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ACT II


(Ko-Ko’s Garden. Yum-Yum discovered seated at her bridal toilet, surrounded by maidens, who are dressing her hair and painting her face and lips, as she judges of the effect in a mirror)

Solo with Chorus: Pitti-Sing, Girls

CHORUS
Braid the raven hair,
Weave the supple tress
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness.
Paint the pretty face,
Dye the coral lip,
Emphasize the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride.

PITTI-SING
Sit with downcast eye
Let it brim with dew;
Try if you can cry
We will do so, too.
When you’re summoned, start
Like a frightened roe
Flutter, little heart,
Colour, come and go!
Modesty at marriage-tide
Well becomes a pretty bride!

CHORUS
Braid the raven hair, etc.

(Exeunt Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo and Chorus.)

YUM-YUM
Yes, I am indeed beautiful! Sometimes I sit and wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this be vanity? No! Nature is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child of Nature, and take after my Mother.

Song

YUM-YUM
The sun, whose rays
Are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny
His majesty.
He scorns to tell a story!
He don’t exclaim,
‘I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent.’
But, fierce and bold,
In fiery gold
He glories all effulgent!
I mean to rule the earth,
As he the sky.
We really know our worth,
The sun and I!
Observe his flame,
That placid dame,
The moon’s Celestial Highness;
There’s not a trace
Upon her face
Of diffidence or shyness:
She borrows light
That, through the night,
Mankind may all acclaim her!
And, truth to tell,
She lights up well,
So I, for one, don’t blame her!
Ah, pray make no mistake,
We are not shy;
We’re very wide awake,
The moon and I!

(Enter Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo)

YUM-YUM
Yes, everything seems to smile upon me. I am to be married today to the man I love best, and I believe I am the very happiest girl in Japan!

PEEP-BO
The happiest girl indeed, for she is indeed to be envied who has attained happiness in all but perfection.

YUM-YUM
In ‘all but’ perfection?

PEEP-BO
Well, dear, it can’t be denied that the fact that your husband is to be beheaded in a month is, in its way, a drawback. It does seem to take the top off it, you know.

PITTI-SING
I don’t know about that. It all depends!

PEEP-BO
At all events, he will find it a drawback!

PITTI-SING
Not necessarily. Bless you, it all depends!

YUM-YUM
(in tears)
I think it very indelicate of you to refer to such a subject on such a day. If my married happiness is to be... to be...

PEEP-BO
Cut short.

YUM-YUM
Well, cut short in a month, can’t you let me forget it?

(Weeping)

(Enter Nanki-Poo, followed by Go-To)

NANKI-POO
Yum-Yum in tears!
And on her wedding morn!

YUM-YUM
(sobbing)
They’ve been reminding me that in a month you’re to be beheaded!

(Bursts into tears)

PITTI-SING
Yes, we’ve been reminding her that you’re to be beheaded.

(Bursts into tears)

PEEP-BO
It’s quite true, you. know, you are to be beheaded!

(Bursts into tears)

NANKI-POO
(aside)
Humph! Now, some bridegrooms would be depressed by this sort of thing!

(Aloud)

A month? Well, what’s a month? Bah!
These divisions of time are purely arbitrary.
Who says twenty-four hours make a day?

PITTI-SING
There’s a popular impression to that effect.

NANKI-POO
Then we’ll efface it. We’ll call each second a minute, each minute an hour, each hour a day, and each day a year. At that rate we’ve about thirty years of married happiness before us!

PEEP-BO
And, at that rate, this interview has already lasted four hours and three-quarters!

(Exit Peep-Bo)

YUM-YUM
(still sobbing)
Yes. How time flies when one is thoroughly enjoying oneself!

NANKI-POO
That’s the way to look at it!
Don’t let’s be downhearted!
There’s a silver lining to every cloud.

YUM-YUM
Certainly. Let’s, let’s be perfectly happy!

(Almost in tears)

GO-TO
By all means. Let’s, let’s thoroughly enjoy ourselves!

PITTI-SING
It’s, it’s absurd to cry!

