is a quick-witted, money-minded lady and her two lodgers, John Box- a printer and James Cox- a hatter.
The play opens with a description of the scene and the two of the prime characters Cox and Mrs. Bouncer are shown engaging in a small talk. All goes well until Cox brings to Mrs. Bouncer’s notice that his supply of coals, candles, wood, sugar, and matches is depleting faster than expected. Mrs. Bouncer is quick to register a protest as she feels Cox is indirectly accusing her of theft. Cox clarifies that he never took her name but at the same time adds that he sure it is not the cat who is pilfering his stuff. Cox Moves on to register a protest about the presence of excessive amount of smoke in his room to which Mrs. Bouncer replies that it is the smoke produced by the habitual pipe smoker living upstairs in the attic. Cox remarks on the absurdity of her explanation and chooses to end the conversation and leaves for work.
Mrs. Bouncer then gets busy setting up the room following certain specific standards. The reason for her haste is explained with the arrival of Box. It then becomes apparent that Mrs. Bouncer, taking advantage of the different work schedules of Cox and Box, had lent out the same room to both of them without their knowledge. After a customary chit chat, Mrs. Bouncer leaves and the box gets down to preparing his breakfast but so exhausted is he that he falls asleep with his chicken still cooking.
The play takes a anxious turn, when Cox after having been the day off by his boss , returns to the room earlier than expected. A plethora of comical events take place during who is both men throw each other’s food, each mistaking that Mrs Bouncer was using your supplies on this silly. Mass of the chagrin of Mrs Bouncer, the . So, two men finally meet and a quarrel ensues as to who the room belongs to, with both claiming to be its owner. The truth when finally revealed by Mrs Bouncer leaves both Box and Cox speechless.
It is interesting to note that shows so successful and popular was this play that the phrase “Box and Cox” is now referred to an arrangement where two people make use of the same accommodation of facilities at different times, following a strict schedule.