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The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan by William Schwenk Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan

Part 14 out of 16

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Today a warrior all sunbrown,
When deeds of soldierly renown
Are not the boast of London town,
A veteran tomorrow, today a warrior,
A veteran tomorrow!

When at my Leonard's deeds sublime,
A soldier's pulse beats double time,
And grave hearts thrill as brave hearts will
At tales of martial glory.

I burn with flush of pride and joy,
A pride unbittered by alloy,
To find my boy, my darling boy,
The theme of song and story,
To find my darling boy
The theme of song and story!
To find my boy, my darling boy,
The theme of song and story!

[Enter LEONARD MERYLL

LEONARD Father!

MERYLL Leonard! my brave boy! I'm right glad to see thee, and
so is Phoebe!

PHOEBE Aye-- hast thou brought Colonel Fairfax's reprieve?

LEONARD Nay, I have here a despatch for the Lieutenant, but no
reprieve for the Colonel!

PHOEBE Poor gentleman! poor gentleman!

LEONARD Aye, I would I had brought better news. I'd give my
right hand-- nay, my body-- my life, to save his!

MERYLL Dost thou speak in earnest, my lad?

LEONARD Aye, father-- I'm no braggart. Did he not save thy
life? and am I not his foster-brother?

MERYLL Then hearken to me. Thou hast come to join the Yeomen
of the Guard!

LEONARD Well?

MERYLL None has seen thee but ourselves?

LEONARD And a sentry, who took scant notice of me.

MERYLL Now to prove thy words. Give me the despatch and get
thee hence at once! Here is money, and I'll send thee
more. Lie hidden for a space, and let no one know.
I'll convey a suit of Yeoman's uniform to the
Colonel's cell-- he shall shave off his beard, so that
none shall know him, and I'll own him as my son, the
brave Leonard Meryll, who saved his flag and cut his
way through fifty foes who thirsted for his life. He
will be welcomed without question by my brother-
Yeomen, I'll warrant that. Now, how to get access to
the Colonel's cell? [To PHOEBE] The key is with they
sour-faced admirer, Wilfred Shadbolt.

PHOEBE [demurely] I think-- I say, I think-- I can get anything
I want from Wilfred. I think-- mind I say, I think-- you
may leave that to me.

MERYLL Then get thee hence at once, lad-- and bless thee for
this sacrifice.

PHOEBE And take my blessing, too, dear, dear Leonard!

LEONARD And thine. eh? Humph! Thy love is newborn; wrap it up
carefully, lest it take cold and die.

No. 4. Alas! I waver to and fro
(TRIO)
Phoebe, Leonard, and Meryll

PHOEBE Alas! I waver to and fro!
Dark danger hangs upon the deed!

ALL Dark danger hangs upon the deed!

LEONARD The scheme is rash and well may fail;
But ours are not the hearts that quail,
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
In hours of need!

ALL No, ours are not the hearts that quail,
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
The hands that shrink, the cheeks that pale
In hours of need!

MERYLL The air I breathe to him I owe:
My life is his-- I count it naught!

PHOEBE
and LEONARD That life is his-- so count it naught!

MERYLL And shall I reckon risks I run
When services are to be done
To save the life of such an one?
Unworthy thought! Unworthy thought!

PHOEBE
and LEONARD And shall we reckon risks we run
To save the life of such an one?

ALL Unworthy thought! Unworthy thought!
We may succeed-- who can foretell?
May heav'n help our hope--
May heav'n help our hope,
farewell!
May heav'n help our hope,
Help our hope,
farewell!

[LEONARD embraces MERYLL and PHOEBE, and then exits. PHOEBE
weeping.

MERYLL [goes up to PHOEBE] Nay, lass, be of good cheer, we
may save him yet.

PHOEBE Oh! see, after-- they bring the poor gentleman from the
Beauchamp! [pronounced Bee'cham] Oh, father! his hour
is not yet come?

MERYLL No, no-- they lead him to the Cold Harbour Tower to
await his end in solitude. But softly-- the Lieutenant
approaches! He should not see thee weep.

[Enter FAIRFAX, guarded by YEOMEN. The LIEUTENANT enters,
meeting him.

LIEUT. Halt! Colonel Fairfax, my old friend, we meet but
sadly.

FAIRFAX Sir, I greet you with all good-will; and I thank you
for the zealous acre with which you have guarded me
from the pestilent dangers which threaten human life
outside. In this happy little community, Death, when
he comes, doth so in punctual and business-like
fashion; and, like a courtly gentleman, giveth due
notice of his advent, that one may not be taken
unawares.

LIEUT. Sir, you bear this bravely, as a brave man should.

FAIRFAX Why, sir, it is no light boon to die swiftly and
surely at a given hour and in a given fashion! Truth
to tell, I would gladly have my life; but if that may
not be, I have the next best thing to it, which is
death. Believe me, sir, my lot is not so much amiss!

PHOEBE [aside to MERYLL] Oh, father, father, I cannot bear
it!

MERYLL My poor lass!

FAIRFAX Nay, pretty one, why weepest thou? Come, be comforted.
Such a life as mine is not worth weeping for. [sees
MERYLL] Sergeant Meryll, is it not? [to LIEUTENANT]
May I greet my old friend? [Shakes MERYLL's hand;
MERYLL begins to weep] Why, man, what's all this? Thou
and I have faced the grim old king a dozen times, and
never has his majesty come to me in such goodly
fashion. Keep a stout heart, good fellow-- we are
soldiers, and we know how to die, thou and I. Take my
word for it, it is easier to die well than to live
well-- for, in sooth, I have tried both.

No. 5. Is life a boon?
(BALLAD)
Fairfax

FAIRFAX Is life a boon?
If so, it must befall
That Death, whene'er he call,
Must call too soon.
Though fourscore years he give,
Yet one would pray to live
Another moon!
What kind of plaint have I,
Who perish in July,
who perish in July?
I might have had to die,
Perchance, in June!
I might have had to die,
Perchance, in June!

Is life a thorn?
Then count it not a whit!
Nay, count it not a whit!
Man is well done with it;
Soon as he's born
He should all means essay
To put the plague away;
And I, war-worn,
Poor captured fugitive,
My life most gladly give--
I might have had to live,
Another morn!
I might have had to live,
Another morn!

[At the end, PHOEBE is led off, weeping, by MERYLL.

FAIRFAX And now, Sir Richard, I have a boon to beg. I am in
this strait for no better reason than because my
kinsman, Sir Clarence Poltwhistle, one of the
Secretaries of State, has charged me with sorcery, in
order that he may succeed in my estate, which devolves
to him provided I die unmarried.

LIEUT. As thou wilt most surely do.

FAIRFAX Nay, as I will most surely not do, by your worship's
grace! I have a mind to thwart this good cousin of
mine.

LIEUT. How?

FAIRFAX By marrying forthwith, to be sure!

LIEUT. But heaven ha' mercy, whom wouldst thou marry?

