Page:Iolanthe lib.djvu/6

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Queen. And now, tell me, with all the world to choose from, why on earth did you decide to live at the bottom of that stream?
Iol. To be near my son, Strephon.
Queen. Bless my heart, I didn't know you had a son!
Iol. He was born soon after I left my husband by your royal command but he does not even know of his father's existence.
Fleta. How old is he?
Iol. Twenty-four.
Leila. Twenty-four! No one, to look at you, would think you had a son of twenty-four! But that's one of the advantages of being immortal. We never grow old! Is he pretty?
Iol. He's extremely pretty, but he's inclined to be stout.
All (disappointed ). Oh!
Queen. I see no objection to stoutness, in moderation.
Cel. And what is he?
Iol. He's an Arcadian shepherd and he loves Phyllis, a Ward in Chancery.
Cel. A mere shepherd! and he half a fairy!
Iol. He's a fairy down to the waist but his legs are mortal.
All. Dear me!
Queen. I have no reason to suppose that I am more curious than other people, but I confess I should like to see a person who is a fairy down to the waist, but whose legs are mortal.
Iol. Nothing easier, for here he comes!

(Enter Strephon, singing and dancing and playing on a flageolet. He does not see the fairies, who retire up stage as he enters.)


Chorus. (aside.)

Good morrow—good mother—
Good mother—good morrow!
By some means or other,
Pray banish your sorrow!
With joy beyond telling
My bosom is swelling,
So join in a measure
Expressive of pleasure.
For I'm to be married to-day—to-day—
Yes, I'm to be married to-day!

Chorus. (aside.)

Yes, he's to be married to-day—to-day—
Yes, he's to be married to-day!

Iol. Then the Lord Chancellor has at last given his consent to your marriage with his beautiful ward, Phyllis?
Streph. Not he, indeed. To all my tearful prayers he answers me, "A shepherd lad is no fit helpmate for a ward of Chancery." I stood in court, and there I sang him songs of Arcadee, with flageolet accompaniment in vain. At first he seemed amused, so did the bar; but quickly wearying of my song and pipe, bade me get out. A servile usher, then,