A Counterfeit Presentment

William Dean Howells

A Counterfeit Presentment is a play written by American author and playwright William Dean Howells in 1877. The play is a realistic comedy and tells the story of a chance encounter between a young woman, Constance, and a man whom she mistakes for her ex lover, Bartlett. However, Bartlett is not completely aware of Constance's neurotic behavior until he gets to know her a bit more. Her true personality is only truly expressed after she forces Bartlett to stay with her in the hotel so she can pretend he is her former beau. Howell's uses comedy to reveal the deeper issue of the plight of unmarried middle and upper class women in the 19th century.