FAIRFAX Nay, I am indifferent on that score. Coming Death hath
made of me a true and chivalrous knight, who holds all
womankind in such esteem that the oldest, and the
meanest, and the worst-favoured of them is good enough
for him. So, my good Lieutenant, if thou wouldst serve
a poor soldier who has but an hour to live, find me
the first that comes-- my confessor shall marry us, and
her dower shall be my dishonoured name and a hundred
crowns to boot. No such poor dower for an hour of
matrimony!

LIEUT. A strange request. I doubt that I should be warranted
in granting it.

FAIRFAX There never was a marriage fraught with so little of
evil to the contracting parties. In an hour she'll be
a widow, and I-- a bachelor again for aught I know!

LIEUT. Well, I will see what can be done, for I hold thy
kinsman in abhorrence for the scurvy trick he has
played thee.

FAIRFAX A thousand thanks, good sir; we meet again in this
spot in an hour or so. I shall be a bridegroom then,
and your worship will wish me joy. Till then,
farewell. [To GUARD] I am ready, good fellows.

[Exit with GUARD into Cold Harbour Tower]

LIEUT. He is a brave fellow, and it is a pity that he should
die. Now, how to find him a bride at such short
notice? Well, the task should be easy! [Exit]

[Enter JACK POINT and ELSIE MAYNARD, pursued by a CROWD of
men and women. POINT and ELSIE are much terrified; POINT,
however, assuming an appearance of self-possession.

No. 6. Here's a man of jollity
(CHORUS)
People, Elsie, and Jack Point

CHORUS Here's a man of jollity,
Jibe, joke, jollify!
Give us of your quality,
Come, fool, follify!

If you vapour vapidly,
River runneth rapidly,
Into it we fling
Bird who doesn't sing!

Give us an experiment
In the art of merriment;
Into it we throw
Cock who doesn't crow!

Banish your timidity,
And with all rapidity
Give us quip and quiddity--
Willy-nilly, O!

River none can mollify;
Into it we throw
Fool who doesn't follify,
Cock who doesn't crow!

Banish your timidity,
And with all rapidity
Give us quip and quiddity--
Willy-nilly, O!

POINT [alarmed] My masters, I pray you bear with us, and we
will satisfy you, for we are merry folk who would make
all merry as ourselves. For, look you, there is humour
in all things, and the truest philosophy is that which
teaches us to find it and to make the most of it.

ELSIE [struggling with 1ST CITIZEN] Hands off, I say,
unmannerly fellow! [she boxes his ears]

POINT [to 1ST CITIZEN] Ha! Didst thou hear her say, "Hands
off"?

1ST
CITIZEN Aye, I heard her say it, and I felt her do it! What
then?

POINT Thou dost not see the humour of that?

1ST
CITIZEN Nay, if I do, hang me!

POINT Thou dost not? Now, observe. She said, "Hands off!
"Whose hands? Thine. Off whom? Off her. Why? Because
she is a woman. Now, had she not been a woman, thine
hands had not been set upon her at all. So the reason
for the laying on of hands is the reason for the
taking off of hands, and herein is contradiction
contradicted! It is the very marriage of pro with con;
and no such lopsided union either, as times go, for
pro is not more unlike con than man is unlike woman--
yet men and women marry every day with none to say,
"Oh, the pity of it!" but I and fools like me! Now
wherewithal shall we please you? We can rhyme you
couplet, triolet, quatrain, sonnet,rondolet, ballade,
what you will. Or we can dance you saraband, gondolet,
carole, pimpernel, or Jumping Joan.

ELSIE Let us give them the singing farce of the Merryman and
his Maid-- therein is song and dance too.

ALL Aye, the Merryman and his Maid!

No. 7. I have a song to sing, O!
(DUET)
Elsie and Point

POINT I have a song to sing, O!

ELSIE Sing me your song, O!

POINT It is sung to the moon
By a love-lorn loon,
Who fled from the mocking throng, O!
It's a song of a merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye.
Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me--lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ELSIE I have a song to sing, O!

POINT Sing me your song, O!

ELSIE It is sung with the ring
Of the songs maids sing
Who love with a love life-long, O!
It's the song of a merrymaid, peerly proud,
Who loved a lord, and who laughed aloud
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!
Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me--lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

POINT I have a song to sing, O!

ELSIE Sing me your song, O!

POINT It is sung to the knell
Of a churchyard bell,
And a doleful dirge, ding dong, O!
It's a song of a popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
At the humble merrymaid, peerly proud,
Who loved a lord, and who laughed aloud
At the moan of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!
Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me--lack-a-day-dee!
He sipped no sup, and he craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

ELSIE I have a song to sing, O!

POINT Sing me your song, O!

ELSIE It is sung with a sigh
And a tear in the eye,
For it tells of a righted wrong, O!
It's a song of the merrymaid, once so gay,
Who turned on her heel and tripped away
From the peacock popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
At the humble heart that he did not prize:
So she begged on her knees, with downcast eyes,
For the love of the merryman, moping mum,
Whose soul was sad, and whose glance was glum,
Who sipped no sup, and who craved no crumb,
As he sighed for the love of a ladye!

BOTH Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me--lack-a-day-dee!
His pains were o'er, and he sighed no more,
For he lived in the love of a ladye!

Heighdy! heighdy!
Misery me--lack-a-day-dee!
His pains were o'er, and he sighed no more,
For he lived in the love of a ladye!

1ST
CITIZEN Well sung and well danced!

2ND
CITIZEN A kiss for that, pretty maid!

ALL Aye, a kiss all round. [CROWD gathers around her]

ELSIE [drawing dagger] Best beware! I am armed!

POINT Back, sirs-- back! This is going too far.

2ND
CITIZEN Thou dost not see the humour of it, eh? Yet there is
humour in all things-- even in this. [Trying to kiss
her]

ELSIE Help! Help!

[Enter LIEUTENANT with GUARD. CROWD falls back

LIEUT. What is the pother?

ELSIE Sir, we sang to these folk, and they would have repaid
us with gross courtesy, but for your honour's coming.

LIEUT. [to CROWD] Away with ye! Clear the rabble.

[GUARDS push CROWD off, and go off with them]

Now, my girl, who are you, and what do you here?

ELSIE May it please you, sir, we are two strolling players,
Jack Point and I, Elsie Maynard, at your worship's
service. We go from fair to fair, singing, and
dancing, and playing brief interludes; and so we make
a poor living.

LIEUT. You two, eh? Are ye man and wife?

POINT No, sir; for though I'm a fool, there is a limit to my
folly. Her mother, old Bridget Maynard, travels with
us (for Elsie is a good girl), but the old woman is a-
bed with fever, and we have come here to pick up some
silver to buy an electuary for her.

LIEUT. Hark ye, my girl! Your mother is ill?

ELSIE Sorely ill, sir.

LIEUT. And needs good food, and many things that thou canst
not buy?

ELSIE Alas! sir, it is too true.

LIEUT. Wouldst thou earn an hundred crowns?

ELSIE An hundred crowns! They might save her life!

LIEUT. Then listen! A worthy but unhappy gentleman is to be
beheaded in an hour on this very spot. For sufficient
reasons, he desires to marry before he dies, and he
hath asked me to find him a wife. Wilt thou be that
wife?

ELSIE The wife of a man I have never seen!

