Scene.-Picture Gallery in Ruddigore Castle. The walls are covered with full-length portraits of the Baronets of Ruddigore from the time of James I.-the first being that of Sir Rupert, alluded to in the legend; the last, that of the last deceased Baronet, Sir Roderic.
Enter Robin and Adam melodramatically. They are greatly altered in appearance, Robin wearing the haggard aspect of a guilty roue; Adam, that of the wicked steward to such a man.
DUET-ROBIN and ADAM.
ROBIN I once was as meek as a new-born lamb, I'm now Sir Murgatroyd-ha! ha! With greater precision (Without the elision), Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd-ha! ha!
ADAM. And I, who was once his valley-de-sham, As steward I'm now employed-ha! ha! The dickens may take him- I'll never forsake him! As steward I'm now employed-ha! ha!
ADDITIONAL SONG (Omitted after opening night.)
ROBIN My face is the index to my mind, All venom and spleen and gall-ha! ha! Or, properly speaking, It soon will be reeking, With venom and spleen and gall-ha! ha!
ADAM. My name from Adam Goodheart you'll find I've changed to Gideon Crawle-ha! ha! For bad Bart's steward Whose heart is much too hard Is always Gideon Crawle-ha! ha!
BOTH. How dreadful when an innocent heart Becomes, perforce, a bad young Bart., And still more hard on old Adam, His former faithful valley-de-sham!
ROBIN This is a painful state of things, old Adam!
ADAM. Painful, indeed! Ah, my poor master, when I swore that, come what would, I would serve you in all things for ever, I little thought to what a pass it would bring me! The confidential adviser to the greatest villain unhung! Now, sir, to business. What crime do you propose to commit to-day? How should I know? As my confidential adviser, it's your duty to suggest something.
ADAM. Sir, I loathe the life you are leading, but a good old man's oath is paramount, and I obey. Richard Dauntless is here with pretty Rose Maybud, to ask your consent to their marriage. Poison their beer.
ROBIN No-not that-I know I'm a bad Bart., but I'm not as bad a Bart. as all that.
ADAM. Well, there you are, you see! It's no use my making suggestions if you don't adopt them.
ROBIN (melodramatically). How would it be, do you think, were I to lure him here with cunning wile-bind him with good stout rope to yonder post-and then, by making hideous faces at him, curdle the heart-blood in his arteries, and freeze the very marrow in his bones? How say you, Adam, is not the scheme well planned?
ADAM. It would be simply rude-nothing more. But soft-they come!
(Adam and Robin retire up as Richard and Rose enter, preceded by Chorus of Bridesmaids.)
DUET-RICHARD and ROSE.
RICHARD Happily coupled are we, You see- I am a jolly Jack Tar, My star, And you are the fairest, The richest and rarest Of innocent lasses you are, By far- Of innocent lasses you are! Fanned by a favouring gale, You'll sail Over life's treacherous sea With me, And as for bad weather, We'll brave it together, And you shall creep under my lee, My wee! And you shall creep under my lee! For you are such a smart little craft- Such a neat little, sweet little craft, Such a bright little, tight little, Slight little, light little, Trim little, prim little craft!
CHORUS. For she is such, etc.
ROSE. My hopes will be blighted, I fear, My dear; In a month you'll be going to sea, Quite free, And all of my wishes You'll throw to the fishes As though they were never to be; Poor me! As though they were never to be. And I shall be left all alone To moan, And weep at your cruel deceit, Complete; While you'll be asserting Your freedom by flirting With every woman you meet, You cheat-Ah! With every woman you meet! Ah! Though I am such a smart little craft- Such a neat little, sweet little craft, Such a bright little, tight little, Slight little, light little, Trim little, prim little craft!
CHORUS. Though she is such, etc.
( Enter Robin.)
ROBIN Soho! pretty one-in my power at last, eh? Know ye not that I have those within my call who, at my lightest bidding, would immure ye in an uncomfortable dungeon? (Calling.) What ho! within there!
RICHARD Hold-we are prepared for this (producing a Union Jack). Here is a flag that none dare defy (all kneel), and while this glorious rag floats over Rose Maybud's head, the man does not live who would dare to lay unlicensed hand upon her!
