…and not being able to elicit the facts he needed, he left his frogs and rabbits to some repose under their trying and mysterious dispensation of unexplained shocks, and went to finish his evening at the theatre of the Porte Saint Martin, where there was a melodrama which he had already seen several times; attracted, not by the ingenious work of the collaborating authors, but by an actress whose part it was to stab her lover, mistaking him for the evil-designing duke of the piece.
There are no more uses of "melodrama" in the book.
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a mesmerizing melodrama of forbidden love
For an observer given to melodrama it would have appeared that the woman’s look was pleading.