Laurence Housman.

The Chinese lantern online

. (page 4 of 5)
Online LibraryLaurence HousmanThe Chinese lantern → online text (page 4 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of the house, go to Mrs. Back-of-the-House, and

go to the Devil ! [MRS. OLANGTSI cuffs him.]

Shan't help you to look for him any more now.

[Retires to doorpost with stately deliberation.

NAU. [returning from house]. He 's not in the

house ! Mrs. Tip- top -shtory- teller has made a


OLANG. Ah ! where is it ? Where has he put

it to ? Have you seen

PEE. [from roof]. He 's not up here ?

LIL. [from cellar-trap]. He 's not down here

he 's not I 'm sure he 's not down

[Slips through trap, catches TEE-PEE by the
ankles and draws him after.

OLANG. [to TEE-PEE]. Have you seen ?

[TEE-PEE catches NEW-LYN by hands, and pulls

him down headforemost]. Have you seen ?


MEE. Oh, Tiki ! Is you not anywhere ?
What have become of you, Tiki ?

[PEE-AH-BEE returns from roof.
HITI [clinging to doorpost and waving his hand
aimlessly]. He 's not out here !

OLANG. The thief ! the thief ! he has run off
with it ?

MRS. o. With what ?

OLANG. I gave it to him to keep safe I re-
member now before I went out !


MRS. o. Gave him what ?
OLANG. Why, the certificate, of course !
What else ? Your son's certificate of grocery !
Ah, fool that I was ! Fool !
YUNG. My my certificate ?
OLANG. Yes he has taken it !
YUNG. Boohooh ! My beautiful my beauti-
ful certificate. You let him take it because you
didn't want me to be a grocer ! I hate you,
father ! Boohooh ! Mother, take me to bed !

HITI [from doorway]. I know where he ish :
he 'sh behind that picture.

OLANG. Ah, yes, behind the picture ! Bring
him out ! Bring him out !

HAN. No he 's not there ! Nothing 's there !
'Shtificate 's not there either !
YUNG. Boohooh !

MRS. o. There, there, don't fret ! We '11 get
you another, just like it. There, don't cry 1

into house.

HAN., NAUT., and PEE. [link arms and cross the
stage staggering]. My my my beautiful 'Shtifi-
cate ... I hate you, father ! Boohooh ! Good-
night ! . . .

[They push Hm-Tm/rora doorpost and go out.
OLANG. Oh, Fool ! Fool ! Fool ! Why, why
did I ... not : . . spare ?

[MEE-MEE holds up to OLANGTSI torn frag-
ments of picture. He strikes them down
with a cry of rage.]

No ! I will not ! That finishes it. So there !



[The truth dawns on MEE-MEE. She utters a cry.

MEE. Oh ! dat kill Tiki ! Dat kill dat make
him hate evellybody ! Hate me now, always,
always ! He never speak to me ! He never
look at me again. He never come back now.
He gone ! He gone ! . . . Oh, Tiki, dey broken
yo' heart all to pieces ! Mee-Mee know dat !
Mee-Mee understand !

[She gathers the torn pieces to her breast,
kissing them.




The Studio before dawn. M KK-.M KK lies asleep on a mat in
front of the picture. Outside a shuffling step is heard,
and a sheep-like coughing. A dull lantcrn-liyht /x/.v.^.v
along the street wall. Knocking.

MEE. Who dat ? [She shuffles up and goes to
the door.] Josi-Mosi, dat you ? [Opens door.

josi. Yesh, dat 'sh me. [He enters.] Nobody
up yet ? [He sets down lantern.

MEE. No, dey all asleep so airly ! . . , S
you blought dat lill' t'ing I toP you ?

josi. Yesh, I 've got it !

MEE. [exultantly]. Sha !

josi. What you want it for, eh ?

MEE. Ugh ! . . . Meself of course ! ... Me
sleep in here. . . . All de big live-long rats
come in de night and wake me ! Dey run
on my toes dey sit on my face. Not nice
t'ing dat, eh ?

josi. Have you got de money ?

MEE. Yah ! ! [Fumbles in sleeve.] Dere now !
[Gives him the money.] No say dat all right ?

josi [counting it]. Dat 'sh all right.

[He gives her a small phial.

MEE. Oh ! dat all ! Dat not e-nough ! Dere 's
plenty, twenty, hundred rats in here. . . . Take
a lot of killing, dey will !

josi. Dat 'ud kill five hundred, dat would !


MEE. Kill me too ?

josi. Kill de whole lot of you.

MEE. [satisfied]. Ah !

josi. So dey put you to shleep in here now, eh?
Dat boy Tikipu never been sheen again, I
shuppose ?

MEE. [startled]. What for you ask me dat now ?
. . . No, he not come.

josi. M'm. Reashon I ashk wash becosh
dish is de very day he went free yearsh ago.
Feasht of Lanternsh it wash. I 've a reashon
for remembering de date.