ROBIN Foiled-and by a Union Jack! But a time will come, and then-
ROSE. Nay, let me plead with him. (To Robin.) Sir Ruthven, have pity. In my book of etiquette the case of a maiden about to be wedded to one who unexpectedly turns out to be a baronet with a curse on him is not considered. Time was when you loved me madly. Prove that this was no selfish love by according your consent to my marriage with one who, if he be not you yourself, is the next best thing-your dearest friend!
BALLAD-ROSE. In bygone days I had thy love- Thou hadst my heart. But Fate, all human vows above, Our lives did part! By the old love thou hadst for me- By the fond heart that beat for thee- By joys that never now can be, Grant thou my prayer!
ALL (kneeling). Grant thou her prayer!
ROBIN (recitative). Take her-I yield!
ALL. (recitative). Oh, rapture! (All rising.)
CHORUS. Away to the parson we go- Say we're solicitous very That he will turn two into one- Singing hey, derry down derry!
RICHARD For she is such a smart little craft-
ROSE. Such a neat little, sweet little craft-
RICHARD Such a bright little-
ROSE. Tight little-
RICHARD Slight little-
ROSE. Light little-
BOTH. Trim little, prim little craft!
CHORUS. For she is such a smart little craft, etc.
(Exeunt all but Robin.)
ROBIN For a week I have fulfilled my accursed doom! I have duly committed a crime a day! Not a great crime, I trust, but still, in the eyes of one as strictly regulated as I used to be, a crime. But will my ghostly ancestors be satisfied with what I have done, or will they regard it as an unworthy subterfuge? (Addressing Pictures.) Oh, my forefathers, wallowers in blood, there came at last a day when, sick of crime, you, each and every, vowed to sin no more, and so, in agony, called welcome Death to free you from your cloying guiltiness. Let the sweet psalm of that repentant hour soften your long-dead hearts, and tune your souls to mercy on your poor posterity! (Kneeling).
(The stage darkens for a moment. It becomes light again, and the Pictures are seen to have become animated.)
CHORUS OF FAMILY PORTRAITS. Painted emblems of a race, All accurst in days of yore, Each from his accustomed place Steps into the world once more. (The Pictures step from their frames and march round the stage.) Baronet of Ruddigore, Last of our accursed line, Down upon the oaken floor- Down upon those knees of thine. Coward, poltroon, shaker, squeamer, Blockhead, sluggard, dullard, dreamer, Shirker, shuffler, crawler, creeper, Sniffler, snuffler, wailer, weeper, Earthworm, maggot, tadpole, weevil! Set upon thy course of evil, Lest the King of Spectre-land Set on thee his grisly hand!
(The Spectre of Sir Roderic descends from his frame.)
SIR RODERIC Beware! beware! beware!
ROBIN Gaunt vision, who art thou That thus, with icy glare And stern relentless brow, Appearest, who knows how?
SIR RODERIC I am the spectre of the late Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, Who comes to warn thee that thy fate Thou canst not now avoid.
ROBIN Alas, poor ghost!
SIR RODERIC The pity you Express for nothing goes: We spectres are a jollier crew Than you, perhaps, suppose!
CHORUS. We spectres are a jollier crew Than you, perhaps, suppose!
SONG-SIR RODERIC. When the night wind howls in the chimney cowls, and the bat in the moonlight flies, And inky clouds, like funeral shrouds, sail over the midnight skies- When the footpads quail at the night-bird's wail, and black dogs bay at the moon, Then is the spectres' holiday-then is the ghosts' high-noon!
CHORUS. Ha! ha! Then is the ghosts' high-noon! As the sob of the breeze sweeps over the trees, and the mists lie low on the fen, From grey tomb-stones are gathered the bones that once were women and men, And away they go, with a mop and a mow, to the revel that ends too soon, For cockcrow limits our holiday-the dead of the night's high-noon!
CHORUS. Ha! ha! The dead of the night's high-noon! And then each ghost with his ladye-toast to their churchyard beds takes flight, With a kiss, perhaps, on her lantern chaps, and a grisly grim "good-night"; Till the welcome knell of the midnight bell rings forth its jolliest tune, And ushers in our next high holiday-the dead of the night's high-noon!
