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Apartment in the House of Ruy Blas. Lights down. Ruy Blas discovered.

Ruy. Ruined and stripped of e'en my last poor copper,
Or p'r'aps the term "last bronze" would be more proper,
Of promised loaves and fishes not a trace,
For I've no bread, and I am out of place.
To suicide all circumstances point,
My nose and larder, both, are out of joint,
And from starvation, I'm just now enjoying
A gnawing pain that's really most annoying.
I'd like to see the broad and mighty land which
I wouldn't barter for one little sandwich,
With power to change — to make the meal a fitter —
This bitter cup for just one cup of "bitter!"
To service once again I'm forced to go,
And this, in print, to-morrow's Times will show.
[Reads from a piece of paper.
"As footman in a house of serious strain,
Where all the maids are elderly and plain;
He don't mind cleaning boots, or minding plate,
He's done a deal of dirty work of late!
Age twenty-two — in figures, five feet high.
N.B. — No Irish master need apply!" [Retires up.

Enter Queen Maria, in ball-dress.

Queen. All darkness? Why, there's surely some mistake,
No question if I'll tea or coffee take,
No hop or tune — no company I see,
In-hop-or-tune my presence seems to be.

Ruy. (coming down) May I request you'll kindly tell me, ma'am,
To what unusual circumstance I am
Indebted for the honour of this visit?
Now, don't be deaf in it — though be explicit.

Queen. (producing note) This note — it's penned and signed by you, I see?

Ruy. A weak invention of the enemy.

Queen. (reproachfully) You've put me to the cost of gloves, and cabby,
And now you're backing out — oh, shabby, shabby.

Enter Don Sallust, through door, R.

Don Sall. So, so! An interview with Cæsar, mum!

Queen. (alarmed) If I'd a hint of you I'd not have come.

Sall. I've come to tell a tale which must be told.

Ruy. Well shut the door — the wind blows mighty cold,
Unless you're very anxious that your story
Be illustrated by a gust-of-door-e!
Your business in my chamber quickly state.

Sall. When you propose to have a tête-á-tête,
Best close your door — or by that way, you know,
Some foe may come — which were not commy-fo.
(Aside.) Ruy, you must wed her, now, and aid my plot,
Whether you want to marry her or not.
The cup of nectar is within year reach,
Come, take this nectar-in, or I shall peach.
She's neither poor nor cross, nor plain, nor old,
And then she absolutely rolls in gold!
However much you loved the handsome witch,
You couldn't eat her, she's so very rich!
Her telegraphs are made of thick gold wire,
And in her grate there blazes a sapphire.
In golden carriages her subjects ride,
Her very prisons, too, have guilt inside;
The cellars underneath her palace hold
Five hundred million coffers, crammed with gold!
You'll find her still, however much you range,
Always the same — she's tired of so much change!
Last week she burnt the Court gold-stick for fuel,
And when she fights, she always fights jewel!
Why there's a prize! you lucky dog to win her!
And so accomplished too — As I'm a sinner,
Her drawing-master, sir, could go no furder —
Sings like Parepa — parepably you've heard her?

Ruy. Never. Avaunt.

Sall.                            Refusal you will rue.

Ruy. A vaunt have anything to do with you.

Sall. Is it for this that hours below I've waited,
And up and claim the street perambulated,
And doubled, till I've nigh exhausted natur'—

Ray. I'll double thee up, vile perambulator,
To stand this longer, I am disinclined,
Draw, ruffian, draw, and fight — you'll surely find
No fiercer lion the banks of Niger!

Sall. I can remember when you were a tiger! [Queen starts.

Ruy. I can't submit to such insulting dealings;
Though but a servant, yet, I have my feelings!
(To Sall.) I wouldn't stand in your shoes.

Sall.                                                    Stop that scoffen',
You needn't be so proud — you've cleaned 'em often.

Ruy. I'll give you, wretch, no law.

Sall.  (argumentatively)                 I gave you suits!

Ruy. You've blacked my character —

Sall.                                                    You've blacked my boots.

Queen. This is Don Cæsar — Minister of Spain!

Sall. (giving the Queen the paper which Ruy signed in the First Act).
This paper, ma'am, will make my meaning plain. [Queen reads in horror.

Ruy. (aside). Let me be calm — down, down, obtrusive monkey —
(Aloud.) My name's Ruy Blas — I am Don Sallust's flunkey!


AIR — "A Master I have."