(Trying to force a laugh)

YUM-YUM
Quite ridiculous!

(Trying to laugh)

(All break into a forced and melancholy laugh.)

Madrigal

YUM-YUM, PITTI-SING
NANKI-POO, GO-TO
Brightly dawns our wedding day;
Joyous hour, we give thee greeting!
Whither, whither art thou fleeting?
Fickle moment, prithee stay!
What though mortal joys be hollow?
Pleasures come, if sorrows follow:
Though the tocsin sound, ere long,
Ding dong! Ding dong!
Yet until the shadows fall
Over one and over all,
Sing a merry madrigal.
Fal-la, fal-la! etc.

(Ending in tears)

Let us dry the ready tear,
Though the hours are surely creeping
Little need for woeful weeping,
Till the sad sundown is near.
All must sip the cup of sorrow,
I today and thou tomorrow;
This the close of every song.
Ding dong! Ding dong!
What, though solemn shadows fall,
Sooner, later, over all?
Sing a merry madrigal
Fal-la, fal-la! etc.

(Ending in tears.)

(Exeunt Pitti-Sing and Go-To.)

(Nanki-Poo embraces Yum-Yum. Enter Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo releases Yum-Yum)

KO-KO
Go on, don’t mind me.

NANKI-POO
I’m afraid we’re distressing you.

KO-KO
Never mind, I must get used to it.
Only please do it by degrees.
Begin by putting your arm round her waist.

(Nanki-Poo does so.)

There; let me get used to that first.

YUM-YUM
Oh, wouldn’t you like to retire?
It must pain you to see us so affectionate together!

KO-KO
No, I must learn to bear it!
Now oblige me by allowing her head to rest on your shoulder.

NANKI-POO
Like that?

(He does so. Ko-Ko much affected.)

KO-KO
I am much obliged to you. Now... kiss her!

(He does so. Ko-Ko writhes with anguish.)

Thank you, it’s simple torture!

YUM-YUM
Come, come, bear up. After all, it’s only for a month.

KO-KO
No. It’s no use deluding oneself with false hopes.

NANKI-POO AND YUM-YUM
What do you mean?

KO-KO
(toYum-Yum)
My child – my poor child!

(Aside.)

How shall I break it to her?

(Aloud.)

My little bride that was to have been –

YUM-YUM
(delighted).
Was to have been?

KO-KO
Yes, you never can be mine!

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM
(in ecstasy)
What!
I’m so glad!

KO-KO
I’ve just ascertained that, by the Mikado’s law, when a married man is beheaded his wife is buried alive.

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM
Buried alive!

KO-KO
Buried alive.
It’s a most unpleasant death.

NANKI-POO
But whom did you get that from?

KO-KO
Oh, from Pooh-Bah. He’s my Solicitor.

YUM-YUM
But he may be mistaken!

KO-KO
So I thought; so I consulted the Attorney-General, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the Judge Ordinary, and the Lord Chancellor. They’re all the same opinion. Never knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life!

NANKI-POO
But stop a bit!
This law has never been put in force.

KO-KO
Not yet. You see, flirting is the only crime punishable with decapitation, and married men never flirt.

NANKI-POO
Of course they don’t. I quite forgot that!
Well, I suppose I may take it that my dream of happiness is at an end!

YUM-YUM
Darling, I don’t want to appear selfish, and I love you with all my heart, I don’t suppose I shall ever love anybody else half as much, but when I agreed to marry you, my own, I had no idea pet that I should have to be buried alive in a month!

NANKI-POO
Nor I! It’s the very first I’ve heard of it!

YUM-YUM
It makes a difference, doesn’t it?

NANKI-POO
It does make a difference, of course.

YUM-YUM
You see, burial alive, it’s such a stuffy death!

NANKI-POO
I call it a beast of a death.

YUM-YUM
You see my difficulty, don’t you?

NANKI-POO
Yes, and I see my own. If I insist on your carrying out your promise, I doom you to a hideous death; if I release you, you marry Ko-Ko at once!

