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The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive   Haste to the Wedding

Enter UNCLE BOPADDY, who catches them dancing. They stop abruptly when they see him. He is very deaf, and carries a band-box.

Bopaddy. Don't mind me — it's only Uncle Bopaddy — nobody minds Uncle Bopaddy! Anybody come yet?

Jackson. (with a great show of deference). Not yet, you ridiculous old rag-bag! Not yet, you concentrated essence of disreputable senility!

Patty. (aside to JACKSON). Hush! hush! you'll make the old gentleman angry.

Jackson. Oh, no — he's as deaf as a post — he can't hear. (Shouting to him). You can't hear, can you? (To PATTY). I always talk to him like that; it amuses me very much. (To BOPADDY, who is much struck with PATTY). Don't you think at your age you might find something better to do than to go about chucking young girls under the chin, you disreputable old vagabond?

Bopaddy. Yes, yes - you are perfectly right. I told him so myself; but, bless you, you might as well talk to a post! (To PATTY.) Here, my dear, take this (giving her parcel). It's a little present for the bride — now, don't crush it, there's a nice little gal!

Patty. All right, old sixpennorth of halfpence!

Bopaddy. (much amused). Yes — you're quite right. I often do myself. Ha, ha! (Exit PATTY with parcel). What a nice little gal! Very nice little gal! Don't know that I ever saw a nicer little gal!

Jackson. Go along, you wicked old pantaloon, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, at your age! (Gives him a chair.) There, sit down and hold your wicked old tongue!


Bopaddy. (sits). Thankee kindly. Remarkably civil, well-spoken young man to be sure! Don't know that I ever met a nicer-spoken young man.


Woodpecker. Well, here's a pretty piece of business!

Bopaddy. My nephew — my dear nephew (shaking his hand). Where's the wedding party — have they arrived?

Woodpecker. They're coming — in eight cabs. But listen to my adventure. I was riding in Hyde Park just now, and I accidentally dropped my whip —

Bopaddy. (shaking his hand). My boy, those sentiments do honour to your head and your heart.

Woodpecker. What sentiments? Oh, I forgot — he's deaf. No matter. Well, I dismounted and picked it up, and then discovered that the noble animal had bolted, and was at that moment half a mile away.

Bopaddy. But I go farther than that. I go so far as to say that a good husband makes a good wife.

Woodpecker. Here's an old donkey!

Bopaddy. Thank you, my boy, I am — I always was.

Woodpecker. Well, after a long run I came up with my spirited grey, and found him in the act of devouring a Leghorn hat belonging to a young and lovely lady who was indulging in an affectionate tête-à-tête with a military gentleman who may or may not have been her betrothed. I jumped on my horse — apologized to the lady, threw her a sovereign (or it might have been a shilling — I'm sure I don't know), and this is all the change I got out of it. (Showing the remains of a straw hat.)

Bopaddy. Dear me, that's a very nice straw — a very nice straw! I don't know that I ever saw a nicer straw! Ha! now that's very curious.

Woodpecker. Eh?

Bopaddy. Nothing. It's curious — it's a coincidence. It's just like the one I've given Maria for a wedding present. Hah! At what time is the wedding?

Woodpecker. Eleven. (Shows him on fingers.)

Bopaddy. Eh?

Woodpecker. Eleven. (Shouting.)

Bopaddy. You must speak a good deal louder — I can't hear.

Woodpecker. Eleven. (Whispering.)

Bopaddy. Oh! eleven. Why didn't you say so at first? (Looking at watch.) Half-past ten — just time for a glass of sherry. I saw it on the sideboard as I came up — you'll find me at the sideboard as you go down.


Woodpecker. So in one hour I shall be a married man! Married to the daughter of a human porcupine — one of the most ill-tempered, crotchety, exacting old market-gardeners in Great Britain! Maria is a charming girl — she has only one drawback — a cousin, Alfred Foodle, who was brought up with her. He kisses her. It's permitted in some families. It's permitted in hers. I don't quite see why — he's as big as I am. The best of it is, I'm not allowed to. Of course it's all right, because they were brought up together. At the same time, I wish he wouldn't.

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