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King. I believe you wished to see the King?

Doro. Am I right in supposing this to be the royal palace?

King. This is a – in short, one of them. It is not the best of them; but the others are under repair.

Doro. Sir, I salute you with every sentiment of the profoundest respect.

King. (aside.) Now I wonder if he meant that!

Doro. You would perhaps like to know who I am. It is but natural. I, sir, have the honour to be betrothed to your daughter. I have had that honour for many years past, but circumstances have prevented me from making use of the fact. I have been wrecked on a savage shore, and found myself compelled to dwell among the natives for ten years. Eventually, I made my escape, and the first thing I did was to hasten hither to see if my little Toto loved me still.

King. (weeping.) It is an affecting story; but I don’t know you. You won’t pretend you are Prince Caramel?

Doro. Certainly not; I am Prince Doro.

King. How extremely awkward!

Doro. I am not usually considered so.

King. Pardon me, I don’t mean that. Don’t be angry; but it was generally supposed that you were – in short, dead; and, not to put too fine a point upon it, the Princess is going to marry another Prince – a nice, well-behaved young man – plays the flute, does worsted work, wears galoshes. He’s a highly respectable young man. It’s a highly respectable court too; they all play the flute and wear galoshes – a very nice court! Plenty of quiet fun, and no excess.

Doro. And where is this exemplary youth?

King. That’s what I want to know; we’re waiting for him. We can’t think why he hasn’t come. It – it’s a slight. It will put us in an absurd light. I – I – I am very angry – very angry indeed.

Doro. Well, upon my honour, this is extremely pleasant!

King. It’s extremely kind and extremely pleasant of you to look at it in that way; and between ourselves – between ourselves, I say – I don’t think you’ve lost much.

Doro. Not lost much? Why she promised to be as beautiful as the day.

King. Oh! She’s more beautiful than some days – the day before yesterday, for instance. Yes, she’s a very fine woman: but – well – she is rather difficult to deal with. Toto, bless her! is extremely wilful and obstinate, and ridiculously impulsive and romantic. Her head is filled with foolish ideas about gypsies, robbers, actors, pirates, paving commissioners, Red Indians, and outlandish people of that sort. Just now it’s the brigand Barberini, the scourge of the neighbourhood. She can think and talk of nothing else – wears a lock of his wig round her neck. You have no idea how she compromises me. Then she has no memory – no memory whatever; forgets events that are not ten minutes old. Acts, too, on the spur of the moment – gets up on the spur of the moment – sits down on the spur of the moment. And this causes a great deal of pain and inconvenience. I assure you, it’s a fortunate thing for you that you are dead.

Doro. But I can scarcely be said to be dead.

King. Oh yes, you are, indeed! You think you’re not, but you are. We had it on the best authority; you were eaten by savages. You can’t get over that, you know.

Doro. But I assure –

King. Really, I can’t permit the subject to be reopened. It comes to this. Either you are dead, or I am placed in a very awkward and ridiculous position. You see my difficulty.

Doro. Perfectly. I also see my own. Am I to understand that I’ve travelled night and day from the shores of Patagonia for nothing?

King. Of course, I can’t say how much it has cost you, but you are lucky if you’ve travelled all that way for nothing; you’ve nothing to complain of. After all, you’ll see the wedding festivities, you know; you’re in time for that. Your name will be in the papers. What more can you want?

Doro. What more? Why, my life is a blank from this moment, I loved her the first day I saw her. I can see her now, lying in her nurses arms, and toying with an india-rubber ring. Is she much changed?

King. Yes, you’ll find her grown. Fickle, like all women, she has wearied of her india-rubber ring. As for her personal appearance, you can judge for yourself, for here she comes.

KING and DORO retire.

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