POINT Why, sir, look you, I am concerned in this; for though
I am not yet wedded to Elsie Maynard, time works
wonders, and there's no knowing what may be in store
for us. Have we your worship's word for it that this
gentleman will die to-day?

LIEUT. Nothing is more certain, I grieve to say.

POINT And that the maiden will be allowed to depart the very
instant the ceremony is at an end?

LIEUT. The very instant. I pledge my honour that it shall be
so.

POINT An hundred crowns?

LIEUT. An hundred crowns!

POINT For my part, I consent. It is for Elsie to speak.

No. 8. How say you, maiden, will you wed
(TRIO)
Elsie, Point, and Lieutenant

LIEUT. How say you, maiden, will you wed
A man about to lose his head?
For half an hour
You'll be his wife,
And then the dower
Is your for life.
A headless bridegroom why refuse?
If truth the poets tell,
Most bridegrooms, 'ere they marry,
Lose both head and heart as well!

ELSIE A strange proposal you reveal,
It almost makes my senses reel.
Alas! I'm very poor indeed,
And such a sum I sorely need.
My mother, sir, is like to die.
This money life may bring.
Bear this in mind, I pray,
If I consent to do this thing!

POINT Though as a general rule of life
I don't allow my promised wife,
My lovely bride that is to be,
To marry anyone but me,
Yet if the fee is promptly paid,
And he, in well-earned grave,
Within the hour is duly laid,
Objection I will waive!
Yes, objection I will waive!

ALL Temptation, oh, temptation,
Were we, I pray, intended
To shun, what e'er our station,
Your fascinations splendid;
Or fall, whene'er we view you,
Head over heels into you?
Head over heels, Head over heels,
Head over heels into you!
Head over heels, Head over heels,
Head over heels, Right into you!
Head over heels, Head over heels, etc.
Temptation, oh, temptation!

[During this, the LIEUTENANT has whispered to WILFRED
(who has entered). WILFRED binds ELSIE's eyes with a
kerchief, and leads her into the Cold Harbour Tower

LIEUT. And so, good fellow, you are a jester?

POINT Aye, sir, and like some of my jests, out of place.

LIEUT. I have a vacancy for such an one. Tell me, what are
your qualifications for such a post?

POINT Marry, sir, I have a pretty wit. I can rhyme you
extempore; I can convulse you with quip and
conundrum;I have the lighter philosophies at my
tongue's tip; I can be merry, wise, quaint, grim, and
sardonic, one by one, or all at once; I have a pretty
turn for anecdote; I know all the jests-- ancient and
modern-- past, present, and to come; I can riddle you
from dawn of day to set of sun, and, if that content
you not, well on to midnight and the small hours. Oh,
sir, a pretty wit, I warrant you-- a pretty, pretty
wit!

No. 9. I've jibe and joke
(SONG)
Point

POINT I've jibe and joke
And quip and crank
For lowly folk
And men of rank.
I ply my craft
And know no fear.
But aim my shaft
At prince or peer.
At peer or prince-- at prince or peer,
I aim my shaft and know no fear!

I've wisdom from the East and from the West,
That's subject to no academic rule;
You may find it in the jeering of a jest,
Or distil it from the folly of a fool.
I can teach you with a quip, if I've a mind;
I can trick you into learning with a laugh;
Oh, winnow all my folly, folly, folly, and
you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff!
Oh, winnow all my folly, folly, folly, and
you'll find
A grain or two of truth among the chaff!

I can set a braggart quailing with a quip,
The upstart I can wither with a whim;
He may wear a merry laugh upon his lip,
But his laughter has an echo that is grim.
When they're offered to the world in merry
guise,
Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will,
For he who'd make his fellow,
fellow, fellow creatures wise
Should always gild the philosophic pill!
For he who'd make his fellow,
fellow, fellow creatures wise
Should always gild the philosophic pill!

LIEUT. And how came you to leave your last employ?

POINT Why, sir, it was in this wise. My Lord was the
Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was considered that
one of my jokes was unsuited to His Grace's family
circle. In truth, I ventured to ask a poor riddle,
sir-- Wherein lay the difference between His Grace and
poor Jack Point? His Grace was pleased to give it up,
sir. And thereupon I told him that whereas His Grace
was paid 10,000 a year for being good, poor Jack Point
was good-- for nothing. 'Twas but a harmless jest, but
it offended His Grace, who whipped me and set me in
the stocks for a scurril rogue, and so we parted. I
had as lief not take post again with the dignified
clergy.

LIEUT. But I trust you are very careful not to give offence.
I have daughters.

POINT Sir, my jests are most carefully selected, and
anything objectionable is expunged. If your honour
pleases, I will try then first on your honour's
chaplain.

LIEUT. Can you give me an example? Say that I had sat me down
hurriedly on something sharp?

POINT Sir, I should say that you had sat down on the spur of
the moment.

LIEUT. Humph! I don't think much of that. Is that the best
you can do?

POINT It has always been much admired, sir, but we will try
again.

LIEUT. Well, then, I am at dinner, and the joint of meat is
but half cooked.

POINT Why then, sir, I should say that what is underdone
cannot be helped.

LIEUT. I see. I think that manner of thing would be somewhat
irritating.

POINT At first, sir, perhaps; but use is everything, and you
would come in time to like it.

LIEUT. We will suppose that I caught you kissing the kitchen
wench under my very nose.

POINT Under her very nose, good sir-- not under yours! That
is where I would kiss her. Do you take me? Oh, sir, a
pretty wit-- a pretty, pretty wit!

LIEUT. The maiden comes. Follow me, friend, and we will
discuss this matter at length in my library.

POINT I am your worship's servant. That is to say, I trust
I soon shall be. But, before proceeding to a more
serious topic, can you tell me, sir, why a cook's
brain-pan is like an overwound clock?

LIEUT. A truce to this fooling-- follow me.

POINT Just my luck; my best conundrum wasted!

[Exeunt LIEUTENANT and POINT. Enter ELSIE from Tower, led
by WILFRED, who removes the bandage from her eyes, and
exits.

No. 10. 'Tis done! I am a bride!
(RECITATIVE AND SONG)
Elsie

ELSIE 'Tis done! I am a bride! Oh, little ring,
That bearest in thy circlet all the gladness
That lovers hope for, and that poets sing,
What bringest thou to me but gold and sadness?
A bridegroom all unknown, save in this wise,
To-day he dies! To-day, alas, he dies!

Though tear and long-drawn sigh
Ill fit a bride,
No sadder wife than I
The whole world wide!
Ah me! Ah me!
Yet maids there be
Who would consent to lose
The very rose of youth,
The flow'r of life,
To be, in honest truth,
A wedded wife,
No matter whose!
No matter whose!

Ah me! what profit we,
O maids that sigh,
Though gold, though gold should live
If wedded love must die?

Ere half an hour has rung,
A widow I!
Ah, heaven, he is too young,
Too brave to die!
Ah me! Ah me!
Yet wives there be
So weary worn, I trow,
That they would scarce complain,
So that they could
In half an hour attain
To widowhood,
No matter how!
No matter how!