Illustration by Gilbert
  Ruy. A master I have, and I am his man.
A thundering leary, one.
Sall. A master he has, and lie is his man.
A blundering beery one.
And I'll show you, my friend, that the                                            master I'll be.
Ruy. Don't use such impertinent language                                                        to me.
You sneaking, creaking, squeaking,                                             wreaking —
  Sall. Hunky, flunkey, blustering, flustering —
  Both. Impudent son of a gun!

Queen. But whence that Roman nose — those high-bred charms,
That very complicated coat of arms,
That testified you came of noble kin?

Ruy. 'Twas "found" for four-and-six in Lincoln's Inn!

Queen. But, gracious goodness, how can all this be?
Your name " Don Cæsar."

Sall.                            Given him by me.

Queen. Your family?

Sall.                            None, madam, I'll take oaths on it!

Queen. Your line?

Sall.                        His mother, madam, hangs the clothes on it.
His only crest his cast off liv'ry charms,
A coat of charity, his coat of arms!

Ruy. Come; choose your weapon, I'll not quail before it
I have smelt powder!

Sall.                    Yes; you always wore it!


AIR — "Huntsman's Chorus."

Ruy. Oh, now — now he's in my power —
    No quarter, quarter, quarter, will I give,
  Except the quarter of an hour
    Which Sallust still may live!
Queen.     Oh, Cæsar, no.
Let him go, Cæsar, do!
You'll spill all his gore
On the floor. I'm quite sure!
Sall. (alarmed)     This is annoying,
For he's enjoying
Thought of employing
His little sword on me!
Ruy.     Out of my way, ma'am,
Sallust I'll slay, ma'am!
Queen.   No! no! no! no! no! no!
          Mercy, sir!
Mercy, sir!
Sall.         Curses, sir!
Hearses, sir!
Ruy.       Out of my way!
Out of my way!
Out of my way, I say!
All. Oh, now he's/I'm in my/his power,
    No quarter, quarter. quarter, will I give,
  Except the quarter of an hour
    Which Sallust still may live!

Desperate combat between Ruy and Sallust. At length Sallust is killed, and dies in great agony.

Ruy. (wiping his sword) That's settled!

Queen.                                                       Ruy! —

Ruy. (interrupting her) Oh! nothing need be said;
The man annoyed me, and I've cut him dead. (Enter Gudiel with letter.)
What is it, friend?

Gudiel. (to Queen) Your majesty, I bring
A letter from our sovereign lord the king.

Queen. Oh! give it me (to Gudiel) somewhere a seat you'll find.
(To Ruy.) Will you allow me?

Ruy.                                Certainly.

Queen.                                            That's kind.
(Reads.) "For married life we do not feel inclined,
Our hunting takes up all our time we find.
We're wed by proxy, fairest of your sex,
Let's be divorced. — Yours truly, Carlo Rex."
We will! (To Ruy.) To thee I give my hand and love!
The hand includes the bracelet, rings, and glove!
Together we will pass delightful lives,
Green shady walks and pretty country drives,
Where you have never been before we'll find.

Ruy. That's easy — for I've always been behind!

Queen. Drive daily round the park — we'll never miss it.

Ruy. I always had a taste for a park-wisit!

Queen. No rain, shall keep us back — we'll on be tripping!

Ruy. (rapturously) Oh! if there is a thing I love it's dripping!

Queen. In some green valley tell each other tales.

Ray. Of course a valet always likes his vales!

Queen. All's settled — life lies temptingly before us,
There's nothing left, then, but the final chorus.


AIR — "Burlesque Galop."

Queen. Oh! all is settled, and is just as jolly as can be.
Ruy. An easy independence I perceptibly foresee;
I killed the fellow, dearest girl, and we shall soon be one.
Queen. I thought you would, 'cause in a play it's usually done!
Air changes to "Diamans de la Couronne."
Ruy. (to audience)
  List, I implore, one moment more
To me, before you seek the door:
You'd best ignore deceitful lore —
But that, I'm sure, you knew before!
Queen. But as for me, I'm going to be,
Restored to he, as you may see:
Why I should be melancholee
Or pipe my 'ee, I do not see!
  [Don Sallust springs up and joins the chorus.
Sall. And let me say a word, I pray,
Before the play is'o'er, to-day.
All men, they say, become the prey
Of habits they in youth obey.
The moral's trite, when I was quite
A little wight I learnt to bite,
And in the fight you saw to-night
He killed me quite — and sarve me right!
  But as for she, she's going to be
Restored to he, as you may see:
Why she should be melancholee,
Or pipe her e'e, we do not see !

Illustration by Gilbert

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Page modified 22 August, 2011