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The Throne Room of the Palace

Sir Dandiprat is standing in the middle of the room, surrounded by all the Maids of Honour. He looks puzzled and distressed.

Rosalys. [To Sir Dandiprat.] Of course it's to-day that Snow White is coming home.

Amelotte. It's a year and a day to-day.

Christabel. We thought of course you knew.

Sir Dandiprat. Dear me; are you sure? It's most important.

Christabel. She went away to school on the twentieth of June.

Rosalys. Last year. Astolaine. And to-day is the twenty-first.

Rosalys. This year.

Christabel. So it must be a year and a day to-day.

Sir Dandiprat. Pooh, that's not the way to reckon it. It ought to be done by arithmetic. Let me see—[He shuts his eyes and repeats.]

"Thirty days hath September,
"April, June and . . ."

Christabel. [Interupting.] That's no use!

Sir Dandiprat. Oh, I know—I know now! How many days are there in a year.

Rosalys. [Hiding a smile.] Three hundred and sixty-five usually.

Sir Dandiprat. I've got it now! Quiet! Quiet! I take June twentieth, [He writes on his tablet with his big gold pencil.] and add three hundred and sixty-five. She ought to arrive on June the three-hundred-and-eighty-fifth. Hm—that can't be right. It's most puzzling.

Rosalys. Prince Florimond comes to-day too.

Sir Dandiprat. What? Prince Florimond too?

Astolaine. Of course—to be engaged to Snow White.

Sir Dandiprat. The Prince coming and nothing arranged—nothing! Nobody ever tells me anything at this Court. He may be here any moment, and all the army out hunting for Berthold, and the Dukes and Duchesses scattered all over the place playing croquet! I shall go distracted! I shall go distracted!

[He hurries out onto the terrace, and first turns to the right, then to the left, then to the right again, before he can finally make up his foolish old mind to go the left, and waddles out of sight.

Christabel. I hope Snow White will come before the Prince does.

Guinivere. I shall hug her to death.

Astolaine. I didn't really believe a year and a day would ever be over.

Rosalys. Just think how much she'll know.

Christabel. I hope she'll know more than the Queen.

Astolaine. And asks questions the Queen can't answer.

Ermengarde. Wouldn't that be fun!

Christabel. Oh, let's play that Snow White is coming home. I'll be Snow White . . .

Guinevere. You always want to be Snow White.

Christabel. [Ignoring the interruption, to Astolaine.] You be the Queen. [To Rosalys.] You be the Prince.

Amelotte. I'll be Sir Dandiprat.

Christabel. Well then, announce the Prince. [And she and Rosalys run out onto the terrace ready to re-enter as Snow White and the Prince respectively.]

Astolaine. Wait till I get on the throne. [She arranges an imaginary train, then sweeps to the throne and gazes into an imaginary mirror.] I think I'm looking particularly handsome to-day. Any visitors, Sir Dandiprat?

Amelotte. [As Sir Dandiprat, announcing.] His Royalty Prince Florimond, your Majesty. [Rosalys enters as the Prince, bowing low in the doorway. Rosalys. Has Princess Snow White come home yet, your Majesty? I love her to distractedness. I should like to marry her at once, please.

Christabel. [Peeping in from the terrace.] Now me.

Astolaine. No, wait! Let me talk a little. Dear me, Prince Florimond—I mean, dear us!—we don't understand what you can possibly see in that plain child . . .

[But Christabel will wait no longer, and appears in the doorway.

Amelotte. [Pushing her back.] Wait till I announce you. [Resuming Sir Dandiprat's voice.] Here's the Princess now. Most important. The Princess Snow White.

[Christabel re-enters, makes a curtsey as much like Snow White's as she can; then going to Prince Rosalys, she says:
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Christabel. You ought to speak first.

Rosalys. [As the Prince, kneeling.] Snow White, I love you very much. May I kiss your hand?

Christabel. [As Snow White.] I should be very much obliged. Now I should like to ask the Queen something. Can your Majesty spell "hippopotamus?" [She adds hastily.] You musn't be able to. Astolaine. [Indignantly.] I wasn't going to! [Then, as the Queen again, and in a loud whisper.] However do you spell it, Sir Dandiprat?

Amelotte. [As Sir Dandiprat.] I can't think, your Majesty.