O weary wives
Who widowhood would win,
Rejoice, rejoice, that ye have time
To weary in.

O weary wives
Who widowhood would win,
Rejoice, rejoice, rejoice,
that ye have time
O weary, weary wives, rejoice!

[Exit ELSIE as WILFRED re-enters.

WILFRED [looking after ELSIE] 'Tis an odd freak for a dying
man and his confessor to be closeted alone with a
strange singing girl. I would fain have espied them,
but they stopped up the keyhole. My keyhole!

[Enter PHOEBE with SERGEANT MERYLL. MERYLL remains in the
background, unobserved by WILFRED.

PHOEBE [aside] Wilfred-- and alone!

WILFRED Now what could he have wanted with her? That's what
puzzles me!

PHOEBE [aside] Now to get the keys from him.

[Aloud] Wilfred-- has no reprieve arrived?

WILFRED None. Thine adored Fairfax is to die.

PHOEBE Nay, thou knowest that I have naught but pity for the
poor condemned gentleman.

WILFRED I know that he who is about to die is more to thee
than I, who am alive and well.

PHOEBE Why, that were out of reason, dear Wilfred. Do they
not say that a live ass is better than a dead lion?
No, I didn't mean that!

WILFRED Oh, they say that, do they?

PHOEBE It's unpardonably rude of them, but I believe they put
it in that way. Not that it applies to thee, who art
clever beyond all telling!

WILFRED Oh yes, as an assistant-tormentor.

PHOEBE Nay, as a wit, as a humorist, as a most philosophic
commentator on the vanity of human resolution.

[PHOEBE slyly takes bunch of keys from WILFRED's waistband
and hands them to MERYLL, who enters the Tower, unnoticed
by WILFRED.

WILFRED Truly, I have seen great resolution give way under my
persuasive methods [working with a small thumbscrew].
In the nice regulation of a thumbscrew-- in the
hundredth part of a single revolution lieth all the
difference between stony reticence and a torrent of
impulsive unbosoming that the pen can scarcely follow.
Ha! ha! I am a mad wag.

PHOEBE [with a grimace] Thou art a most light-hearted and
delightful companion, Master Wilfred. Thine anecdotes
of the torture-chamber are the prettiest hearing.

WILFRED I'm a pleasant fellow an' I choose. I believe I am the
merriest dog that barks. Ah, we might be passing happy
together--

PHOEBE Perhaps. I do not know.

WILFRED For thou wouldst make a most tender and loving wife.

PHOEBE Aye, to one whom I really loved. For there is a wealth
of love within this little heart-- saving up for-- I
wonder whom? Now, of all the world of men, I wonder
whom? To think that he whom I am to wed is now alive
and somewhere! Perhaps far away, perhaps close at
hand! And I know him not! It seemeth that I am wasting
time in not knowing him.

WILFRED Now say that it is I-- nay! suppose it for the nonce.
Say that we are wed-- suppose it only-- say that thou
art my very bride, and I thy cherry, joyous, bright,
frolicsome husband-- and that, the day's work being
done, and the prisoners stored away for the night,
thou and I are alone together-- with a long, long
evening before us!

PHOEBE [with a grimace] It is a pretty picture-- but I
scarcely know. It cometh so unexpectedly-- and yet--and
yet-- were I thy bride--

WILFRED Aye!-- wert thou my bride--?

PHOEBE Oh, how I would love thee!

No. 11. Were I thy bride
(SONG)
Phoebe

PHOEBE Were I thy bride,
Then all the world beside
Were not too wide
To hold my wealth of love--
Were I thy bride!

Upon thy breast
My loving head would rest,
As on her nest
The tender turtle dove--
Were I thy bride!

This heart of mine
Would be one heart with thine,
And in that shrine
Our happiness would dwell--
Were I thy bride!

And all day long
Our lives should be a song:
No grief, no wrong
Should make my heart rebel--
Were I thy bride!

The silvery flute,
The melancholy lute,
Were night-owl's hoot
To my low-whispered coo--
Were I thy bride!

The skylark's trill
Were but discordance shrill
To the soft thrill
Of wooing as I'd woo--
Were I thy bride!

[MERYLL re-enters; gives keys to PHOEBE, who replaces
them at WILFRED's girdle, unnoticed by him. Exit
MERYLL.

The rose's sigh
Were as a carrion's cry
To lullaby
Such as I'd sing to thee,
Were I thy bride!

A feather's press
Were leaden heaviness to my caress.
But then, of course, you see,
I'm not thy bride.

[Exit PHOEBE

WILFRED No, thou'rt not-- not yet! But, Lord, how she woo'd; I
should be no mean judge of wooing, seeing that I have
been more hotly woo'd than most men. I have been woo'd
by maid, widow, and wife. I have been woo'd boldly,
timidly, tearfully, shyly-- by direct assault, by
suggestion, by implication, by inference, and by
innuendo. But this wooing is not of the common order;
it is the wooing of one who must needs me, if she die
for it!

[Exit WILFRED. Enter SERGEANT MERRILL, cautiously, from
Tower.

MERYLL [looking after them] The deed is, so far, safely
accomplished. The slyboots, how she wheedled him! What
a helpless ninny is a love-sick man! He is but as a
lute in a woman's hands-- she plays upon him whatever
tune she will. But the Colonel comes. I' faith, he's
just in time, for the Yeomen parade here for his
execution in two minutes!

[Enter FAIRFAX, without beard and moustache, and dressed in
Yeoman's uniform.

FAIRFAX My good and kind friend, thou runnest a grave risk for
me!

MERYLL Tut, sir, no risk. I'll warrant none here will
recognise you. You make a brave Yeoman, sir! So-- this
ruff is too high; so-- and the sword should hang thus.
Here is your halbert, sir; carry it thus. The Yeomen
come. Now, remember, you are my brave son, Leonard
Meryll.

FAIRFAX If I may not bear mine own name, there is none other
I would bear so readily.

MERYLL Now, sir, put a bold face on it, for they come.

No. 12. Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true
(FINALE OF ACT I)
Ensemble

[Enter YEOMEN of the Guard

YEOMEN Oh, Sergeant Meryll, is it true--
The welcome news we read in orders?
Thy son, whose deeds of derring-do
Are echoed all the country through,
Has come to join the Tower Warders?
If so, we come to meet him,
That we may fitly greet him,
And welcome his arrival here
With shout on shout and cheer on cheer,
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

MERYLL Ye Tower warders, nursed in war's alarms,
Suckled on gunpowder, and weaned on glory,
Behold my son, whose all-subduing arms
Have formed the theme of many a song and story!
Forgive his aged father's pride; nor jeer
His aged father's sympathetic tear!
[Pretending to weep]

YEOMEN Leonard Meryll!
Leonard Meryll!
Dauntless he in time of peril!
Man of power,
Knighthood's flower,
Welcome to the grim old Tower,
To the Tower, welcome thou!

FAIRFAX Forbear, my friends, and spare me this ovation,
I have small claim to such consideration;
The tales that of my prowess are narrated
Have been prodigiously exaggerated,
prodigiously exaggerated!

YEOMEN 'Tis ever thus!
Wherever valor true is found,
True modesty will there abound.