CHORUS. Ha! ha! The dead of the night's high-noon! Ha! ha! ha! ha!
ROBIN I recognize you now-you are the picture that hangs at the end of the gallery.
SIR RODERIC In a bad light. I am.
ROBIN Are you considered a good likeness?
SIR RODERIC Pretty well. Flattering.
ROBIN Because as a work of art you are poor.
SIR RODERIC I am crude in colour, but I have only been painted ten years. In a couple of centuries I shall be an Old Master, and then you will be sorry you spoke lightly of me.
ROBIN And may I ask why you have left your frames?
SIR RODERIC It is our duty to see that our successors commit their daily crimes in a conscientious and workmanlike fashion. It is our duty to remind you that you are evading the conditions under which you are permitted to exist.
ROBIN Really, I don't know what you'd have. I've only been a bad baronet a week, and I've committed a crime punctually every day.
SIR RODERIC Let us inquire into this. Monday?
ROBIN Monday was a Bank Holiday.
SIR RODERIC True. Tuesday?
ROBIN On Tuesday I made a false income-tax return.
ALL. Ha! ha!
1ST GHOST. That's nothing.
2ND GHOST. Nothing at all.
3RD GHOST. Everybody does that.
4TH GHOST. It's expected of you.
SIR RODERIC Wednesday?
ROBIN (melodramatically). On Wednesday I forged a will.
SIR RODERIC Whose will?
ROBIN My own.
SIR RODERIC My good sir, you can't forge your own will!
ROBIN Can't I, though! I like that! I did! Besides, if a man can't forge his own will, whose will can he forge?
1ST GHOST. There's something in that.
2ND GHOST. Yes, it seems reasonable.
3RD GHOST. At first sight it does.
4TH GHOST. Fallacy somewhere, I fancy!
ROBIN A man can do what he likes with his own!
SIR RODERIC I suppose he can.
ROBIN Well, then, he can forge his own will, stoopid! On Thursday I shot a fox.
1ST GHOST. Hear, hear!
SIR RODERIC That's better (addressing Ghosts). Pass the fox, I think? (They assent.) Yes, pass the fox. Friday?
ROBIN On Friday I forged a cheque.
SIR RODERIC Whose cheque?
ROBIN Old Adam's.
SIR RODERIC But Old Adam hasn't a banker.
ROBIN I didn't say I forged his banker-I said I forged his cheque. On Saturday I disinherited my only son.
SIR RODERIC But you haven't got a son.
ROBIN No-not yet. I disinherited him in advance, to save time. You see-by this arrangement-he'll be born ready disinherited.
SIR RODERIC I see. But I don't think you can do that.
ROBIN My good sir, if I can't disinherit my own unborn son, whose unborn son can I disinherit?
SIR RODERIC Humph! These arguments sound very well, but I can't help thinking that, if they were reduced to syllogistic form, they wouldn't hold water. Now quite understand us. We are foggy, but we don't permit our fogginess to be presumed upon. Unless you undertake to-well, suppose we say, carry off a lady? (Addressing Ghosts.) Those who are in favour of his carrying off a lady? (All hold up their hands except a Bishop.) Those of the contrary opinion? (Bishop holds up his hands.) Oh, you're never satisfied! Yes, unless you undertake to carry off a lady at once-I don't care what lady-any lady-choose your lady-you perish in inconceivable agonies.
ROBIN Carry off a lady? Certainly not, on any account. I've the greatest respect for ladies, and I wouldn't do anything of the kind for worlds! No, no. I'm not that kind of baronet, I assure you! If that's all you've got to say, you'd bettergo back to your frames.
TO WRITHE IN AGONY
Very good-then let the agonies commence.
(Ghosts make passes. Robin begins to writhe in agony.)
ROBIN Oh! Oh! Don't do that! I can't stand it!
SIR RODERIC Painful, isn't it? It gets worse by degrees.
ROBIN Oh-Oh! Stop a bit! Stop it, will you? I want to speak.
(Sir Roderic makes signs to Ghosts, who resume their attitudes.)
SIR RODERIC Better?
