(Enter all the Royal Household, including (besides the Lord Chamber-
lain) the Vice-Chamberlain, the Master of the Horse, the Master
of the Buckhounds, the Lord High Treasurer, the Lord Steward, the
Comptroller of the Household, the Lord-in-Waiting, the Field
Officer in Brigade Waiting, the Gold and Silver Stick, and the
Gentlemen Ushers. Then enter the three Princesses (their trains
carried by Pages of Honor), Lady Sophy, and the
King: My daughters, we are about to attempt a very solemn ceremo-
nial, so no giggling, if you please. Now, my Lord Chamber-
lain, we are ready.
Lord D.: Then, ladies and gentlemen, places, if you please. His Maj-
esty will take his place in front of the throne, and will be
so obliging as to embrace all the debutantes. (LADY SOPHY
King: What--must I really?
Lord D.: Absolutely indispensable.
King: More jam for the Palace Peeper!
(The King takes his place in front of the throne, the Princess Zara on
his left, the two younger Princesses on the left of Zara.)
King: Now, is every one in his place?
Lord D.: Every one is in his place.
King: Then let the revels commence.
(Enter the ladies attending the Drawing-Room. They give their cards
to the Groom-in-Waiting, who passes them to the Lord-in-Waiting,
who passes them to the Vice-Chamberlain, who passes them to the
Lord Chamberlain, who reads the names to the King as each lady
approaches. The ladies curtsey in succession to the King and the
three Princesses, and pass out. When all the presentations have
been accomplished, the King, Princesses, and Lady Sophy come
forward, and all the ladies re-enter.)
RECITATIVE -- King
This ceremonial our wish displays
To copy all Great Britain's courtly ways.
Though lofty aims catastrophe entail,
We'll gloriously succeed or nobly fail!
Eagle High in Cloudland soaring--
Sparrow twittering on a reed--
Tiger in the jungle roaring--
Frightened fawn in grassy mead--
Let the eagle, not the sparrow,
Be the object of your arrow--
Fix the tiger with your eye--
Pass the fawn in pity by.
Glory then will crown the day--
Glory, glory, anyway!
Enter Scaphio and Phantis, now dressed as judges in red and ermine robes
and undress wigs. They come down stage melodramatically --
DUET -- Scaphio and Phantis.
Sca.: With fury deep we burn
Phan.: We do--
Sca.: We fume with smothered rage--
Phan.: We do--
Sca.: These Englishmen who rule supreme,
Their undertaking they redeem
By stifling every harmless scheme
In which we both engage--
Phan.: They do--
Sca.: In which we both engage--
Phan.: We think it is our turn--
Sca.: We do--
Phan.: We think our turn has come--
Sca.: We do.
Phan.: These Englishmen, they must prepare
To seek at once their native air.
The King as heretofore, we swear,
Shall be beneath our thumb--
Sca.: He shall--
Phan.: Shall be beneath out thumb--
Sca.: He shall.
Both: (with great energy)
For this mustn't be, and this won't do.
If you'll back me, then I'll back you,
No, this won't do,
No, this mustn't be.
With fury deep we burn...
Enter the King.
King: Gentlemen, gentlemen--really! This unseemly display of
energy within the Royal precincts is altogether unpardon-
able. Pray, what do you complain of?
Scaphio: (furiously) What do we complain of? Why, through the
innovations introduced by the Flowers of Progress all our
harmless schemes for making a provision for our old age are
ruined. Our Matrimonial Agency is at a standstill, our
Cheap Sherry business is in bankruptcy, our Army Clothing
contracts are paralyzed, and even our Society paper, the
Palace Peeper, is practically defunct!
King: Defunct? Is that so? Dear, dear, I am truly sorry.
Scaphio: Are you aware that Sir Bailey Barre has introduced a law of
libel by which all editors of scurrilous newspapers are pub-
licly flogged--as in England? And six of our editors have
resigned in succession! Now, the editor of a scurrilous
paper can stand a good deal--he takes a private thrashing as
a matter of course--it's considered in his salary--but no
gentleman likes to be publicly flogged.
King: Naturally. I shouldn't like it myself.
Phantis: Then our Burlesque Theater is absolutely ruined!
King: Dear me. Well, theatrical property is not what it was.
Phantis: Are you aware that the Lord Chamberlain, who has his own
views as to the best means of elevating the national drama,
has declined to license any play that is not in blank verse
and three hundred years old--as in England?
Scaphio: And as if that wasn't enough, the County Councillor has or-
dered a four-foot wall to be built up right across the
proscenium, in case of fire--as in England.
Phantis: It's so hard on the company--who are liable to be roasted
alive--and this has to be met by enormously increased
salaries--as in England.
Scaphio: You probably know that we've contracted to supply the entire
nation with a complete English outfit. But perhaps you do
not know that, when we send in our bills, our customers
plead liability limited to a declared capital of
eighteenpence, and apply to be dealt with under the
Winding-up Act--as in England?
King: Really, gentlemen, this is very irregular. If you will be
so good as to formulate a detailed list of your grievances
in writing, addressed to the Secretary of Utopia Limited,
they will be laid before the Board, in due course, at their
next monthly meeting.
Scaphio: Are we to understand that we are defied?
King: That is the idea I intended to convey.
Phantis: Defied! We are defied!
Scaphio: (furiously) Take care--you know our powers. Trifle with
us, and you die!
TRIO -- Scaphio, Phantis, and King.
Sca.: If you think that, when banded in unity,
We may both be defied with impunity,
You are sadly misled of a verity!
Phan.: If you value repose and tranquility,
You'll revert to a state of docility,
Or prepare to regret your temerity!
King.: If my speech is unduly refractory
You will find it a course satisfactory
At an early Board meeting to show it up.
Though if proper excuse you can trump any,
You may wind up a Limited Company,
You cannot conveniently blow it up!
(Scaphio and Phantis thoroughly baffled)
King.: (Dancing quietly)
Whene'er I chance to baffle you
I, also, dance a step or two--
Of this now guess the hidden sense:
(Scaphio and Phantis consider the question as King continues dancing
quietly--then give it up.)
It means complete indifference!
Sca. and Phan.: Of course it does--indifference!
It means complete indifference!
(King dancing quietly. Sca. and Phan. dancing furiously.)
Sca. and Phan.: As we've a dance for every mood
With pas de trois we will conclude,
What this may mean you all may guess--
It typifies remorselessness!
King.: It means unruffled cheerfulness!
(King dances off placidly as Scaphio and Phantis dance furiously.)
Phantis: (breathless) He's right--we are helpless! He's no longer a
human being--he's a Corporation, and so long as he confines
himself to his Articles of Association we can't touch him!
What are we to do?
Scaphio: Do? Raise a Revolution, repeal the Act of Sixty-Two, recon-
vert him into an individual, and insist on his immediate ex-
plosion! (Tarara enters.) Tarara, come here; you're the
very man we want.
Tarara: Certainly, allow me. (Offers a cracker to each; they snatch
them away impatiently.) That's rude.
Scaphio: We have no time for idle forms. You wish to succeed to the
Scaphio: Then you won't unless you join us. The King has defied us,
and, as matters stand, we are helpless. So are you. We
must devise some plot at once to bring the people about his
Tarara: A plot?
Phantis: Yes, a plot of superhuman subtlety. Have you such a thing
Tarara: (feeling) No, I think not. No. There's one on my
Scaphio: We can't wait--we must concoct one at once, and put it into
execution without delay. There is not a moment to spare!