Trio: Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, Ko-Ko.

YUM-YUM
Here’s a how-de-do!
If I marry you,
When your time has come to perish,
Then the maiden whom you cherish
Must be slaughtered, too!
Here’s a how-de-do!

NANKI-POO
Here’s a pretty mess!
In a month, or less,
I must die without a wedding!
Let the bitter tears I’m shedding
Witness my distress,
Here’s a pretty mess!

KO-KO
Here’s a state of things!
To her life she clings!
Matrimonial devotion
Doesn’t seem to suit her notion
Burial it brings!
Here’s a state of things!

Ensemble

YUM-YUM, NANKI-POO
With a passion that’s intense
I worship and adore,
But the laws of common sense
We oughtn’t to ignore.
If what he says is true,
’Tis death to marry you!
Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!

KO-KO
With a passion that’s intense
You worship and adore,
But the laws of common sense
You oughtn’t to ignore.
If what I say is true,
’Tis death to marry you!
Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!

(Exit Yum-Yum.)

KO-KO
(going up to Nanki-Poo)
My, poorboy, I’m really very sorry foryou.

NANKI-POO
Thanks, old fellow. I’m sure you are.

KO-KO
You see I’m quite helpless.

NANKI-POO
I quite see that.

KO-KO
I can’t conceive anything more distressing than to have one’s marriage broken off at the last moment. But you shan’t be disappointed of a wedding; you shall come to mine.

NANKI-POO
It’s awfully kind of you, but that’s impossible.

KO-KO
Why so?

NANKI-POO
Today I die.

KO-KO
What do you mean?

NANKI-POO
I can’t live without Yum-Yum.
This afternoon I perform the Happy Despatch.

KO-KO
No, no, pardon me, I can’t allow that.

NANKI-POO
Why not?

KO-KO
Why, hang it all, you’re under contract to die by the hand of the Public Executioner in a month’s time! If you kill yourself, what’s to become of me? Why, I shall have to be executed in your place!

NANKI-POO
It would certainly seem so!

(Enter Pooh-Bah)

KO-KO
Now then, Lord Mayor, what is it?

POOH-BAH
The Mikado and his suite are approaching the city, and will be here in ten minutes.

KO-KO
The Mikado! He’s coming to see whether his orders have been carried out!

(To Nanki-Poo)

Now look here, you know, this is getting serious, a bargain’s a bargain, and you really mustn’t frustrate the ends of justice by committing suicide. As a man of honour and a gentleman, you are bound to die ignominiously by the hands of the Public Executioner.

NANKI-POO
Very well, then behead me.

KO-KO
What, now?

NANKI-POO
Certainly; at once.

POOH-BAH
Chop it off! Chop it off!

KO-KO
My good sir, I don’t go about prepared to execute gentlemen at a moment’s notice. Why, I never even killed a blue-bottle!

POOH-BAH
Still, as Lord High Executioner...

KO-KO
My good sir, as Lord High Executioner, I’ve got to behead him in a month. I’m not ready yet. I don’t know how it’s done. I’m going to take lessons. I mean to begin with a guinea pig, and work my way through the animal kingdom till I come to a Second Trombone. Why, you don’t suppose that, as a humane man, I’d have accepted the post of Lord High Executioner if I hadn’t thought the duties were purely nominal? I can’t kill you I can’t kill anything! I can’t kill anybody!

(Weeps.)

NANKI-POO
Come, my poor fellow, we all have unpleasant duties to discharge at times; after all, what is it? If I don’t mind, why should you? Remember, sooner or later it must be done.

KO-KO
(springing up suddenly)
Must it? I’m not so sure about that!

NANKI-POO
What do you mean?

KO-KO
Why should I kill you when making an affidavit that you’ve been executed will do just as well? Here are plenty of witnesses: the Lord Chief justice, Lord High Admiral, Commander-in-Chief, Secretary of State for the Home Department, First Lord of the Treasury, and Chief Commissioner of Police.

NANKI-POO
But where are they?

