The Yeomen of the Guard


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Dialogue following No. 5


Colonel Fairfax

Fairfax. And now, Sir Richard, I have a boon to beg. I am in this strait for no better reason than because my kinsman, Sir Clarence Poltwhistle, one of the Secretaries of State, has charged me with sorcery, in order that he may succeed in my estate, which devolves to him provided I die unmarried.

Lieutenant. As thou wilt most surely do.

Fairfax. Nay, as I will most surely not do, by your worship's grace! I have a mind to thwart this good cousin of mine.

Lieutenant. How?

Fairfax. By marrying forthwith, to be sure!

Lieutenant. But heaven ha' mercy, whom wouldst thou marry?

Fairfax. Nay, I am indifferent on that score. Coming Death hath made of me a true and chivalrous knight, who holds all womankind in such esteem that the oldest, and the meanest, and the worst-favoured of them is good enough for him. So, my good Lieutenant, if thou wouldst serve a poor soldier who has but an hour to live, find me the first that comes — my confessor shall marry us, and her dower shall be my dishonoured name and a hundred crowns to boot. No such poor dower for an hour of matrimony!

Lieutenant. A strange request. I doubt that I should be warranted in granting it.

Fairfax. There never was a marriage fraught with so little of evil to the contracting parties. In an hour she'll be a widow, and I — a bachelor again for aught I know!

Lieutenant. Well, I will see what can be done, for I hold thy kinsman in abhorrence for the scurvy trick he has played thee.

Fairfax. A thousand thanks, good sir; we meet again in this spot in an hour or so. I shall be a bridegroom then, and your worship will wish me joy. Till then, farewell. (To Guard) I am ready, good fellows. (Exit with Guard into Cold Harbour Tower.)

Lieutenant. He is a brave fellow, and it is a pity that he should die. Now, how to find him a bride at such short notice? Well, the task should be easy! (Exit.)

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