The Gondoliers


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Dialogue following No. 11

Marco. Gentlemen, we are much obliged to you for your expressions of satisfaction and good feeling — I say, we are much obliged to you for your expressions of satisfaction and good feeling.

All. We heard you.

Marco. We are delighted, at any time, to fall in with sentiments so charmingly expressed.

All. That's all right.

Giuseppe. At the same time there is just one little grievance that we should like to ventilate.

All. (angrily) What?

Giuseppe. Don't be alarmed — it's not serious. It is arranged that, until it is decided which of us two is the actual King, we are to act as one person.

Giorgio. Exactly.

Giuseppe. Now, although we act as one person, we are, in point of fact, two persons.

Annibale. Ah, I don't think we can go into that. It is a legal fiction, and legal fictions are solemn things. Situated as we are, we can't recognize two independent responsibilities.

Giuseppe. No; but you can recognize two independent appetites. It's all very well to say we act as one person, but when you supply us with only one ration between us, I should describe it as a legal fiction carried a little too far.

Annibale. It's rather a nice point. I don't like to express an opinion off-hand. Suppose we reserve it for argument before the full Court?

Marco. Yes, but what are we to do in the meantime?

Marco & Giuseppe. We want our tea.

Annibale. I think we may make an interim order for double rations on their Majesties entering into the usual undertaking to indemnify in the event of an adverse decision?

Giorgio. That, I think, will meet the case. But you must work hard — stick to it — nothing like work.

Giuseppe. Oh, certainly. We quite understand that a man who holds the magnificent position of King should do something to justify it. We are called "Your Majesty"; we are allowed to buy ourselves magnificent clothes; our subjects frequently nod to us in the streets; the sentries always return our salutes; and we enjoy the inestimable privilege of heading the subscription lists to all the principal charities. In return for these advantages the least we can do is to make ourselves useful about the Palace.

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