KO-KO
(ToPooh-Bah)
There they are. They’ll all swear to it won’t you?

POOH-BAH
Am I to understand that all of us high Officers of State are required to perjure ourselves to ensure your safety?

KO-KO
Why not?
You’ll be grossly insulted, as usual.

POOH-BAH
Will the insult be cash down, or at a date?

KO-KO
It will be a ready-money transaction.

POOH-BAH
(Aside.)
Well, it will be a useful discipline.

(Aloud.)

Very good. Choose your fiction, and Ill endorse it!

(Aside.)

Ha! ha!
Family Pride, how do you like that, my buck?

NANKI-POO
But I tell you that life without Yum-Yum –

KO-KO
Oh, Yum-Yum, Yum-Yum!
Bother Yum-Yum!
Here, Commissionaire

(to Pooh-Bah)

go and fetch Yum-Yum.

(Exit Pooh-Bah)

Take Yum-Yum and marry Yum-Yum, only go away and never come back again.

(Enter Pooh-Bah with Yum-Yum)

Here she is.
Yum-Yum, are you particularly busy?

YUM-YUM
Not particularly.

KO-KO
You’ve five minutes to spare?

YUM-YUM
Yes.

KO-KO
Then go along with his Grace the Archbishop of Titipu; he’ll marry You at once.

YUM-YUM
But if I’m to be buried alive?

KO-KO
Now; don’t ask any questions, but do as I tell you, and Nanki-Poo will explain all.

NANKI-POO
But one moment...

KO-KO
Not for worlds. Here comes the Mikado, no doubt to ascertain, whether I’ve obeyed his decree, and if he finds you alive I shall have the greatest difficulty in persuading him that I’ve beheaded you.

(Exeunt Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, followed by Pooh-Bah)

Close thing that, for here he comes!

(Exit Ko-Ko)
ACT II


(Ko-Ko’s Garden. Yum-Yum discovered seated at her bridal toilet, surrounded by maidens, who are dressing her hair and painting her face and lips, as she judges of the effect in a mirror)

Solo with Chorus: Pitti-Sing, Girls

CHORUS
Braid the raven hair,
Weave the supple tress
Deck the maiden fair
In her loveliness.
Paint the pretty face,
Dye the coral lip,
Emphasize the grace
Of her ladyship!
Art and nature, thus allied,
Go to make a pretty bride.

PITTI-SING
Sit with downcast eye
Let it brim with dew;
Try if you can cry
We will do so, too.
When you’re summoned, start
Like a frightened roe
Flutter, little heart,
Colour, come and go!
Modesty at marriage-tide
Well becomes a pretty bride!

CHORUS
Braid the raven hair, etc.

(Exeunt Pitti-Sing, Peep-Bo and Chorus.)

YUM-YUM
Yes, I am indeed beautiful! Sometimes I sit and wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this be vanity? No! Nature is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child of Nature, and take after my Mother.

Song

YUM-YUM
The sun, whose rays
Are all ablaze
With ever-living glory,
Does not deny
His majesty.
He scorns to tell a story!
He don’t exclaim,
‘I blush for shame,
So kindly be indulgent.’
But, fierce and bold,
In fiery gold
He glories all effulgent!
I mean to rule the earth,
As he the sky.
We really know our worth,
The sun and I!
Observe his flame,
That placid dame,
The moon’s Celestial Highness;
There’s not a trace
Upon her face
Of diffidence or shyness:
She borrows light
That, through the night,
Mankind may all acclaim her!
And, truth to tell,
She lights up well,
So I, for one, don’t blame her!
Ah, pray make no mistake,
We are not shy;
We’re very wide awake,
The moon and I!

(Enter Pitti-Sing and Peep-Bo)

YUM-YUM
Yes, everything seems to smile upon me. I am to be married today to the man I love best, and I believe I am the very happiest girl in Japan!

PEEP-BO
The happiest girl indeed, for she is indeed to be envied who has attained happiness in all but perfection.

YUM-YUM
In ‘all but’ perfection?

