Utopia Limited

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Dialogue following No.2

Phantis is pensive.

Scaphio: Phantis, you are not in your customary exuberant spirits. What is wrong?

Phantis: Scaphio, I think you once told me that you have never loved?

Scaphio: Never! I have often marvelled at the fairy influence which weaves its rosy web about the faculties of the greatest and wisest of our race; but I thank Heaven I have never been subjected to its singular fascination. For, oh, Phantis! there is that within me that tells me that when my time does come, the convulsion will be tremendous! When I love, it will be with the accumulated fervour of sixty-six years! But I have an ideal — a semi-transparent Being, filled with an inorganic pink jelly — and I have never yet seen the woman who approaches within measurable distance of it. All are opaque — opaque — opaque!

Phantis: Keep that ideal firmly before you, and love not until you find her. Though but fifty-five, I am an old campaigner in the battle-fields of Love; and, believe me, it is better to be as you are, heart-free and happy, than as I am — eternally racked with doubting agonies! Scaphio, the Princess Zara returns from England today!

Scaphio: My poor boy, I see it all.

Phantis: Oh! Scaphio, she is so beautiful. Ah! you smile, for you have never seen her. She sailed for England three months before you took office.

Scaphio: Now tell me, is your affection requited?

Phantis: I do not know — I am not sure. Sometimes I think it is, and then come these torturing doubts! I feel sure that she does not regard me with absolute indifference, for she could never look at me without having to go to bed with a sick headache.

Scaphio: That is surely something. Come, take heart, boy! you are young and beautiful. What more could maiden want?

Phantis: Ah! Scaphio, remember she returns from a land where every youth is as a young Greek god, and where such beauty as I can boast is seen at every turn.

Scaphio: Be of good cheer! Marry her, boy, if so your fancy wills, and be sure that love will come.

Phantis: (overjoyed) Then you will assist me in this?

Scaphio: Why, surely! Silly one, what have you to fear? We have but to say the word, and her father must consent. Is he not our very slave? Come, take heart. I cannot bear to see you sad.

Phantis: Now I may hope, indeed! Scaphio, you have placed me on the very pinnacle of human joy!

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