ROBIN Yes-better now! Whew!
SIR RODERIC Well, do you consent?
ROBIN But it's such an ungentlemanly thing to do!
SIR RODERIC As you please. (To Ghosts.) Carry on!
ROBIN Stop-I can't stand it! I agree! I promise! It shall be done!
SIR RODERIC To-day?
SIR RODERIC At once?
ROBIN At once! I retract! I apologize! I had no idea it was anything like that!
CHORUS. He yields! He answers to our call! We do not ask for more. A sturdy fellow, after all, This latest Ruddigore! All perish in unheard-of woe Who dare our wills defy; We want your pardon, ere we go, For having agonized you so- So pardon us- So pardon us- So pardon us- Or die!
ROBIN I pardon you! I pardon you!
ALL. He pardons us- Hurrah!
(The Ghosts return to their frames.)
CHORUS. Painted emblems of a race, All accurst in days of yore, Each to his accustomed place Steps unwillingly once more!
(By this time the Ghosts have changed to pictures again. Robin is overcome by emotion.)
ADAM. My poor master, you are not well-
ROBIN Old Adam, it won't do-I've seen 'em-all my ancestors-they're just gone. They say that I must do something desperate at once, or perish in horrible agonies. Go-go to yonder village-carry off a maiden-bring her here at once-any one-I don't care which-
ROBIN Not a word, but obey! Fly! (Exeunt Adam)
RECIT. and SONG-ROBIN. Away, Remorse! Compunction, hence!. Go, Moral Force! Go, Penitence! To Virtue's plea A long farewell- Propriety, I ring your knell! Come, guiltiness of deadliest hue! Come, desperate deeds of derring-do! Henceforth all the crimes that I find in the Times. I've promised to perpetrate daily; To-morrow I start with a petrified heart, On a regular course of Old Bailey. There's confidence tricking, bad coin, pocket-picking, And several other disgraces- There's postage-stamp prigging, and then thimble-rigging, The three-card delusion at races! Oh! A baronet's rank is exceedingly nice, But the title's uncommonly dear at the price! Ye well-to-do squires, who live in the shires, Where petty distinctions are vital, Who found Athenaeums and local museums, With a view to a baronet's title- Ye butchers and bakers and candlestick makers Who sneer at all things that are tradey- Whose middle-class lives are embarrassed by wives Who long to parade as "My Lady", Oh! allow me to offer a word of advice, The title's uncommonly dear at the price! Ye supple M.P.'s who go down on your knees, Your precious identity sinking, And vote black or white as your leaders indite (Which saves you the trouble of thinking), For your country's good fame, her repute, or her shame, You don't care the snuff of a candle- But you're paid for your game when you're told that your name Will be graced by a baronet's handle- Oh! Allow me to give you a word of advice- The title's uncommonly dear at the price! (Exit Robin.)
(Enter Despard and Margaret. They are both dressed in sober black of formal cut, and present a strong contrast to their appearance in Act I.)
DESPARD I once was a very abandoned person-
MARGARET Making the most of evil chances.
DESPARD Nobody could conceive a worse 'un-
MARGARET Even in all the old romances.
DESPARD I blush for my wild extravagances, But be so kind To bear in mind,
MARGARET We were the victims of circumstances! (Dance.) That is one of our blameless dances.
MARGARET I was once an exceedingly odd young lady-
DESPARD Suffering much from spleen and vapours.
MARGARET Clergymen thought my conduct shady-
DESPARD She didn't spend much upon linen-drapers.
MARGARET It certainly entertained the gapers. My ways were strange Beyond all range-
DESPARD Paragraphs got into all the papers. (Dance.)
DESPARD We only cut respectable capers.
DESPARD I've given up all my wild proceedings.
MARGARET My taste for a wandering life is waning.
DESPARD Now I'm a dab at penny readings.
MARGARET They are not remarkably entertaining.
DESPARD A moderate livelihood we're gaining.
MARGARET In fact we rule A National School.
DESPARD The duties are dull, but I'm not complaining. (Dance.) This sort of thing takes a deal of training!
DESPARD We have been married a week.
MARGARET One happy, happy week!
