(Exeunt all but Scaphio and Phantis. Phantis is pensive.)
Scaphio: Phantis, you are not in your customary exuberant spirits.
What is wrong?
Phantis: Scaphio, I think you once told me that you have never loved?
Scaphio: Never! I have often marvelled at the fairy influence which
weaves its rosy web about the faculties of the greatest and
wisest of our race; but I thank Heaven I have never been
subjected to its singular fascination. For, oh, Phantis!
there is that within me that tells me that when my time does
come, the convulsion will be tremendous! When I love, it
will be with the accumulated fervor of sixty-six years! But
I have an ideal--a semi-transparent Being, filled with an
inorganic pink jelly--and I have never yet seen the woman
who approaches within measurable distance of it. All are
Phantis: Keep that ideal firmly before you, and love not until you
find her. Though but fifty-five, I am an old campaigner in
the battle-fields of Love; and, believe me, it is better to
be as you are, heart-free and happy, than as I am--eternally
racked with doubting agonies! Scaphio, the Princess Zara
returns from England today!
Scaphio: My poor boy, I see it all.
Phantis: Oh! Scaphio, she is so beautiful. Ah! you smile, for you
have never seen her. She sailed for England three months
before you took office.
Scaphio: Now tell me, is your affection requited?
Phantis: I do not know--I am not sure. Sometimes I think it is, and
then come these torturing doubts! I feel sure that she does
not regard me with absolute indifference, for she could
never look at me without having to go to bed with a sick
Scaphio: That is surely something. Come, take heart, boy! you are
young and beautiful. What more could maiden want?
Phantis: Ah! Scaphio, remember she returns from a land where every
youth is as a young Greek god, and where such beauty as I
can boast is seen at every turn.
Scaphio: Be of good cheer! Marry her, boy, if so your fancy wills,
and be sure that love will come.
Phantis: (overjoyed) Then you will assist me in this?
Scaphio: Why, surely! Silly one, what have you to fear? We have but
to say the word, and her father must consent. Is he not our
very slave? Come, take heart. I cannot bear to see you
Phantis: Now I may hope, indeed! Scaphio, you have placed me on the
very pinnacle of human joy!
DUET -- Scaphio and Phantis.
Scaphio: Let all your doubts take wing--
Our influence is great.
If Paramount our King
Presume to hesitate
Put on the screw,
And caution him
That he will rue
That must ensue
To life and limb,
Should he pooh-pooh
This harmless whim.
Both: This harmless whim--this harmless whim,
It is as I/you say, a harmless whim.
Phantis: (dancing) Observe this dance
Which I employ
When I, by chance
Go mad with joy.
Does this express?
(Phantis continues his dance while Scaphio vainly endeavors to discover
Both: Of course it does! Of course it does!
Supreme content and happiness.
Phantis: Your friendly aid conferred,
I need no longer pine.
I've but to speak the word,
And lo, the maid is mine!
I do not choose
To be denied.
Or wish to lose
A lovely bride--
If to refuse
The King decide,
The royal shoes
Then woe betide!
Both: Then woe betide--then woe betide!
The Royal shoes then woe betide!
Scaphio: (Dancing) This step to use
Whene'er I choose
To serve a friend.
What it implies
Now try to guess;
(Scaphio continues his dance while Phantis is vainly endeavouring to
discover its meaning)
Both: (Dancing) Of course it does! Of course it does!
It typifies unselfishness.
(Exeunt Scaphio and Phantis.)
March. Enter King Paramount, attended by guards and nobles, and preced-
ed by girls dancing before him.
Quaff the nectar--cull the roses--
Gather fruit and flowers in plenty!
For our king no longer poses--
Sing the songs of far niente!
Wake the lute that sets us lilting,
Dance a welcome to each comer;
Day by day our year is wilting--
Sing the sunny songs of summer!
La, la, la, la!
SOLO -- King.
A King of autocratic power we--
A despot whose tyrannic will is law--
Whose rule is paramount o'er land and sea,
A presence of unutterable awe!
But though the awe that I inspire
Must shrivel with imperial fire
All foes whom it may chance to touch,
To judge by what I see and hear,
It does not seem to interfere
With popular enjoyment, much.
Chorus: No, no--it does not interfere
With our enjoyment much.
Stupendous when we rouse ourselves to strike,
Resistless when our tyrant thunder peals,
We often wonder what obstruction's like,
And how a contradicted monarch feels.
But as it is our Royal whim
Our Royal sails to set and trim
To suit whatever wind may blow--
What buffets contradiction deals
And how a thwarted monarch feels
We probably will never know.
Chorus: No, no--what thwarted monarch feels,
You'll never, never know.
RECITATIVE -- King.
My subjects all, it is your with emphatic
That all Utopia shall henceforth be modelled
Upon that glorious country called Great Britain--
To which some add--but others do not--Ireland.
Chorus: It is!
King: That being so, as you insist upon it,
We have arranged that our two younger daughters
Who have been "finished" by an English Lady--
(tenderly) A grave and good and gracious English Lady--
Shall daily be exhibited in public,
That all may learn what, from the English standpoint,
Is looked upon as maidenly perfection!
Come hither, daughters!
(Enter Nekaya and Kalyba. They are twins, about fifteen years old; they
are very modest and demure in their appearance, dress and manner.
They stand with their hands folded and their eyes cast down.)
How fair! how modest! how discreet!
How bashfully demure!
See how they blush, as they've been taught,
At this publicity unsought!
How English and how pure!
DUET -- Nekaya and Kalyba.
Both: Although of native maids the cream,
We're brought up on the English scheme--
The best of all
For great and small
Who modesty adore.
Nek: For English girls are good as gold,
Extremely modest (so we're told)
Demurely coy--divinely cold--
And that we are--and more.
Kal: To please papa, who argues thus--
All girls should mould themselves on us
Because we are
By furlongs far
The best of the bunch,
We show ourselves to loud applause
From ten to four without a pause--
Nek: Which is an awkward time because
It cuts into our lunch.
Both: Oh maids of high and low degree,
Whose social code is rather free,
Please look at us and you will see
What good young ladies ought to be!
Nek: And as we stand, like clockwork toys,
A lecturer whom papa employs
Proceeds to prussia
Our modest ways
And guileless character--
Kal: Our well-known blush--our downcast eyes--
Our famous look of mild surprise.
Nek: (Which competition still defies)--
Our celebrated "Sir!!!"
Kal: Then all the crowd take down our looks
In pocket memorandum books.
Our modest pose
The Kodaks do their best:
Nek: If evidence you would possess
Of what is maiden bashfulness
You need only a button press--
Kal: And we will do the rest.
Enter Lady Sophy -- an English lady of mature years and extreme gravity
of demeanour and dress. She carries a lecturer's wand in her
hand. She is led on by the King, who expresses great regard and
admiration for her.