1ST YEOMAN Didst thou not, oh, Leonard Meryll!
Standard lost in last campaign,
Rescue it at deadly peril--
Bear it safely back again?

YEOMEN Leonard Meryll, at his peril,
Bore it safely back again!

2ND YEOMAN Didst thou not, when prisoner taken,
And debarred from all escape,
Face, with gallant heart unshaken,
Death in most appalling shape?

YEOMEN Leonard Meryll, faced his peril,
Death in most appalling shape!

FAIRFAX [aside] Truly I was to be pitied,
Having but an hour to live,
I reluctantly submitted,
I had no alternative!

FAIRFAX [aloud] Oh! the tales that are narrated
Of my deeds of derring-do
Have been much exaggerated,
Very much exaggerated,
Scarce a word of them is true!
Scarce a word of them is true!

YEOMEN They are not exaggerated,
Not at all exaggerated,
Could not be exaggerated,
Ev'ry word of them is true!

3RD YEOMAN [optional] You, when brought to execution,
Like a demigod of yore,
With heroic resolution
Snatched a sword and killed a score.

YEOMEN [optional] Leonard Meryll, Leonard Meryll
Snatched a sword and killed a score!

4TH YEOMAN [optional] Then escaping from the foemen,
Boltered with the blood you shed,
You, defiant, fearing no men,
Saved your honour and your head!

YEOMEN [optional] Leonard Meryll, Leonard Meryll
Saved his honour and his head.

FAIRFAX [optional] True, my course with judgement
shaping,
Favoured, too, by lucky star,
I succeeded in escaping
Prison-bolt and prison bar!

FAIRFAX [optional] Oh! the tales that are narrated
Of my deeds of derring-do
Have been much exaggerated,
Very much exaggerated,
Scarce a word of them is true!
Scarce a word of them is true!

YEOMEN [optional] They are not exaggerated,
Not at all exaggerated,
Could not be exaggerated,
Ev'ry word of them is true!

[Enter PHOEBE. She rushes to FAIRFAX. Enter WILFRED.

PHOEBE Leonard!

FAIRFAX [puzzled] I beg your pardon?

PHOEBE Don't you know me? I'm little Phoebe!

FAIRFAX [still puzzled] Phoebe? Is this Phoebe?
What! little Phoebe?
[aside] Who the deuce may she be?
It can't be Phoebe, surely?

WILFRED Yes, 'tis Phoebe--
Your sister Phoebe! Your own little sister!

YEOMEN Aye, he speaks the truth; 'Tis Phoebe!

FAIRFAX [pretending to recognise her]
Sister Phoebe!

PHOEBE Oh, my brother!

FAIRFAX Why, how you've grown!
I did not recognize you!

PHOEBE So many years! Oh, brother!

FAIRFAX Oh, my sister!

BOTH Oh, brother!/Oh, sister!

WILFRED Aye, hug him, girl!
There are three thou mayst hug--
Thy father and thy brother and-- myself!

FAIRFAX Thyself, forsooth?
And who art thou thyself?

WILFRED Good sir, we are betrothed.

[FAIRFAX turns inquiringly to PHOEBE

PHOEBE Or more or less--
But rather less than more!

WILFRED To thy fond care
I do commend thy sister.
Be to her
An ever-watchful guardian-- eagle-eyed!
And when she feels (as sometimes she does feel)
Disposed to indiscriminate caress,
Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

YEOMEN Be thou at hand to take those favours from her!

PHOEBE Yes, yes.
Be thou at hand to take those favours from me!

WILFRED To thy fraternal care
Thy sister I commend;
From every lurking snare
Thy lovely charge defend;
And to achieve this end,
Oh! grant, I pray, this boon--
Oh! grant this boon
She shall not quit my sight;
From morn to afternoon--
From afternoon to night--
From sev'n o'clock to two--
From two to eventide--
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit my side!

YEOMEN From morn to afternoon--
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

PHOEBE So amiable I've grown,
So innocent as well,
That if I'm left alone
The consequences fell
No mortal can foretell.
So grant, I pray, this boon--
Oh! grant this boon
I shall not quit thy sight:
From morn to afternoon--
From afternoon to night--
From sev'n o'clock to two--
From two to eventide--
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night
I shall not quit thy side!

YEOMEN From morn to afternoon--
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
She shall not quit thy side!

FAIRFAX With brotherly readiness,
For my fair sister's sake,
At once I answer "Yes"--
That task I undertake--
My word I never break.
I freely grant that boon,
And I'll repeat my plight.
From morn to afternoon-- [kiss]
From afternoon to night-- [kiss]
From sev'n o'clock to two-- [kiss]
From two to evening meal-- [kiss]
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
From dim twilight to 'lev'n at night,
That compact I will seal. [kiss]

YEOMEN From morn to afternoon,
From afternoon to 'lev'n at night
He freely grants that boon.

[The bell of St. Peter's begins to toll. The CROWD enters;
the block is brought on to the stage, and the HEADSMAN
takes his place. The YEOMEN of the Guard form up. The
LIEUTENANT enters and takes his place, and tells off
FAIRFAX and two others to bring the prisoner to execution.
WILFRED, FAIRFAX, and TWO YEOMEN exeunt to Tower.

CHORUS The prisoner comes to meet his doom;
The block, the headsman, and the tomb.
The funeral bell begins to toll;
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!
May Heav'n have mercy on his soul!

ELSIE Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
To-day the very worthiest falls!

ALL Oh, Mercy, thou whose smile has shone
So many a captive heart upon;
Of all immured within these walls,
The very worthiest falls.
Oh, Mercy, Oh, Mercy!

[Enter FAIRFAX and TWO YEOMEN from Tower in great
excitement.

FAIRFAX My lord! I know not how to tell
The news I bear!
I and my comrades sought the pris'ner's cell--
He is not there!

ALL He is not there!
They sought the pris'ner's cell--
he is not there!

FAIRFAX AND
TWO YEOMEN As escort for the prisoner
We sought his cell, in duty bound;
The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we found!

We hunted high, we hunted low,
We hunted here, we hunted there--
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!
The man we sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!

[Exit LIEUTENANT

WOMEN Now, by my troth, the news is fair,
The man has vanished into air!

ALL As escort for the prisoner
We/they sought his cell in duty bound;
The double gratings open were,
No prisoner at all we/they found,
We/they hunted high, we/they hunted low,
We/they hunted here, we/they hunted there,
The man we/they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!
The man we/they sought with anxious care
Had vanished into empty air!

[Enter WILFRED, followed by LIEUTENANT

LIEUT. Astounding news! The pris'ner fled!
[To WILFRED] Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

[WILFRED is arrested

WILFRED My lord, I did not set him free,
I hate the man-- my rival he!

MERYLL The pris'ner gone-- I'm all agape!

LIEUT. Thy life shall forfeit be instead!

MERYLL Who could have helped him to escape?

WILFRED My lord, I did not set him free!

PHOEBE Indeed I can't imagine who!
I've no idea at all, have you?

[Enter JACK POINT

DAME Of his escape no traces lurk,
Enchantment must have been at work!