Astolaine. You never do!

Amelotte. [Strutting about with puffed out cheeks.] Really I shall go distracted! I shall go dis . . .[But she has to clap her hand quickly over her mouth for the real Sir Dandiprat's voice is heard on the terrace, exclaiming, "Really, I shall go distracted!"; and in he bustles, followed by all the Dukes and Duchesses, whom he hastily arranges in their proper places about the room.]

Sir Dandiprat. The Prince is here! The Prince is here ! We're keeping his Highness waiting ! Quickly, quickly, my dear Dukes and Duchesses. Quickly, quickly!

[A trumpet sounds, and Prince Florimond enters, followed by his Pages. The Courtiers bow low.

Sir Dandiprat. I'm sorry to have kept your Highness waiting. I'll inform the Queen at once that you've arrived. She's been expecting you all the morning. Just a moment, your Highness. [As he makes for the door he whispers to Christabel.] Where is the Queen?

Christabel. Try in front of all the looking-glasses!

Sir Dandiprat. [Shocked.] Most disrespectful! You will drive me distracted—distracted! [He puddles off to find the Queen.]

The Prince. [To Rosalys.] Lady Rosalys, has the Princess returned?

Rosalys. [Curtseying.] Not yet, your Highness, but we expect her every moment.

The Prince. Is she well?

Rosalys. I don't know, your Highness. She hasn't written to us since she went away.

The Prince. Not a single letter?

[Sir Dandiprat reappears and announces.

Sir Dandiprat. Her Majesty, the Queen.

[Queen Brangomar enters, and with a haughty nod to Prince Florimond, sweeps to the throne.

The Queen. I totally forgot you were coming to-day, Florimond. Stupid of me. Poor boy, I've sad news for you. I ought to have written but I hated to distress you. It's about Snow White.

The Prince. Snow White!

The Queen. I deeply regret to say she is dead.

The Prince. Dead . . . !

The Queen. It happened at boarding-school a few days after she arrived.

The Prince. [Crying out.] Snow White . . . dead . . . !

The Queen. I sent at least eighteen doctors, but it was useless.

[The Prince sinks sobbing on the steps of the throne.

The Queen. Pray don't distress yourself. Everything possible has been done. I built a splendid monument over her grave; a tall gilded shaft surrounded by four groups of. . . [Suddenly she sees the stern figure of Berthold. He has been standing silent and unnoticed in the doorway. She cries out.] Berthold!

Berthold. [Advancing.] Yes, Berthold! Berthold, come to punish you!

The Queen. Seize him! Arrest him! Dandiprat, the soldiers!

Sir Dandiprat. I'm awfully sorry, your Majesty, but the soldiers are all out hunting for him!

Berthold. I fear neither your soldiers nor your witchcraft now. No army, no Court, no Kingdom will be yours when I have told my tale.

The Queen. [Shrieking.] Don't listen to him! He is mad! I imprisoned him because he was mad.

Berthold. No, for fear that I would reveal your wikedness. But I escaped. I tunnelled under the tower and fled back to the forest to search for Snow White. Last night, in a secret dell, I found . . . [His voice falters.]

The Prince. [Rising with a cry.] You found her?

Berthold. Yes. But she lay in a coffin all made of shining crystal, as fair as if she were but asleep. And guarding her, day and night, were Seven Dwarfs.

The Queen. But she is dead?

Berthold. Yes, and you did the deed.

The Queen. [Trying to regain her self-control.] Nonsense! The man is quite mad. Snow White died at boarding-school. I made the arrangements myself.

Berthold. With that falsehood on your lips,—look!

[The Seven Dwarfs appear on the terrace bearing Snow White's coffin cov'
ered with its pall of flowers. They march slowly into the room.

The Queen. [Cowering on her throne in an agony of fear.] The Dwarfs! Merciful stars, what are they bringing? No! No! Take it away, take it away! You shall not bring her here! You shall not!

[Rushing from the throne, the Queen hurls herself upon the Dwarfs to prevent their setting down the coffin. So sudden is her onslaught that they cannot resist her;and with a crash of crystal it is overturned. With a cry of horror the Dwarfs surround it,and the Courtiers crowd about them.
[For a moment the Queen is alone. She seizes the Magic Mirror that hangs at her girdle, and with trembling lips whispers.