DESPARD Our new life-
MARGARET Is delightful indeed!
DESPARD So calm!
MARGARET So unimpassioned! (Wildly). Master, all this I owe to you! See, I am no longer wild and untidy. My hair is combed. My face is washed. My boots fit!
DESPARD Margaret, don't. Pray restrain yourself. Remember, you are now a district visitor.
MARGARET A gentle district visitor!
DESPARD You are orderly, methodical, neat; you have your emotions well under control.
MARGARET I have! (Wildly). Master, when I think of all you have done for me, I fall at your feet. I embrace your ankles. I hug your knees! (Doing so.)
DESPARD Hush. This is not well. This is calculated to provoke remark. Be composed, I beg!
MARGARET Ah! you are angry with poor little Mad Margaret!
DESPARD No, not angry; but a district visitor should learn to eschew melodrama. Visit the poor, by all means, and give them tea and barley-water, but don't do it as if you were administering a bowl of deadly nightshade. It upsets them. Then when you nurse sick people, and find them not as well as could be expected, why go into hysterics?
MARGARET Why not?
DESPARD Because it's too jumpy for a sick-room.
MARGARET How strange! Oh, Master! Master!-how shall I express the all-absorbing gratitude that- (about to throw herself at his feet).
DESPARD Now! (Warningly).
MAR. Yes, I know, dear it shan't occur again. Shall I tell you one of poor Mad Margaret's odd thoughts? Well, then, when I am lying awake at night, and the pale moonlight streams through the latticed casement, strange fancies crowd upon my poor mad brain, and I sometimes think that if we could hit upon some word for you to use whenever I am about to relapse some word that teems with hidden meaning like "Basingstoke" it might recall me to my saner self. For, after all, I am only Mad Margaret! Daft Meg! Poor Meg! He! he! he!
DES. Poor child, she wanders! But soft some one comes Margaret pray recollect yourself Basingstoke, I beg! Margaret, if you don't Basingstoke at once, I shall be seriously angry.
MAR. (recovering herself). Basingstoke it is!
DES. Then make it so.
(Enter ROBIN. He starts on seeing them.)
ROB. Despard! And his young wife! This visit is unexpected.
MAR. Shall I fly at him? Shall I tear him limb from limb? Shall I rend him asunder? Say but the word and
MAR. (suddenly demure) Basingstoke it is!
DES. (aside) Then make it so. (aloud) My brother I call you brother still, despite your horrible profligacy we have come to urge you to abandon the evil courses to which you have committed yourself, and at any cost to become a pure and blameless ratepayer.
ROB. But I've done no wrong yet.
MAR. (wildly) No wrong! He has done no wrong! Did you hear that!
MAR. (recovering herself) Basingstoke it is!
DES. My brother I still call you brother, you observe you forget that you have been, in the eye of the law, a Bad Baronet of Ruddigore for ten years and you are therefore responsible in the eye of the law for all the misdeeds committed by the unhappy gentleman who occupied your place.
ROB. I see! Bless my heart, I never thought of that! Was I very bad?
DES. Awful. Wasn't he? (To MARGARET)
ROB. And I've been going on like this for how long?
DES. Ten years! Think of all the atrocities you have committed by attorney as it were during that period. Remember how you trifled with this poor child's affections how you raised her hopes on high (don't cry, my love Basingstoke, you know), only to trample them in the dust when they were at the very zenith of their fullness. Oh fie, sir, fie she trusted you!
ROB. Did she? What a scoundrel I must have been! There, there don't cry, my dear (to MARGARET, who is sobbing on ROBIN's breast), it's all right now. Birmingham, you know Birmingham.
MAR. (sobbing) It's Ba Ba Basingstoke!
ROB. Basingstoke! Of course it is Basingstoke.
MAR. Then make it so!
ROB. There, there it's all right he's married you now that is, I've married you (turning to DESPARD) I say, which of us has married her?
DES. Oh, I've married her.
ROB. (aside) Oh, I'm glad of that. (to MARGARET) Yes, he's married you now (passing her over to DESPARD), and anything more disreputable than my conduct seems to have been I've never even heard of. But my mind is made up I will defy my ancestors. I will refuse to obey their behests, thus, by courting death, atone in some degree for the infamy of my career!