ELSIE [aside to POINT]
What have I done? Oh, woe is me!

PHOEBE & DAME Indeed I can't imagine who!
I've no idea at all, have you?

ELSIE I am his wife, and he is free!

POINT Oh, woe is you? Your anguish sink!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Oh, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Whate'er betide
You are his bride,
And I am left
Alone-- bereft!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!
Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me, Yes, woe is me,
Yes, woe is me, I rather think!

ENSEMBLE All frenzied with despair I/they rave,
The grave is cheated of its due.
Who is, who is the misbegotten knave
Who hath contrived this deed to do?

Let search, let search
Be made throughout the land,
Or his/my vindictive anger dread--
A thousand marks, a thousand marks
he'll/I'll hand
Who brings him here, alive or dead,
Who brings him here, alive or dead!
A thousand marks, a thousand marks,
Alive, alive or dead
Alive, alive or dead
Who brings him here, alive, alive, or dead.

[At the end, ELSIE faints in FAIRFAX's arms; all the YEOMEN
and CROWD rush off the stage in different directions, to
hunt for the fugitive, leaving only the HEADSMAN on the
stage, and ELSIE insensible in FAIRFAX's arms.

END OF ACT I
ACT II

[SCENE.-- The same-- Moonlight.]

[Two days have elapsed.]

[WOMEN and YEOMEN of the Guard discovered.

No. 13. Night has spread her pall once more
(CHORUS AND SOLO)
People, Yeomen, and Dame Carruthers

CHORUS Night has spread her pall once more,
And the pris'ner still is free:
Open is his dungeon door,
Useless now his dungeon key.
He has shaken off his yoke--
How, no mortal man can tell!
Shame on loutish jailor-folk--
Shame on sleepy sentinel!

[Enter DAME CARRUTHERS and KATE

DAME Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?
Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?
Bolt, bar, and key,
Shackle and cord,
Fetter and chain,
Dungeon and stone,
All are in vain--
Prisoner's flown!
Spite of ye all, he is free-- he is free!
Whom do ye ward? Pretty warders are ye!

WOMEN Pretty warders are ye!
Whom do ye ward?
Spite of ye all, he is free-- he is free!
Whom do ye ward?
Pretty warders are ye!

MEN Up and down, and in and out,
Here and there, and round about;
Ev'ry chamber, ev'ry house,
Ev'ry chink that holds a mouse,
Ev'ry crevice in the keep,
Where a beetle black could creep,
Ev'ry outlet, ev'ry drain,
Have we searched, but all in vain, all in vain.

WOMEN Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?

MEN Ev'ry house, ev'ry chink, ev'ry drain,

WOMEN Warders are ye?
Whom do ye ward?

MEN Ev'ry chamber, ev'ry outlet,
Have we searched, but all in vain.

WOMEN Night has spread her pall once more,
And the pris'ner still is free:

MEN Warders are we? Whom do we ward?
Whom do we ward?
Warders are we? Whom do we ward?
Whom do we ward?

WOMEN Open is his dungeon door,
Useless his dungeon key!

ALL Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!

MEN Pretty warders are we, he is free!
Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!

WOMEN Open is his dungeon door,

MEN Spite of us all, he is free, he is free!
Pretty warders are we, he is free! He is free!

WOMEN He is free! He is free!
Pretty warders are ye,

ALL He is free! He is free!
Pretty warders are ye/we!

[Exeunt all.

[Enter JACK POINT, in low spirits, reading from a huge
volume

POINT [reads] "The Merrie Jestes of Hugh Ambrose, No.
7863.The Poor Wit and the Rich Councillor. A certayne
poor wit, being an-hungered, did meet a well-fed
councillor.'Marry, fool,' quothe the councillor,
'whither away?' 'In truth,' said the poor wag, 'in
that I have eaten naught these two dayes, I do wither
away, and that right rapidly!' The Councillor laughed
hugely, and gave him a sausage." Humph! the councillor
was easier to please than my new master the
Lieutenant. I would like to take post under that
councillor. Ah! 'tis but melancholy mumming when poor
heart-broken, jilted Jack Point must needs turn to
Hugh Ambrose for original light humour!

[Enter WILFRED, also in low spirits.

WILFRED [sighing] Ah, Master Point!

POINT [changing his manner] Ha! friend jailer! Jailer that
wast-- jailer that never shalt be more! Jailer that
jailed not, or that jailed, if jail he did, so
unjailery that 'twas but jerry-jailing, or jailing in
joke-- though no joke to him who, by unjailerlike
jailing, did so jeopardise his jailership. Come, take
heart, smile, laugh, wink, twinkle, thou tormentor
that tormentest none-- thou racker that rackest not--
thou pincher out of place-- come, take heart, and be
merry, as I am!-- [aside, dolefully]-- as I am!

WILFRED Aye, it's well for thee to laugh. Thou hast a good
post, and hast cause to be merry.

POINT [bitterly] Cause? Have we not all cause? Is not the
world a big butt of humour, into which all who will
may drive a gimlet? See, I am a salaried wit; and is
there aught in nature more ridiculous? A poor, dull,
heart-broken man, who must needs be merry, or he will
be whipped; who must rejoice, lest he starve; who must
jest you, jibe you, quip you, crank you, wrack you,
riddle you, from hour to hour, from day to day, from
year to year, lest he dwindle, perish, starve,
pine,and die! Why, when there's naught else to laugh
at, I laugh at myself till I ache for it!

WILFRED Yet I have often thought that a jester's calling would
suit me to a hair.

POINT Thee? Would suit thee, thou death's head and cross-
bones?

WILFRED Aye, I have a pretty wit-- a light, airy, joysome wit,
spiced with anecdotes of prison cells and the torture
chamber. Oh, a very delicate wit! I have tried it on
many a prisoner, and there have been some who smiled.
Now it is not easy to make a prisoner smile. And it
should not be difficult to be a good jester, seeing
that thou are one.

POINT Difficult? Nothing easier. Nothing easier. Attend, and
I will prove it to thee!

No. 14. Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon
(SONG)
Point

POINT Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon,
If you listen to popular rumour;
From morning to night he's so joyous and bright,
And he bubbles with wit and good humour!
He's so quaint and so terse,
Both in prose and in verse;
Yet though people forgive his transgression,
There are one or two rules that all family fools
Must observe, if they love their profession.
There are one or two rules,
Half-a-dozen, maybe,
That all family fools,
Of whatever degree,
Must observe if they love their profession.

If you wish to succeed as a jester, you'll need
To consider each person's auricular:
What is all right for B would quite scandalize C
(For C is so very particular);
And D may be dull, and E's very thick skull
Is as empty of brains as a ladle;
While F is F sharp, and will cry with a carp,
That he's known your best joke from his cradle!
When your humour they flout,
You can't let yourself go;
And it does put you out
When a person says, "Oh!
I have known that old joke from my cradle!"

If your master is surly, from getting up early
(And tempers are short in the morning),
An inopportune joke is enough to provoke
Him to give you, at once, a month's warning.
Then if you refrain, he is at you again,
For he likes to get value for money:
He'll ask then and there, with an insolent stare,
"If you know that you're paid to be funny?"
It adds to the tasks
Of a merryman's place,
When your principal asks,
With a scowl on his face,
If you know that you're paid to be funny?