The Queen.

Mirror, Mirror, in my hand.
Who's the fairest in the land?
[What the Mirror answers will never be known for hardly has it begun to speak when, with a cry of rage, the Queen dashes it into a thousand pieces on the floor. Suddenly she clasps her hands over her face, sinks to her knees with a moan, and draws her veil close.
[And now there is a gasp of wonder from the Courtiers, and Rosalys voice cries.

Rosalys. Oh, look ! Snow White !

[The group parts, and Snow White, half supported by the Dwarfs, is seen to stir.

The Prince. [Rushing to her.] Snow White! My beloved! She lives! [He kneels beside her and raises her head.]

Snow White. [With a deep sigh.] Oh it was such a long, sad dream. I dreamed that I was dead. It was all dark and still. I could not move or see. Then, just now, came that great noise,—was it an earthquake?—and this loosened in my throat. Why, see, it's a little piece of apple ! Then there was a warm rushing here. [She lays her hand on her breast.] and I woke up. Or am I dreaming now? No, there are my Dwarfs. And Rosalys and Christabel and . . . Where am I? [With a cry of fear she struggles to her feet.] This is the palace! The Queen will find me! Hide me, brothers, I'm afraid!

Berthold. [Pouncing upon the cowering Queen.] She shall never harm you again, my Princess ! What shall her punishment be ? Let us starve her in the Grey Tower as she would have starved my children.

Blick. I'll make her a pair of red hot iron shoes to dance in at your wedding.

Dandiprat. If I might suggest, your Highness . . .

[But the Queen , writhing from Berthold's grasp, creeps to Snow White's feet, and makes an imploring gesture.]

Snow White. Hush, please, I think she wants to speak to me. The Queen. [Whispering.] Yes, to you alone.

Snow White. She wants to speak to me alone. Please let her.

Berthold. Be careful, Princess!

Snow White. I'm not afraid any more. Leave us for a moment.

[The others withdraw a little, leaving Snow White and the Queen together.

The Queen. [In a muffled voice.] Oh, Snow White, my punishment has come! I broke the Mirror, and my beauty is gone forever!

Snow White. The Mirror?

The Queen. Oh, forgive me. I shall never be jealous of you again. Only let me go away where no one can ever see my face. You shall be Queen now. Here is the Crown. [She thrusts it into Snow White's hand.] Snow White. [Wonderingly.] I to be Queen? I don't understand.

The Queen. You don't believe me? Then, look,—but, oh let no one else see me! [She lifts her veil a little so Snow White alone can see her face.]

Snow White. Oh, how dreadful! Poor Brangomar! I forgive you, I pity you from the bottom of my heart! [She turns to the others.] Please let the Queen go away unharmed. She wants to go far, far away.

Berthold. [Barring the way.] Unpunished? Never, your Highness!

All. Never, never!

Snow White. I beseech you. She will never harm any one again. I answer for her. I have forgiven her. Let her go.

[Reluctantly the Courtiers part and make a way for the Queen. She kisses the hem of Snow White's dress; and
then, her veil drawn close, makes her way toward the door.
[But just as she reaches the terrace who should be appear there but Witch Hex. She looks very differently now. Instead of her red cloak and pointed hat she wears a neat black silk dress with a white fichu around her shoulders, and a black bonnet with lavender-coloured flowers. On her arm she carries a basket in which is an ordinary sized black cat.

The Witch. [Stopping the Queen.] Highty-tighty, what's all this? The Queen. [Clinging to her.] Oh, Witch Hex!

All. [In consternation.] Witch Hex! The Witch!

The Witch. Don't be frightened; not Witch Hex anymore! I gave up magic for good and all day before yesterday, burned all my charms, shrunk Fiddle to his natural size, [She shows the cat.] and retired. Perfectly respectable old lady now. But whatever have you been doing to Brangomar?

The Queen. Oh, Hex, I broke the Magic Mirror.

The Witch. And turned ugly. I told you you would some day. Well, serves you right. Let's see. [She tries to lift the Queen's veil.]

The Queen. [Preventing her.] Oh, no, no, no!

The Witch. Oh, yes, yes, yes! You were fond enough of showing your face before. Turn about's fair play. [She snatches off the veil.]

