KING comes down stage.
Toto. Why, papa, you look annoyed. Don’t you like the song?
King. Yes, I like the sentiment; but it won’t do, my child, it don’t fit the situation. He is not coming like an arrow from it’s quiver; he’s dawdling, my child, dawdling.
Toto. Who’s dawdling?
King. Why, Prince Caramel’s dawdling.
Toto. And who is Prince Caramel, I wonder? I know the name, too. I’ve heard it somewhere. Jelly, what do I know about Prince Caramel?
Jelly. He’s the gentleman your Highness is going to be married to.
Toto. Of course; I remember. Today, isn’t it?
Jelly. This very day. I’ve been dressing you for the purpose.
Toto. To be sure you have. Now, what an old goose you must be to have forgotten that!
King. Pardon me, we did not forget it; and we are not an old goose.
Toto. Well, if I’m to be married, let’s get it over!
King. But the bridegroom! We must wait for the bridegroom.
Toto. Wait for the bridegroom? Nonsense! Who cares about the bridegroom at a wedding? Nobody thinks about him. The bride monopolizes all the interest; and if she is ready we’ll begin. She is ready, isn’t she?
Jelly. Quite ready, your Highness!
Toto. Then send her here; I should like to see her. (JELLY hands her a looking glass.) What’s this? Oh! Of course, I’m the bride. You silly old man, you forgot I was the bride. Ah! It’s lucky I’ve my wits about me, or I don’t know what would become of you all.
King. But the bridegroom! He’s insignificant, I admit, but so is the organ-blower in church, yet the organist can’t get on without him. You admit the parallel?
Toto. Entirely; but as anybody can blow an organ, so anybody can be a bridegroom. This gentleman, for instance - who is he? (indicating DORO.)
Doro. I am the unhappy prince, who has been cruelly jilted. False girl, I am the miserable Doro.
Toto. Doro? I know that name — Jelly, what do I know about the miserable Doro?
Jelly. He’s the gentleman your Highness was betrothed to before Prince Caramel; the gentleman who died.
Toto. I remember. I loved you, Doro, and to this day when I think of your unhappy end, I can’t restrain my tears. You — you were devoured by cannibals: they ate you up (sobbing). Did — did — did it hurt?
Doro. Cruel girl, you concern yourself with the torture of a devoured body, but you have little sympathy for the agony of a crushed soul. Learn, faithless one, that I was not eaten — that I escaped — and I stand before you.
Toto. My own, own husband. (embracing him).
Doro. You love me then?
Toto. Love you? If you had any idea how slowly the last three days have passed without you, you would not ask that question. (to JELLY). Come, we must be off.
Jelly. Off! Off where?
Toto. Off where? What a memory you have! Why off to the church, to be sure. They’ve entirely forgotten that this is my wedding day. Oh! It’s enough to vex a saint, it is.
Doro. But why are we to go to church?
Toto. Why? Why, to be married, of course — I’ve waited three days. Isn’t that enough?
King. (aside.) Hush! Silence! She has mixed up her lovers. (aside to DORO.) Fall in with her views.
Zapeter. But, sire, reflect, Prince Caramel may arrive at any moment, and if he should lose his temper — a very likely contingency under the circumstances — and interrupt the ceremony, you would be placed in a very ridiculous and absurd position. Everyone would laugh at you.
King. Oh, would they? Very good. We will take precautions against that. You will remain here and receive Prince Caramel; you will explain the case to him diplomatically — you will so frame your explanation that he shall receive it in perfect good humour; indeed, he shall rather like it than otherwise. And if he gets angry, or says or does anything to make us appear ridiculous in the eyes of surrounding nations, we shall hold you responsible for it; you understand?
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