Page:Iolanthe lib.djvu/36

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36

Iol. You know not what you ask! The Lord Chancellor is—my husband!
Streph and Phyl.  Your husband!
Iol. My husband and your father! (addressing Strephon, who is much moved).
Phyl. Then our course is plain: on his learning that Strephon is his son, all objection to our marriage will be at once removed!
Iol. No, he must never know! He believes me to have died childless, and dearly as I love him, I am bound, under penalty of death, not to undeceive him. But see—he comes! Quick—my veil! (They retire up as Iolanthe veils herself.)

Enter Lord Chancellor.

Ld. Ch. Victory! Victory! Success has crowned my efforts, and I may consider myself engaged to Phyllis! At first I wouldn't hear of it—it was out of the question. But I took heart. I pointed out to myself that I was no stranger to myself—that, in point of fact, I had been personally acquainted with myself for some years. This had its effect. I admitted that I had watched my professional advancement with considerable interest, and I handsomely added that I yielded to no one in admiration for my private and professional virtues. This was a great point gained. I then endeavoured to work upon my feelings. Conceive my joy when I distinctly perceived a tear glistening in my own eye! Eventually, after a severe struggle with myself, I reluctantly—most reluctantly—consented!

Iolanthe comes down veiled—Strephon and Phyllis go off on tip-toe.

Recit.

Iol.

My Lord, a suppliant at your feet I kneel,
Oh, listen to a mother's fond appeal!
Hear me to-night! I come in urgent need—
'Tis for my son, young Strephon, that I plead!

Ballad.—Iolanthe.

He loves! If the bygone years
Thine eyes have ever shed
Tears—bitter, unavailing tears,
For one untimely dead—
If in the eventide of life
Sad thoughts of her arise,
Then let the memory of thy wife
Plead for my boy—he dies!