[The Queen has surely turned ugly, but it is a funny kind of ugliness. None of her features have changed except her nose, but that has grown enormous&mdah;almost a foot long, and very red.

The Witch. [Cackling with laughter.] Oh my stars and garters! What a nose! What a nose! Snow White. [Appealingly] Please don't laugh at her !

The Queen. Oh, Hex, can't you help me?

The Witch. Afraid not. The only way to be beautiful without magic is to be good. Who are all these fine folks?

Sir Dandiprat. [Strutting forward importantly] Allow me to present . . .

The Witch. [Waving him away] Shoo, shoo! old turkey-cock!

[Meantime the Queen creeps quietly away on the terrace, and is never seen or heard of again.

The Witch. [Going to Snow White.] You must be Snow White. However did you come alive? I made a poisoned apple for you. Glad it didn't work, but why didn't it?

Snow White. [Smiling] I think the big greedy bite I took must have stuck in my throat; and just now something happened, and it got joggled out.

The Witch. Glad of it. Always was sorry for you. Who's this nice boy? Oh, Prince Florimond of course. I can guess why you're here. Well, is the betrothal all arranged? [Snow White hangs her head, and the Prince blushes furiously.] Embarrassed, eh? Well, I don't know of any better use for bold old people than to help shy young people. Where's the ring, young man? Oh, come! I'll wager you've been carrying it about for a year. [Shyly Prince Florimond produces the ring.] Your hand, Snow White!

Snow White. Please, do you think I ought to—yet? You see I didn't get to school to be prepared and . . .

The Witch. You're just a dear sweet little girl, and that's good enough for any man, prince or pauper. Put it on, Florimond. [The Prince does so.] Now, young man, lead her to the throne and crown her properly, and we'll all swear allegiance to our new little Queen.

[With stately grace the young Prince leads Snow White to the throne, and reverently sets the great crown on her little head. Then he kneels before her, and all the Courtiers follow his example. Then there is a great burst of music and all the trumpets in the palace blare. Rising and unsheathing his sword, the Prince cries.

The Prince. Love and homage to our little Queen!

All. [In a great shout.] Love an homage to our little Queen.

Snow White. [Furtively brushing away a happy tear.] Oh please . . . please!

[During all this the Dwarfs have withdrawn shyly to the furthest corner of the room; but now Blick, clearing his throat and summoning all his courage, cries:

Blick. Brothers! March!

[In military order the Dwarfs file to the throne. Some of them think they ought to kneel, and some of them think not, so they wobble for a moment and then stand still.

Blick. [Stammering.] Your er . . . er . . . your . . . [He gives it up, and bursts out.] Oh Snow White, please tell us what to call you? You see we've never met a Queen before.

Snow White. Oh, my brothers, call me just Snow White—always and always!

Blick. Snow White, may we go now?

Snow White. Go? Where?

Blick. To fetch you our wedding present—all our gold and jewels. We'll make you the richest Queen in the whole world.

Snick. And then back to our lonely house.

Flick. And those suppers! Glick. And those beds!

Snow White. No, no! You must stay with me always—always, my brothers.

Blick. [Hanging his head.] But as we are—dwarfs.

Snow White. There are no nobler men in my kingdom! You shall be my bodyguard, and Berthold shall be your Captain.

Blick. What do you say, brothers?

Quee. I say, Hip, hip, hurrah!

All the Dwarfs. Hip, hip, hurrah!

The Witch. Dear me! I quite enjoy being respectable! And I can't see any reason why you shouldn't live happily ever after.

Roslays. Oh Princess, if I don't dance, I shall just die!

Christabel. And so shall I! All the Maids of Honour. So shall I! So shall I!

Snow White. [To the Prince.] May Queens dance too when they are very, very happy?

The Prince. Do you remember the first words I ever said to you?

"Lady, may I dance with you
"In the measure to ensue?"

Snow White. And I answered;

"Sir, could any maid withstand
"Such a flattering command?"
[She gives him her hand, and they all whirl off into the gayest and happiest dance you can imagine—even the Dwarfs (who, you remember, never could learn) hopping solemnly for joy, as
the curtain falls

   P. S. Snow White and Prince Florimond did live happily ever after as the Witch had predicted.

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