PEEP-BO
Well, dear, it can’t be denied that the fact that your husband is to be beheaded in a month is, in its way, a drawback. It does seem to take the top off it, you know.

PITTI-SING
I don’t know about that. It all depends!

PEEP-BO
At all events, he will find it a drawback!

PITTI-SING
Not necessarily. Bless you, it all depends!

YUM-YUM
(in tears)
I think it very indelicate of you to refer to such a subject on such a day. If my married happiness is to be... to be...

PEEP-BO
Cut short.

YUM-YUM
Well, cut short in a month, can’t you let me forget it?

(Weeping)

(Enter Nanki-Poo, followed by Go-To)

NANKI-POO
Yum-Yum in tears!
And on her wedding morn!

YUM-YUM
(sobbing)
They’ve been reminding me that in a month you’re to be beheaded!

(Bursts into tears)

PITTI-SING
Yes, we’ve been reminding her that you’re to be beheaded.

(Bursts into tears)

PEEP-BO
It’s quite true, you. know, you are to be beheaded!

(Bursts into tears)

NANKI-POO
(aside)
Humph! Now, some bridegrooms would be depressed by this sort of thing!

(Aloud)

A month? Well, what’s a month? Bah!
These divisions of time are purely arbitrary.
Who says twenty-four hours make a day?

PITTI-SING
There’s a popular impression to that effect.

NANKI-POO
Then we’ll efface it. We’ll call each second a minute, each minute an hour, each hour a day, and each day a year. At that rate we’ve about thirty years of married happiness before us!

PEEP-BO
And, at that rate, this interview has already lasted four hours and three-quarters!

(Exit Peep-Bo)

YUM-YUM
(still sobbing)
Yes. How time flies when one is thoroughly enjoying oneself!

NANKI-POO
That’s the way to look at it!
Don’t let’s be downhearted!
There’s a silver lining to every cloud.

YUM-YUM
Certainly. Let’s, let’s be perfectly happy!

(Almost in tears)

GO-TO
By all means. Let’s, let’s thoroughly enjoy ourselves!

PITTI-SING
It’s, it’s absurd to cry!

(Trying to force a laugh)

YUM-YUM
Quite ridiculous!

(Trying to laugh)

(All break into a forced and melancholy laugh.)

Madrigal

YUM-YUM, PITTI-SING
NANKI-POO, GO-TO
Brightly dawns our wedding day;
Joyous hour, we give thee greeting!
Whither, whither art thou fleeting?
Fickle moment, prithee stay!
What though mortal joys be hollow?
Pleasures come, if sorrows follow:
Though the tocsin sound, ere long,
Ding dong! Ding dong!
Yet until the shadows fall
Over one and over all,
Sing a merry madrigal.
Fal-la, fal-la! etc.

(Ending in tears)

Let us dry the ready tear,
Though the hours are surely creeping
Little need for woeful weeping,
Till the sad sundown is near.
All must sip the cup of sorrow,
I today and thou tomorrow;
This the close of every song.
Ding dong! Ding dong!
What, though solemn shadows fall,
Sooner, later, over all?
Sing a merry madrigal
Fal-la, fal-la! etc.

(Ending in tears.)

(Exeunt Pitti-Sing and Go-To.)

(Nanki-Poo embraces Yum-Yum. Enter Ko-Ko. Nanki-Poo releases Yum-Yum)

KO-KO
Go on, don’t mind me.

NANKI-POO
I’m afraid we’re distressing you.

KO-KO
Never mind, I must get used to it.
Only please do it by degrees.
Begin by putting your arm round her waist.

(Nanki-Poo does so.)

There; let me get used to that first.

YUM-YUM
Oh, wouldn’t you like to retire?
It must pain you to see us so affectionate together!

KO-KO
No, I must learn to bear it!
Now oblige me by allowing her head to rest on your shoulder.

NANKI-POO
Like that?

(He does so. Ko-Ko much affected.)

KO-KO
I am much obliged to you. Now... kiss her!

(He does so. Ko-Ko writhes with anguish.)

Thank you, it’s simple torture!

