Jacquier. Poor old gentleman, he seems quite comfortable now.
Floss. Yes, he’s forgotten all his troubles for the moment. How peacefully he slumbers!
Jacquier. Poor old boy!
Jelly. What strange brigands you are! You take a penniless little boy, or a ragged old woman, and you feed them up and treat them so kindly that you’ve the greatest difficulty in inducing them to return to their friends; and when they do return, they give such a glowing account of your kindness, that the whole village comes in instalments to give themselves up to you. How many have you got now?
Floss. We’ve thirty-seven.
Jelly. And instead of cutting them up, and sending them home in little bits, they feed on the fat of the land, while you wait on them, and hope they are pretty comfortable.
During the last few lines CARAMEL has entered.
Caramel. Well, you know, Jelly, prisoners are fellow-creatures after all, and they have their feelings like you and me. If we take them we are bound to look after them; you know the rites of hospitality must be respected.
Jelly. (sarcastically.) Do you expect to get much ransom out of him?
Caramel. That gentleman’s mother is going to send five hundred thousand francs for him this very afternoon. (PRISONER wakes.) He wakes. (All interested.) Have you had a nice dinner, my good old friend?
Prisoner. Pretty good; the mutton was rather tough.
Caramel. Tough, was it? (to FLOSS.) Now that’s your fault. (to PRISONER.) You see we’ve had such a rush of prisoners today, that our larder was exhausted; but it shall not occur again. Did you sleep pretty comfortably last night?
Prisoner. Pretty well. I should like another blanket; it gets chilly towards morning.
Caramel. You are quite right, it does get chilly towards morning; I feel it myself when I’m standing sentry over you to keep the wild beasts away. Jelly, see that the gentleman has another blanket. (to PRISONER.) Go with Jelly, there’s a good man.
Exit JELLY with PRISONER.
Caramel. Poor fellow! It goes to my heart to detain him; but when you’re a desperado, you must act like a desperado. If I were to obey the natural impulses of my heart, Toto would detect the imposture in a moment.
Sago. Prince Caramel.
Caramel. Hush! Barberini! The blood-thirsty Barberini if you please.
Sago. I beg your pardon: Barberini, I’ve bad news for you.
Caramel. Bad news! Are the police upon us?
Sago. No, but two more peasants have come to yield themselves prisoners.
Caramel. Two more? How tiresome. We shall be eaten out of house and home. Where are they?
SAGO beckons; enter two ragged and dirty PRISONERS led by a BRIGAND.
Caramel. (aside.) Humph! – Not much to be got out of them. (Aloud.) Well, gentlemen, what can we do for you?
2nd Prisoner. We’ve come to surrender.
Caramel. But nobody asked you to surrender.
2nd Prisoner. No, but we feel resistance would be useless; we are your prisoners, and we are very hungry.
Both. Very hungry.
Caramel. It’s extremely tiresome, but there’s no help for it. If you are a desperado, you must behave like a desperado. I dine in half an hour, and they must dine with me. (to FLOSS.) Take them away and give them a nice suit of clothes – I won’t have them at my table in those rags – and here’s an order for blankets, counterpanes, and feather beds. Do you prefer a feather bed, or a mattress?
Both. Feather beds is what we’ve been mostly used to.
Caramel. Yes; so I should think. Perhaps you’d like a warm bath, gentlemen, before dinner?
Both. No, we don’t seem to care much about a warm bath.
Caramel. But, indeed, I think you’d better. You’ve no idea how refreshing a warm bath is now and then.
2nd Prisoner. But I don’t want a warm bath.
Caramel. (ferociously.) Ha! Rebellion! The Brigand Barberini has spoken! Away with them, they shall be washed!
Exeunt SAGO and PRISONERS, followed by FLOSS.
Jacquier. Is there no sign of the Princess relenting?
Caramel. My dear friends, your patience and devotion are about to be crowned with success. Congratulate me – I have at length persuaded her to consent to an immediate marriage. In half an hour we shall be made one, and tomorrow I shall break the truth to her that we are gentlemen of character, wealth, and position, that instead of a brigand’s wife she is the bride of one of the wealthiest potentates in the world.
Caramel. So go, and make your preparations for an early departure; at six o’clock tomorrow morning we start.
Caramel. At last, at last! Oh Toto what crimes I have committed for you! What risks I have run for you! (Enter TOTO.) My darling, you look depressed, you have not repented your promise?
Toto. No, but it’s a terrible step to take; I’ve often thought over it, and wondered why a girl can’t be happy without deserting the people who, for the last twenty years of her life, have proved themselves to be her very best friends. I often think of it. I once dreamed I was married.
Toto. Yes, to a beautiful young Prince named Doro.
Caramel. (hurriedly.) Oh! It was only a dream.
Toto. (sighing.) Yes, I know it was only a dream. He was a great deal too handsome to be true. One’s only married to really handsome men in dreams.
Caramel. (hurt.) That’s rather a reckless thing to say, Toto.
Toto. It’s quite true.
Caramel. It may be true, but it’s not pretty to say so.
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