MAR. I knew it I knew it God bless you (hysterically)
MAR. Basingstoke it is! (Recovers herself.)
PATTER-TRIO. ROBIN, DESPARD, AND MARGARET.
ROB. My eyes are fully open to my awful situation I shall go at once to Roderic and make him an oration. I shall tell him I've recovered my forgotten moral senses, And I don't care twopence-halfpenny for any consequences. Now I do not want to perish by the sword or by the dagger, But a martyr may indulge a little pardonable swagger, And a word or two of compliment my vanity would flatter, But I've got to die tomorrow, so it really doesn't matter!
DES. So it really doesn't matter
MAR. So it really doesn't matter
ALL. So it really doesn't matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!
MAR. If I were not a little mad and generally silly I should give you my advice upon the subject, willy-nilly; I should show you in a moment how to grapple with the question, And you'd really be astonished at the force of my suggestion. On the subject I shall write you a most valuable letter, Full of excellent suggestions when I feel a little better, But at present I'm afraid I am as mad as any hatter, So I'll keep 'em to myself, for my opinion doesn't matter!
DES. Her opinion doesn't matter
ROB. Her opinion doesn't matter
ALL. Her opinion doesn't matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!
DES. If I had been so lucky as to have a steady brother Who could talk to me as we are talking now to one another Who could give me good advice when he discovered I was erring (Which is just the very favour which on you I am conferring), My existance would have made a rather interesting idyll, And I might have lived and died a very decent indiwiddle. This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter!
ROB. If it is it doesn't matter
MAR. If it is it doesn't matter
ALL. If it is it doesn't matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!
(Exeunt DESPARD and MARGARET.)
( Enter ADAM.)
ADAM. (guiltily) Master the deed is done!
ROB. What deed?
ADAM. She is here alone, unprotected
ADAM. The maiden. I've carried her off I had a hard task, for she fought like a tiger-cat!
ROB. Great Heaven, I had forgotten her! I had hoped to have died unspotted by crime, but I am foiled again and by a tiger-cat! Produce her and leave us!
(ADAM introduces DAME HANNAH, very much excited, and exit.)
ROB. Dame Hannah! This is this is not what I expected.
HAN. Well, sir, and what would you with me? Oh, you have begun bravely bravely indeed! Unappalled by the calm dignity of blameless womanhood, your minion has torn me from my spotless home, and dragged me, blindfold and shrieking, through hedges, over stiles, and across a very difficult country, and left me, helpless and trembling, at your mercy! Yet not helpless, coward sir, for approach one step nay, but the twentieth part of one poor inch and this poniard (produces a very small dagger) shall teach ye what it is to lay unholy hands on old Stephen Trusty's daughter!
ROB. Madam, I am extremely sorry for this. It is not at all what I intended anything more correct more deeply respectful than my intentions towards you, it would be impossible for any one however particular to desire.
HAN. Bah, I am not to be tricked by smooth words, hypocrite! But be warned in time, for there are, without, a hundred gallant hearts whose trusty blades would hack him limb from limb who dared to lay unholy hands on old Stephen Trusty's daughter!
ROB. And this is what it is to embark upon a career of unlicensed pleasure!
(DAME HANNAH, who has taken a formidable dagger from one of the armed figures, throws her small dagger to ROBIN.)
HAN. Harkye, miscreant, you have secured me, and I am your poor prisoner; butif you think I cannot take care of myself
one to one, and let the best man win! (Making for him.)
ROB. (in an agony of terror). Don't! don't look at me like that! I can't bear it! Roderic! Uncle! Save me!
(RODERIC enters, from his picture. He comes down the stage.)
ROD. What is the matter? Have you carried her off?
ROB. I have she is there look at her she terrifies me!
ROD. (looking at Hannah) Little Nannikin!
HAN. (amazed) Roddy-doddy!
ROD. My own old love! Why, how came you here?
HAN. This brute he carried me off! Bodily! But I'll show him! (about to rush at ROBIN).
ROD. Stop! (To ROBIN) What do you mean by carrying off this lady? Are you aware that once upon a time she was engaged to be married to me? I'm very angry very angry indeed.
