Princess Ida


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Dialogue following No. 22

Enter Chloe and all the ladies.

Chloe. Madam, your father and your brothers claim
An audience!
Princess.      What do they do here?
        They come
Chloe. To fight for you!      
Princess.        Admit them!    
Blanche.          Infamous!  
  One's brothers, ma'am, are men!    
Princess.                  So I have heard.
  But all my women seem to fail me when
I need them most. In this emergency,
Even one's brothers may be turned to use.
Enter Gama, quite pale and unnerved.
Gama. My daughter!      
Princess.   Father! Thou art free!  
Gama.                     Aye, free!  
  Free as a tethered ass! I come to thee
With words from Hildebrand. Those duly given
I must return to blank captivity.
I'm free so far.
Princess.      Your message.  
Gama.            Hildebrand  
  Is loth to war with women. Pit my sons,
My three brave sons, against these popinjays,
These tufted jack-a-dandy featherheads,
And on the issue let thy hand depend!
Princess. Insult on insult's head! Are we a stake
For fighting men? What fiend possesses thee,
That thou has come with offers such as these
From such as he to such an one as I?
Gama. I am possessed
By the pale devil of a shaking heart!
My stubborn will is bent. I dare not face
That devilish monarch's black malignity!
He tortures me with torments worse than death,
I haven't anything to grumble at!
He finds out what particular meats I love,
And gives me them. The very choicest wines,
The costliest robes – the richest rooms are mine.
He suffers none to thwart my simplest plan,
And gives strict orders none should contradict me!
He's made my life a curse! (weeps)
Princess.       My tortured father!

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