The Mikado


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Dialogue following No. 8

Enter Nanki-Poo.

Nanki-Poo. Yum-Yum, at last we are alone! I have sought you night and day for three weeks, in the belief that your guardian was beheaded, and I find that you are about to be married to him this afternoon!

Yum-Yum. Alas, yes!

Nanki-Poo. But you do not love him?

Yum-Yum. Alas, no!

Nanki-Poo. Modified rapture! But why do you not refuse him?

Yum-Yum. What good would that do? He's my guardian, and he wouldn't let me marry you!

Nanki-Poo. But I would wait until you were of age!

Yum-Yum. You forget that in Japan girls do not arrive at years of discretion until they are fifty.

Nanki-Poo. True; from seventeen to forty-nine are considered years of indiscretion.

Yum-Yum. Besides — a wandering minstrel, who plays a wind instrument outside tea-houses, is hardly a fitting husband for the ward of a Lord High Executioner.

Nanki-Poo. But — (aside) Shall I tell her? Yes! She will not betray me! (aloud) What if it should prove that, after all, I am no musician?

Yum-Yum. There! I was certain of it, directly I heard you play!

Nanki-Poo. What if it should prove that I am no other than the son of his Majesty the Mikado?

Yum-Yum. The son of the Mikado! But why is your Highness disguised? And what has your Highness done? And will your Highness promise never to do it again?

Nanki-Poo. Some years ago I had the misfortune to captivate Katisha, an elderly lady of my father's Court. She misconstrued my customary affability into expressions of affection, and claimed me in marriage, under my father's law. My father, the Lucius Junius Brutus of his race, ordered me to marry her within a week, or perish ignominiously on the scaffold. That night I fled his Court, and, assuming the disguise of a Second Trombone, I joined the band in which you found me when I had the happiness of seeing you! (approaching her)

Yum-Yum. (retreating) If you please, I think your Highness had better not come too near. The laws against flirting are excessively severe.

Nanki-Poo. But we are quite alone, and nobody can see us.

Yum-Yum. Still, that don't make it right. To flirt is capital.

Nanki-Poo. It is capital!

Yum-Yum. And we must obey the law.

Nanki-Poo. Deuce take the law!

Yum-Yum. I wish it would, but it won't!

Yum-Yum (Florence Perry) & Nanki-Poo (Charles Kenningham), 1895

Nanki-Poo. If it were not for that, how happy we might be!

Yum-Yum. Happy indeed!

Nanki-Poo. If it were not for the law, we should now be sitting side by side, like that. (Sits by her.)

Yum-Yum. Instead of being obliged to sit half a mile off, like that. (Crosses and sits at other side of stage.)

Nanki-Poo. We should be gazing into each other's eyes, like that. (Gazing at her sentimentally.)

Yum-Yum. Breathing sighs of unutterable love — like that. (Sighing and gazing lovingly at him.)

Nanki-Poo. With our arms round each other's waists, like that. (Embracing her.)

Yum-Yum. Yes, if it wasn't for the law.

Nanki-Poo. If it wasn't for the law.

Yum-Yum. As it is, of course we couldn't do anything of the kind.

Nanki-Poo. Not for worlds!

Yum-Yum. Being engaged to Ko-Ko, you know!

Nanki-Poo. Being engaged to Ko-Ko!

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