Comes a Bishop, maybe, or a solemn D.D.--
Oh, beware of his anger provoking!
Better not pull his hair--
Don't stick pins in his chair;
He won't understand practical joking.
If the jests that you crack have an orthodox smack,
You may get a bland smile from these sages;
But should it, by chance, be imported from France,
Half-a-crown is stopped out of your wages!
It's a general rule,
Tho' your zeal it may quench,
If the Family Fool
Makes a joke that's too French,
Half-a-crown is stopped out of his wages!

Though your head it may rack with a bilious attack,
And your senses with toothache you're losing,
And you're mopy and flat--
they don't fine you for that
If you're properly quaint and amusing!
Though your wife ran away with a soldier that day,
And took with her your trifle of money;
Bless your heart, they don't mind--
they're exceedingly kind--
They don't blame you--as long as you're funny!
It's a comfort to feel
If your partner should flit,
Though you suffer a deal,
They don't mind it a bit--
They don't blame you--so long as you're funny!

POINT And so thou wouldst be a jester eh?

WILFRED Aye!

POINT Now, listen! My sweetheart, Elsie Maynard, was
secretly wed to this Fairfax half an hour ere he
escaped.

WILFRED She did well.

POINT She did nothing of the kind, so hold thy peace and
perpend. Now, while he liveth she is dead to me and I
to her, and so, my jibes and jokes notwithstanding, I
am the saddest and the sorriest dog in England!

WILFRED Thou art a very dull dog indeed.

POINT Now, if thou wilt swear that thou didst shoot this
Fairfax while he was trying to swim across the river--
it needs but the discharge of an arquebus on a dark
night-- and that he sank and was seen no more, I'll
make thee the very Archbishop of jesters, and that in
two days'time! Now, what sayest thou?

WILFRED I am to lie?

POINT Heartily. But thy lie must be a lie of circumstance,
which I will support with the testimony of eyes,
ears,and tongue.

WILFRED And thou wilt qualify me as a jester?

POINT As a jester among jesters. I will teach thee all my
original songs, my self-constructed riddles, my own
ingenious paradoxes; nay, more, I will reveal to thee
the source whence I get them. Now, what sayest thou?

WILFRED Why, if it be but a lie thou wantest of me, I hold it
cheap enough, and I say yes, it is a bargain!

No. 15. Hereupon we're both agreed
(DUET)
Point and Wilfred

BOTH Hereupon we're both agreed,
All that we two
Do agree to
We'll secure by solemn deed,
To prevent all
Error mental.

POINT You on Elsie are to call
With a story
Grim and gory;

WILFRED How this Fairfax died, and all
I declare to
You're to swear to.

POINT I to swear to!

WILFRED I declare to,

POINT I to swear to!

WILFRED I declare to,

BOTH I to swear to,/I declare to,
You declare to,/You're to swear to,
I to swear to,/I declare to.

BOTH Tell a tale of cock and bull,
Of convincing detail full
Tale tremendous,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

In return for your/my own part
You are/I am making, undertaking
To instruct me/you in the art
(Art amazing, wonder raising)

POINT Of a jester, jesting free.
Proud position--
High ambition!

WILFRED And a lively one I'll be,
Wag-a-wagging,
Never flagging!

POINT Wag-a-wagging,

WILFRED Never flagging,

POINT Wag-a-wagging,

WILFRED Never flagging,

BOTH Never flagging,/Wag-a-wagging,
Wag-a-wagging,/Never flagging,
Never flagging,/Wag-a-wagging!

BOTH Tell a tale of cock and bull,
Of convincing detail full
Tale tremendous,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

POINT What a tale of cock,

WILFRED What a tale of bull!

POINT What a tale of cock,

WILFRED What a tale of bull!

BOTH What a tale of cock and bull,
Cock and bull, cock and bull,
Heav'n defend us!
What a tale of cock and bull!

[Exeunt together.

[Enter FAIRFAX

FAIRFAX Two days gone, and no news of poor Fairfax. The dolts!
They seek him everywhere save within a dozen yards of
his dungeon. So I am free! Free, but for the cursed
haste with which I hurried headlong into the bonds of
matrimony with-- Heaven knows whom! As far as I
remember, she should have been young; but even had not
her face been concealed by her kerchief, I doubt
whether, in my then plight, I should have taken much
note of her. Free? Bah! The Tower bonds were but a
thread of silk compared with these conjugal fetters
which I, fool that I was, placed upon mine own hands.
From the one I broke readily enough-- how to break the
other!

No. 16. Free from his fetters grim
(BALLAD)
Fairfax

FAIRFAX Free from his fetters grim--
Free to depart;
Free both in life and limb--
In all but heart!
Bound to an unknown bride
For good and ill;
Ah, is not one so tied
A pris'ner still, a pris'ner still?
Ah, is not one so tied
A pris'ner still?

Free, yet in fetters held
Till his last hour,
Gyves that no smith can weld,
No rust devour!
Although a monarch's hand
Had set him free,
Of all the captive band
The saddest he, the saddest he!
Of all the captive band
The saddest, saddest he!

[Enter SERGEANT MERYLL

FAIRFAX Well, Sergeant Meryll, and how fares thy pretty
charge,Elsie Maynard?

MERYLL Well enough, sir. She is quite strong again, and
leaves us to-night.

FAIRFAX Thanks to Dame Carruthers' kind nursing, eh?

MERYLL Aye, deuce take the old witch! Ah, 'twas but a sorry
trick you played me, sir, to bring the fainting girl
to me. It gave the old lady an excuse for taking up
her quarters in my house, and for the last two years
I've shunned her like the plague. Another day of it
and she would have married me! [Enter DAME CARRUTHERS
and KATE] Good Lord, here she is again! I'll e'en go.
[Going]

DAME Nay, Sergeant Meryll, don't go. I have something of
grave import to say to thee.

MERYLL [aside] It's coming.

FAIRFAX [laughing] I'faith, I think I', not wanted here.
[Going]

DAME Nay, Master Leonard, I've naught to say to thy father
that his son may not hear.

FAIRFAX [aside] True. I'm one of the family; I had forgotten!

DAME 'Tis about this Elsie Maynard. A pretty girl, Master
Leonard.

FAIRFAX Aye, fair as a peach blossom-- what then?

DAME She hath a liking for thee, or I mistake not.

FAIRFAX With all my heart. She's as dainty a little amid as
you'll find in a midsummer day's march.

DAME Then be warned in time, and give not thy heart to her.
Oh, I know what it is to give my heart to one who will
have none of it!

MERYLL [aside] Aye, she knows all about that.
[Aloud] And why is my boy to take heed of her? She's
a good girl, Dame Carruthers.

DAME Good enough, for aught I know. But she's no girl.
She's a married woman.

MERYLL A married woman! Tush, old lady-- she's promised to
Jack Point, the Lieutenant's new jester.