ROB. Now I hope this will be a lesson to you in future not to…
ROD. Hold your tongue, sir.
ROB. Yes, uncle.
ROD. Have you given him any encouragement?
HAN. (to ROBIN) Have I given you any encouragement? Frankly now, have I?
ROB. No. Frankly, you have not. Anything more scrupulously correct than your conduct, it would be impossible to desire.
ROD. You go away.
ROB. Yes, uncle. (Exit ROBIN.)
ROD. This is a strange meeting after so many years!
HAN. Very. I thought you were dead.
ROD. I am. I died ten years ago.
HAN. And are you pretty comfortable?
ROD. Pretty well that is yes, pretty well.
HAN. You don't deserve to be, for I loved you all the while, dear; and it made me dreadfully unhappy to hear of all your goings-on, you bad, bad boy!
BALLAD DAME HANNAH.
There grew a little flower 'Neath a great oak tree: When the tempest 'gan to lower Little heeded she: No need had she to cower, For she dreaded not its power She was happy in the bower Of her great oak tree! Sing hey, Lackaday! Let the tears fall free For the pretty little flower And the great oak tree!
BOTH. Sing hey, Lackaday! etc.
When she found that he was fickle, Was that great oak tree, She was in a pretty pickle, As she well might be But his gallantries were mickle, For Death followed with his sickle, And her tears began to trickle For her great oak tree! Sing hey, Lackaday! etc.
BOTH. Sing hey, Lackaday! etc.
Said she, "He loved me never, Did that great oak tree, But I'm neither rich nor clever, And so why should he? But though fate our fortunes sever, To be constant I'll endeavour, Aye, for ever and for ever, To my great oak tree!' Sing hey, Lackaday! etc.
BOTH. Sing hey, Lackaday! etc.
(Falls weeping on SIR RODERIC's bosom.)
( Enter ROBIN, excitedly, followed by all the characters and Chorus of Bridesmaids.)
ROB. Stop a bit both of you.
ROD. This intrusion is unmannerly.
HAN. I'm surprised at you.
ROB. I can't stop to apologize an idea has just occurred to me. A Baronet of Ruddigore can only die through refusing to commit his daily crime.
ROD. No doubt.
ROB. Therefore, to refuse to commit a daily crime is tantamount to suicide!
ROD. It would seem so.
ROB. But suicide is, itself, a crime and so, by your own showing, you ought never to have died at all!
ROD. I see I understand! Then I'm practically alive!
ROB. Undoubtedly! (SIR RODERIC embraces DAME HANNAH.) Rose, when you believed that I was a simple farmer, I believe you loved me?
ROSE. Madly, passionately!
ROB. But when I became a bad baronet, you very properly loved Richard instead?
ROSE. Passionately, madly!
ROB. But if I should turn out not to be a bad baronet after all, how would you love me then?
ROSE. Madly, passionately!
ROB. As before?
ROSE. Why, of course!
ROB. My darling! (They embrace.)
RICH. Here, I say, belay!
ROSE. Oh, sir, belay, if it's absolutely necessary!
ROB. Belay? Certainly not!
ROSE. When a man has been a naughty baronet, And expresses deep repentance and regret, You should help him, if you're able, Like the mousie in the fable, That's the teaching of my Book of Etiquette.
CHORUS. That's the teaching in her Book of Etiquette.
RICH. If you ask me why I do not pipe my eye, Like an honest British sailor, I reply, That with Zorah for my missis, There'll be bread and cheese and kisses, Which is just the sort of ration I enjye!
CHORUS. Which is just the sort of ration you enjye!
ROB. Having been a wicked baronet a week Once again a modest livelihood I seek. Agricultural employment Is to me a keen enjoyment, For I'm naturally diffident and meek!
DES. & MAR. Prompted by a keen desire to evoke All the blessed calm of matrimony's yoke, We shall toddle off tomorrow, From this scene of sin and sorrow, For to settle in the town of Basingstoke!
CHORUS. Prompted by a keen desire to evoke, etc.
ALL. For happy the lily, When kissed by the bee; But happier than any, A lover is, when he Embraces his bride!