The Yeomen of the Guard


   

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Dialogue following No. 6

Point. (alarmed) My masters, I pray you bear with us, and we will satisfy you, for we are merry folk who would make all merry as ourselves. For, look you, there is humour in all things, and the truest philosophy is that which teaches us to find it and to make the most of it.

Elsie. (struggling with lst Citizen) Hands off, I say, unmannerly fellow!

George Grossmith as Jack Point, 1888
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Point. (to lst Citizen) Ha! Didst thou hear her say, "Hands off"?

lst Citizen. Aye, I heard her say it, and I felt her do it! What then?

Point. Thou dost not see the humour of that?

lst Citizen. Nay, if I do, hang me!

Point. Thou dost not? Now, observe. She said, "Hands off!" Whose hands? Thine. Off whom? Off her. Why? Because she is a woman. Now, had she not been a woman, thine hands had not been set upon her at all. So the reason for the laying on of hands is the reason for the taking off of hands, and herein is contradiction contradicted! It is the very marriage of pro with con; and no such lopsided union either, as times go, for pro is not more unlike con than man is unlike woman — yet men and women marry every day with none to say, "Oh, the pity of it!" but I and fools like me! Now wherewithal shall we please you? We can rhyme you couplet, triolet, quatrain, sonnet, rondolet, ballade, what you will. Or we can dance you saraband, gondolet, carole, pimpernel, or jumping Joan.

Elsie. Let us give them the singing farce of the Merryman and his Maid — therein is song and dance too.

All. Aye, the Merryman and his Maid!

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