DAME Tush in thy teeth, old man! As my niece Kate sat by
her bedside to-day, this Elsie slept, and as she slept
she moaned and groaned, and turned this way and that
way-- and, "How shall I marry one I have never seen?"
quoth she-- then, "An hundred crowns!" quoth she--
then,"Is it certain he will die in an hour?" quoth
she-- then, "I love him not, and yet I am his wife,"
quoth she! Is it not so, Kate?

KATE Aye, aunt, 'tis even so.

FAIRFAX Art thou sure of all this?

KATE Aye, sir, for I wrote it all down on my tablets.

DAME Now, mark my words: it was of this Fairfax she spake,
and he is her husband, or I'll swallow my kirtle!

MERYLL [aside] Is it true, sir?

FAIRFAX [aside to MERYLL] True? Why, the girl was raving!
[Aloud] Why should she marry a man who had but an hour
to live?

DAME Marry? There be those who would marry but for a
minute, rather than die old maids.

MERYLL [aside] Aye, I know one of them!

No. 17. Strange adventure!
(QUARTET)
Kate, Dame, Carruthers, Fairfax and Sergeant Meryll

ALL Strange adventure! Maiden wedded
To a groom she's never seen--
Never, never, never seen!
Groom about to be beheaded,
In an hour on Tower Green!
Tower, Tower, Tower Green!
Groom in dreary dungeon lying,
Groom as good as dead, or dying,
For a pretty maiden sighing--
Pretty maid of seventeen!
Seven-- seven-- seventeen!

Strange adventure that we're trolling:
Modest maid and gallant groom--
Gallant, gallant, gallant groom!--
While the funeral bell is tolling,
Tolling, tolling, Bim-a-boom!
Bim-a, Bim-a, Bim-a-boom!
Modest maiden will not tarry;
Though but sixteen year she carry,
She must marry, she must marry,
Though the altar be a tomb--
Tower-- Tower-- Tower tomb!
Tower tomb! Tower tomb!
Though the altar be a tomb!
Tower, Tower, Tower tomb!

[Exeunt DAME CARRUTHERS, MERYLL, and KATE.

FAIRFAX So my mysterious bride is no other than this winsome
Elsie! By my hand, 'tis no such ill plunge in
Fortune's lucky bag! I might have fared worse with my
eyes open! But she comes. Now to test her principles.
'Tis not every husband who has a chance of wooing his
own wife!

[Enter ELSIE

FAIRFAX Mistress Elsie!

ELSIE Master Leonard!

FAIRFAX So thou leavest us to-night?

ELSIE Yes. Master Leonard. I have been kindly tended, and I
almost fear I am loth to go.

FAIRFAX And this Fairfax. Wast thou glad when he escaped?

ELSIE Why, truly, Master Leonard, it is a sad thing that a
young and gallant gentleman should die in the very
fullness of his life.

FAIRFAX Then when thou didst faint in my arms, it was for joy
at his safety?

ELSIE It may be so. I was highly wrought, Master Leonard,
and I am but a girl, and so, when I an highly wrought,
I faint.

FAIRFAX Now, dost thou know, I am consumed with a parlous
jealousy?

ELSIE Thou? And of whom?

FAIRFAX Why, of this Fairfax, surely!

ELSIE Of Colonel Fairfax?

FAIRFAX Aye. Shall I be frank with thee? Elsie-- I love thee,
ardently, passionately! [ELSIE alarmed and surprised]
Elsie, I have loved thee these two days-- which is a
long time-- and I would fain join my life to thine!

ELSIE Master Leonard! Thou art jesting!

FAIRFAX Jesting? May I shrivel into raisins if I jest! I love
thee with a love that is a fever-- with a love that is
a frenzy-- with a love that eateth up my heart! What
sayest thou? Thou wilt not let my heart be eaten up?

ELSIE [aside] Oh, mercy! What am I to say?

FAIRFAX Dost thou love me, or hast thou been insensible these
two days?

ELSIE I love all brave men.

FAIRFAX Nay, there is love in excess. I thank heaven there are
many brave men in England; but if thou lovest them
all, I withdraw my thanks.

ELSIE I love the bravest best. But, sir, I may not listen--
I am not free-- I-- I am a wife!

FAIRFAX Thou a wife? Whose? His name? His hours are
numbered--nay, his grave is dug and his epitaph set up!
Come, his name?

ELSIE Oh, sir! keep my secret-- it is the only barrier that
Fate could set up between us. My husband is none other
than Colonel Fairfax!

FAIRFAX The greatest villain unhung! The most ill-favoured,
ill-mannered, ill-natured, ill-omened, ill-tempered
dog in Christendom!

ELSIE It is very like. He is naught to me-- for I never saw
him. I was blindfolded, and he was to have died within
the hour; and he did not die-- and I am wedded to him,
and my heart is broken!

FAIRFAX He was to have died, and he did not die? The
scoundrel! The perjured, traitorous villain! Thou
shouldst have insisted on his dying first, to make
sure. 'Tis the only way with these Fairfaxes.

ELSIE I now wish I had!

FAIRFAX [aside] Bloodthirsty little maiden!
[Aloud] A fig for this Fairfax! Be mine-- he will never
know-- he dares not show himself; and if he dare, what
art thou to him? Fly with me, Elsie-- we will be
married tomorrow, and thou shalt be the happiest wife
in England!

ELSIE Master Leonard! I am amazed! Is it thus that brave
soldiers speak to poor girls? Oh! for shame, for
shame! I am wed-- not the less because I love not my
husband. I am a wife, sir, and I have a duty, and-- oh,
sir!-- thy words terrify me-- they are not honest-- they
are wicked words, and unworthy thy great and brave
heart! Oh,shame upon thee! shame upon thee!

FAIRFAX Nay, Elsie, I did but jest. I spake but to try thee--

[Shot heard

[Enter SERGEANT MERYLL hastily

No. 18. Hark! What was that, sir?
(SCENE)
Elsie, Phoebe, Dame Carruthers, Fairfax. Wilfred, Point,
Lieutenant, Sergeant

MERYLL Hark! What was that, sir?

FAIRFAX Why, an arquebus--
Fired from the wharf, unless I much mistake.

MERYLL Strange-- and at such an hour! What can it mean!

[Enter CHORUS excitedly

CHORUS Now what can that have been--
A shot so late at night,
Enough to cause a fright!
What can the portent mean?

Are foemen in the land?
Is London to be wrecked?
What are we to expect?
What danger is at hand?
Let us understand
What danger is at hand!

[LIEUTENANT enters, also POINT and WILFRED

LIEUT. Who fired that shot? At once the truth declare?

WILFRED My lord, 'twas I-- to rashly judge forebear!

POINT My lord, 'twas he-- to rashly judge forebear!

WILFRED Like a ghost his vigil keeping--

POINT Or a spectre all-appalling--

WILFRED I beheld a figure creeping--

POINT I should rather call it crawling--

WILFRED He was creeping--

POINT He was crawling--

WILFRED He was creeping, creeping--

POINT Crawling!

WILFRED He was creeping--

POINT He was crawling--

WILFRED He was creeping, creeping--

POINT Crawling!

WILFRED Not a moment's hesitation--
I myself upon him flung,
With a hurried exclamation
To his draperies I hung;
Then we closed with one another

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