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Dialogue following No. 5a
Ko-Ko. Pooh-Bah, it seems that the festivities in connection with my approaching marriage must last a week. I should like to do it handsomely, and I want to consult you as to the amount I ought to spend upon them.
Pooh-Bah. Certainly. In which of my capacities? As First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chamberlain, Attorney General, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Privy Purse, or Private Secretary?
Ko-Ko. Suppose we say as Private Secretary.
Pooh-Bah. Speaking as your Private Secretary, I should say that, as the city will have to pay for it, don't stint yourself, do it well.
Ko-Ko. Exactly — as the city will have to pay for it. That is your advice.
Pooh-Bah. As Private Secretary. Of course you will understand that, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am bound to see that due economy is observed.
Ko-Ko. Oh! But you said just now "Don't stint yourself, do it well".
Pooh-Bah. As Private Secretary.
Ko-Ko. And now you say that due economy must be observed.
Pooh-Bah. As Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Ko-Ko. I see. Come over here, where the Chancellor can't hear us. (They cross the stage.) Now, as my Solicitor, how do you advise me to deal with this difficulty?
Pooh-Bah. Oh, as your Solicitor, I should have no hesitation in saying "Chance it —"
Ko-Ko. Thank you. (Shaking his hand.) I will.
Pooh-Bah. If it were not that, as Lord Chief Justice, I am bound to see that the law isn't violated.
Ko-Ko. I see. Come over here where the Chief Justice can't hear us. (They cross the stage.) Now, then, as First Lord of the Treasury?
Pooh-Bah. Of course, as First Lord of the Treasury, I could propose a special vote that would cover all expenses, if it were not that, as Leader of the Opposition, it would be my duty to resist it, tooth and nail. Or, as Paymaster General, I could so cook the accounts that, as Lord High Auditor, I should never discover the fraud. But then, as Archbishop of Titipu, it would be my duty to denounce my dishonesty and give myself into my own custody as first Commissioner of Police.
Ko-Ko. That's extremely awkward.
Pooh-Bah. I don't say that all these distinguished people couldn't be squared; but it is right to tell you that they wouldn't be sufficiently degraded in their own estimation unless they were insulted with a very considerable bribe.
Ko-Ko. The matter shall have my careful consideration. But my bride and her sisters approach, and any little compliment on your part, such as an abject grovel in a characteristic Japanese attitude, would be esteemed a favour.
Pooh-Bah. No money, no grovel!
Page Created 23 November, 2007