|Gilbert > Plays > The Happy Land > Review from the Staffordshire Sentinel
|Their War Office is governed (without doubt)
By some stout warrior whose dinted helm
Has danced triumphant through a thousand fights;
Their Admiralty (p'rhaps) is piloted
By some First Lord, whose bosom bears the scars
Of fifty tough sea battles
When the mortals appear, they are the three right honourables, who still sing the famous trio with the chorus –
|Oh, we are three most popular men!
We want to know who'll turn us out!
At the desire of the fairies, the three right honourables induct then into the mysteries of popular government, and the king of Bonny's claim to Scotland induces references to the famous "three courses." All the fairies want to be Premier, and it is agreed to make all the appointments after a competitive examination, in which those who show the utmost ignorance of particular duties should be appointed to fill them. For example –
|Darine – Please, Sir, what is a ship?
Mr. A – Here's a first Lord ready made!
The result of fairy attempts to govern on "popular" principles is disaster everywhere; and the Ministry resign. In answer to Seline, Mr. A explains that "patriotism is the ladder by which the rising statesman ascends to the pinnacle of place," and that "place is the pinnacle seated upon which the risen statesman kicks away the ladder of patriotism." "Sisters," says Seline, "I've done with office, give me a peerage and let me end my days in respectability and peace." Still she is loth to let Mr. G go back to earth –
|My chief, my trimming chief – but still my chief;
My guide, short-sighted guide – but still my guide.
Forgive me, Mr. G. thou hast withdrawn
The very core and substance of my senses.
Like earthly men, whatever mulls you make
I take your part. In fact, I'll be your slave.
I'll go into the Lobby at your beck,
I'll never rise to speak – I'll b ut divide;
I'll ask no place of thee – yet swear by thee.
Become a Tory, Liberal, Radical –
All three in turns, or all three at once.
After the mortals depart, the three male fairies return with the promise of "popular government," but the fairies will none of it. They will "Leave such blessings to a happy land." The three right honourables were fairly made up, the trio being at once recognised by the audience as the Premier, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chief Commissioner of Works. The hits at the Government, some of them severe, were promptly appreciated, judging by the laughter. The parts were sustained by Misses R. Mellor, Emily Duncn, Louisa Vere, Emma Ivey, Sophie Miller, and Harris; Messrs A. Sanger, J. Robins, W. Brunton. They all acquitted themselves well, and the applause was hearty and frequent. The burlesque was preceded by "A Life Race."
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