Mrs. Pierpoint and her daughter, Ethel, visit Zoe Blundell to inquire about the possibility of Leonard Ferris as a suitor for Ethel. Mrs. Pierpoint wants Zoe?s opinion because Leonard is one of Zoe?s tame robins, a group of male friends and admirers who gathers around Zoe. Unknown to the Pierpoints, Zoe?s marriage is breaking up and Leonard is sexually attracted to Zoe. Zoe at first believes her relationship with Leonard is harmless because she feels much, much older than he. Leonard is thirty-two years old, five years younger than Zoe, but he is a ?fresh, boyish young man? and Zoe is a ?mature woman.? Zoe?s husband, Theodore, is forty-six years old. Zoe?s perspective reflects society?s double standard that an older man may be interested in a younger woman but an older woman should not be interested in a younger man. After the Pierpoints leave, Leonard arrives to see Zoe and confesses he does not want to marry anyone, although he is attracted to Ethel because she reminds him of Zoe.
Born within a year of both Shaw and Wilde, Pinero was one of the most popular - and prolific - playwrights of his age. This volume contains his three best - and still most often performed - plays, each written in a different mode: The Magistrate (1885), a splendid farce; The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), a social problem play; and Trelawny of the 'Wells' (1898), an affectionate comedy on the inevitability of change.