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WEB OPERA

MRS. W. – That is perfectly clear.  (GENERAL DEELAH uses his opera hat as a tray to receive the cup and saucer from MRS. NANKEEN WORCESTERHe places them on table and then gazes fondly at her.  She turns her back to him shyly.)

GEN D. – Let us speak of something more adorable than china.

MRS. W. – What could be more adorable?

GEN D.(Seizing her hand.)  Yourself!  (She rises.)  I love you!  In long I’ve loved you short.  In mean, in short I’ve loved you long.  Since I find we are alike in a keep appreciation of art, let me offer you the art I possess (she turns to him), the art with the “H.”  Be my wife!

MRS. W. – Oh, General, this is quite too awfully sudden.

GEN D.(Kneels.)  Answer me or I die at your feet.

MRS. W. – Oh, I’m fainting.  (Falls in chair.  GENERAL DEELAH runs for his opera hat and fans her).

GEN D. – Oh, Emily, come in.  Open your eyes.  Your Edwin implores you.  (Aside).  I wonder where that saucer is!  (He leaves her to look around the room.  She looks up at him, but on catching his glance she falls back to again.  He runs to her.)


GEN D. – Oh, Emily, my Emily, will you never speak.  This is genuine.  What shall I do.  I never was in such an embarrassing position before in my life.  (Runs to door R.)  Jane!

(MRS. W. darts after him suddenly.)

MRS. W. – Gracious goodness!  What are you calling Jane for.  Jane, we don’t want you. (Waving right hand.)

GEN D.(Waving right hand also.)  Jane, we don’t want you.

MRS. W. – Go away Jane.

GEN D. – Go away Jane.

MRS. W. (Falls in chair L. and fans herself.)  I’m better now.  What ever made you call Jane?

GEN D.(Leaning on chair R. and fanning himself with opera hat.)  Whatever made me call Jane?

MRS. W. – I am better now (sits on chair L.), my dear Edwin.  It is extremely gratifying to know you love me for myself.  It is still more gratifying to be able to inform you that the little piece of china you saw me kissing is worth – calm yourself Edwin – £10,000.  (GEN. D. expresses emotions of joy aside and then turns calmly to MRS. W.)

GEN D. – Indeed!

MRS. W. – When you make me you take the saucer!  On this point I have hitherto deceived you.  It was a woman’s weakness, Edwin; forgive me!

GEN D.–  (Apparently indignant), Emily! [Rest of this one is unreadable.]

RS. W. – Generous and genuine General!  (Feeling in pocket.)  Here take my treasure.

GEN D. – No! no! I will not.  (Eager to clutch it).

(MRS. W. given saucer, which the GENERAL seizes with his hands, and glances with a comical love expression at her).

GEN D. – My love! My life!  (Walks to R.) (Aside.)  I’ve got it.  (He gazes at it, turns it over, and a look of horror comes over his face.  His back is to MRS. NANKEEN WORCESTER.)

MRS. W. – How delighted he appears.  He can scarcely contain his joy.  I knew he would be entranced.

GEN D.(Suddenly recovers himself and sits on chair.)  (Aside).  How foolish of me.  (Aloud.)  Emily!

MRS. W. – Yes, love.

GEN D. – Of course, this is not the saucer?

MRS. W. – Yes – the only one I have in the world!

GEN D. – Ten thousand horrors!

MRS. W. – You mean ten thousand pounds!

GEN D.(Rising to R.) What have I done.  Fool!  Fool!!  Fool!!!  (Beats his brow and gazes in agony at the bottom of the saucer).

MRS. W. – Edwin! you alarm me!  That is a genuine curie.  See the rare mark.  The finger to the nose.

GEN D. – Mark!  Genuine!  It is my own make!

MRS. W. – Your own make.  Explain yourself, General!  I tell you that is the saucer of the late Julius Caesar, Esq.

GEN D. – I tell you it is my own make.  It is no more Julius Caesar’s than its Julius B – B Benedict’s (falls weeping into chair R.).

MRS. W. (Aside heroically).  Can this indeed be true.  If so, this is the moment in which to show him of what his countrywomen are made.  (Aloud.)  Edwin – Edwin – do not weep for me.

GEN D.(Makes a weeping noise).

MRS. W. – Do not weep for my sake.   Fortified by your affection I will learn to bear up under this crushing calamity, and learn to love your collection of china even better than I have done my own.  Edwin, I repeat it.  Do not weep for me.  (She turns towards piano and buries her face in her pocket handkerchief).

GEN D.(Rises).  It is useless for me to deceive you, madam.  It is useless for you to love my collection of china.

MRS. W. (Anxiously.)  Why?  Why?

GEN D. – My collection of china is my own make as well!

MRS. W. – Your own make too?  (Falls hysterically into chair L. then rises in anger.)  Go! cruel deceiver!  Go!  You have broken my heart.  Go on, sir!  Complete the wreck which you have made by breaking the wretched saucer which is as false as yourself; leaving me – to the remembrance of what might have been (Falls, overcome, in chair L.)

GEN D.(R. smites his breast.)  Edwin, be a man!  I obey your command, and leave you for ever.  (Walks to R.)

MRS. W. – He shall not see what this decision costs me.  I will dismiss him with an air as callous and indifferent as his own.  (MRS. WORCESTER seats herself at piano, and plays the Mazurka that forms the accompaniment to the “Farewell Song.”  At the end of the song she falls with her head and arms on the treble keys of the piano, thereby making a discordant noise.)

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