YUM-YUM
Come, come, bear up. After all, it’s only for a month.

KO-KO
No. It’s no use deluding oneself with false hopes.

NANKI-POO AND YUM-YUM
What do you mean?

KO-KO
(toYum-Yum)
My child – my poor child!

(Aside.)

How shall I break it to her?

(Aloud.)

My little bride that was to have been –

YUM-YUM
(delighted).
Was to have been?

KO-KO
Yes, you never can be mine!

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM
(in ecstasy)
What!
I’m so glad!

KO-KO
I’ve just ascertained that, by the Mikado’s law, when a married man is beheaded his wife is buried alive.

NANKI-POO, YUM-YUM
Buried alive!

KO-KO
Buried alive.
It’s a most unpleasant death.

NANKI-POO
But whom did you get that from?

KO-KO
Oh, from Pooh-Bah. He’s my Solicitor.

YUM-YUM
But he may be mistaken!

KO-KO
So I thought; so I consulted the Attorney-General, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the Judge Ordinary, and the Lord Chancellor. They’re all the same opinion. Never knew such unanimity on a point of law in my life!

NANKI-POO
But stop a bit!
This law has never been put in force.

KO-KO
Not yet. You see, flirting is the only crime punishable with decapitation, and married men never flirt.

NANKI-POO
Of course they don’t. I quite forgot that!
Well, I suppose I may take it that my dream of happiness is at an end!

YUM-YUM
Darling, I don’t want to appear selfish, and I love you with all my heart, I don’t suppose I shall ever love anybody else half as much, but when I agreed to marry you, my own, I had no idea pet that I should have to be buried alive in a month!

NANKI-POO
Nor I! It’s the very first I’ve heard of it!

YUM-YUM
It makes a difference, doesn’t it?

NANKI-POO
It does make a difference, of course.

YUM-YUM
You see, burial alive, it’s such a stuffy death!

NANKI-POO
I call it a beast of a death.

YUM-YUM
You see my difficulty, don’t you?

NANKI-POO
Yes, and I see my own. If I insist on your carrying out your promise, I doom you to a hideous death; if I release you, you marry Ko-Ko at once!

Trio: Yum-Yum, Nanki-Poo, Ko-Ko.

YUM-YUM
Here’s a how-de-do!
If I marry you,
When your time has come to perish,
Then the maiden whom you cherish
Must be slaughtered, too!
Here’s a how-de-do!

NANKI-POO
Here’s a pretty mess!
In a month, or less,
I must die without a wedding!
Let the bitter tears I’m shedding
Witness my distress,
Here’s a pretty mess!

KO-KO
Here’s a state of things!
To her life she clings!
Matrimonial devotion
Doesn’t seem to suit her notion
Burial it brings!
Here’s a state of things!

Ensemble

YUM-YUM, NANKI-POO
With a passion that’s intense
I worship and adore,
But the laws of common sense
We oughtn’t to ignore.
If what he says is true,
’Tis death to marry you!
Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!

KO-KO
With a passion that’s intense
You worship and adore,
But the laws of common sense
You oughtn’t to ignore.
If what I say is true,
’Tis death to marry you!
Here’s a pretty state of things!
Here’s a pretty how-de-do!

(Exit Yum-Yum.)

KO-KO
(going up to Nanki-Poo)
My, poorboy, I’m really very sorry foryou.

NANKI-POO
Thanks, old fellow. I’m sure you are.

KO-KO
You see I’m quite helpless.

NANKI-POO
I quite see that.

KO-KO
I can’t conceive anything more distressing than to have one’s marriage broken off at the last moment. But you shan’t be disappointed of a wedding; you shall come to mine.

NANKI-POO
It’s awfully kind of you, but that’s impossible.

KO-KO
Why so?

NANKI-POO
Today I die.

KO-KO
What do you mean?

NANKI-POO
I can’t live without Yum-Yum.
This afternoon I perform the Happy Despatch.

KO-KO
No, no, pardon me, I can’t allow that.

NANKI-POO
Why not?

KO-KO
Why, hang it all, you’re under contract to die by the hand of the Public Executioner in a month’s time! If you kill yourself, what’s to become of me? Why, I shall have to be executed in your place!

NANKI-POO
It would certainly seem so!

(Enter Pooh-Bah)

KO-KO
Now then, Lord Mayor, what is it?

POOH-BAH
The Mikado and his suite are approaching the city, and will be here in ten minutes.

KO-KO
The Mikado! He’s coming to see whether his orders have been carried out!

(To Nanki-Poo)

Now look here, you know, this is getting serious, a bargain’s a bargain, and you really mustn’t frustrate the ends of justice by committing suicide. As a man of honour and a gentleman, you are bound to die ignominiously by the hands of the Public Executioner.

NANKI-POO
Very well, then behead me.

KO-KO
What, now?

NANKI-POO
Certainly; at once.

POOH-BAH
Chop it off! Chop it off!

KO-KO
My good sir, I don’t go about prepared to execute gentlemen at a moment’s notice. Why, I never even killed a blue-bottle!

POOH-BAH
Still, as Lord High Executioner...

KO-KO
My good sir, as Lord High Executioner, I’ve got to behead him in a month. I’m not ready yet. I don’t know how it’s done. I’m going to take lessons. I mean to begin with a guinea pig, and work my way through the animal kingdom till I come to a Second Trombone. Why, you don’t suppose that, as a humane man, I’d have accepted the post of Lord High Executioner if I hadn’t thought the duties were purely nominal? I can’t kill you I can’t kill anything! I can’t kill anybody!

(Weeps.)

NANKI-POO
Come, my poor fellow, we all have unpleasant duties to discharge at times; after all, what is it? If I don’t mind, why should you? Remember, sooner or later it must be done.

KO-KO
(springing up suddenly)
Must it? I’m not so sure about that!

NANKI-POO
What do you mean?

KO-KO
Why should I kill you when making an affidavit that you’ve been executed will do just as well? Here are plenty of witnesses: the Lord Chief justice, Lord High Admiral, Commander-in-Chief, Secretary of State for the Home Department, First Lord of the Treasury, and Chief Commissioner of Police.

NANKI-POO
But where are they?

KO-KO
(ToPooh-Bah)
There they are. They’ll all swear to it won’t you?

POOH-BAH
Am I to understand that all of us high Officers of State are required to perjure ourselves to ensure your safety?

KO-KO
Why not?
You’ll be grossly insulted, as usual.

POOH-BAH
Will the insult be cash down, or at a date?

KO-KO
It will be a ready-money transaction.

POOH-BAH
(Aside.)
Well, it will be a useful discipline.

(Aloud.)

Very good. Choose your fiction, and Ill endorse it!

(Aside.)

Ha! ha!
Family Pride, how do you like that, my buck?

NANKI-POO
But I tell you that life without Yum-Yum –

KO-KO
Oh, Yum-Yum, Yum-Yum!
Bother Yum-Yum!
Here, Commissionaire

(to Pooh-Bah)

go and fetch Yum-Yum.

(Exit Pooh-Bah)

Take Yum-Yum and marry Yum-Yum, only go away and never come back again.

(Enter Pooh-Bah with Yum-Yum)

Here she is.
Yum-Yum, are you particularly busy?

YUM-YUM
Not particularly.

KO-KO
You’ve five minutes to spare?

YUM-YUM
Yes.

KO-KO
Then go along with his Grace the Archbishop of Titipu; he’ll marry You at once.

YUM-YUM
But if I’m to be buried alive?

KO-KO
Now; don’t ask any questions, but do as I tell you, and Nanki-Poo will explain all.

NANKI-POO
But one moment...

KO-KO
Not for worlds. Here comes the Mikado, no doubt to ascertain, whether I’ve obeyed his decree, and if he finds you alive I shall have the greatest difficulty in persuading him that I’ve beheaded you.

(Exeunt Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum, followed by Pooh-Bah)

Close thing that, for here he comes!

(Exit Ko-Ko)



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