MEE. So ?

josi. It wash to-day. . . . What 'sh dat ?
Who 5 s dat here ?

Enter OLANGTSI in sleeping attire.

MEE. Ssh ! It Mr. Olangtsi ... he velly
often come like dat to de picture. He not
know anyt'ing about it when he wake up !

OLANG. Ugh ! Ugh ! . . . Yes, yes . . . where
was I ? ... I don't want you, my dear ! ... Go
away ! . . . You . . . you wouldn't understand !
. . . Gen . . . gentle . . . gentlemen pupils . . .
your immediate and polite attention ! . . . On
this very painful occasion, when I address you
for the last time . . . and this great picture of
Wiowani's which here stands before you . . . for
the last time ... I ask you, I ask you, for the last
time . . . your kind attention, gentlemen ! . . . No,
no, I am not forgetting myself, my dear, at all !
, . . I am remembering what I was once, . . ,


before you . . . before you came and robbed me !
. . . Yes, you did you robbed me ! . . . like a
thief in the night : first you robbed me of my
sleep, then of my liberty, then of my conscience
... and then, then of my art ! Tikipu found
out that for me ! ... And now everything is

josi. What 'sh all dish mean ?

MEE. He want Tikipu to come back, me t'ink.
He velly unhappy.

OLANG. What thief, what great thief in the
night taught you to steal like that ? . . . Oh,
thief, thief, little thief ! give it back to me, give
it back to me, I say. . . . There ! There ! . . .
that finishes it ! ... that 's done, Tikipu,
that 's done !

MEE. Oh ! [She begins to sob.

OLANG. Don't cry, Tikipu, it 's no use your
crying like that ! . . . Ah, that 's good, that 's
good ! but you mustn't paint like that any
more ... it 's not ... it 's not possible. She
won't let you ... it doesn't pay. . . . And if
it doesn't pay, it 's no good !

josi. No, he 'sh right dere : if it doesn't
pay, it 'sh no good ! You know, little Mish
Mee-Mee, you going to have a new master
to-day ?

MEE. How you know dat ? How you know

josi. 'Cosh I do know : it 's de right day for
it. He knowsh dat too. [Nods to OLANGTSI.

MEE. Den you know velly foolish t'ing, Mr.
Josi-Mosi, if you t'ink dat ! Me not have no


new master ! So dere ! . . . Dis kill so many
rat : it kill me too !

josi. Mee-Mee, you give me dat back !

MEE. Noh !

josi. Give it me back, I shay.

[He tries to take bottle.

MEE. Noh !

josi. If you don't give it me I I

MEE. Don' you touch me ! Don' you dare to
come near me !

VOICE [without} . Yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-

[A quick step goes by and a wand taps along
the wall.

MEE. [relieved]. Ah !

josi. What 'sh dat !

MEE. De watchman. c Evellybody wake up ! '
he say. You go !

josi. You give me dat firsht ! [Pursues her.

MRS. o. [within]. Mee-Mee, Mee-Mee ! You
awake ?

MEE. H'm, ya-ah ! . . . Oh, ye-es ! Almost
quite awake now ! . . . You go ! You gott'n
yo' money you go !

MRS. o. [within]. Get up then ; come quick, I
want you !

OLANG. Eh ? Eh ? Yes, my dear, I 'm com-
ing ! I 'm coming !

josi. Coshi ! I must fetch Coshi !

MEE. Yah ! [Exit JOSI-MOSI in haste.

OLANG. Yes, yes, I was meaning to come. It
was it was only for the last time !

[Exit OLANGTSI by staircase.


Enter by inner door MRS. OLANGTSI with light and
bridal costume.

MRS. o. What are you doing so slow when I

MEE. Only jus' to open de door !

MRS. o. Don't want it open ! Shut it !
[Looks round suspiciously.] Who 's been in

MEE. It was a big rat dat would'n' go out !
Me told him you comin' : den he run on his
hin' legs, jus' like a man !

[Starts to pull up blinds.

MRS. o. Here ! Begin to get yourself dressed,
or you '11 be late ! . . . There are your things.
. . . [She lays bridal costume on chair.] Now
attend to me, and learn how a Chinese bride
should behave.

MEE. Be-have ?

MRS. o. In a quarter of an hour are you
attending ? the bridesmen and the bearers will
be here with the palanquin. As soon as you hear
them outside you are to run in there and lock
the door.

MEE. Dat door ?

MRS. o. Yes, that door ; there isn't any other
that I know of. Don't lock it so much that they
can't force it without breaking it ! I don't want
to be paying for repairs afterwards, you aren't
worth it !

MEE. Leave it open, den ?

MRS. o. Open ? Fine sense of modesty you 've
got ! Please to recollect that you are a Chinese
bride ; you do as I tell you ! Pull up that


blind ! Then, when they fetch you out, you
must struggle d' you hear ? Kick, bite,
scratch ; only mind you don't tear the dress !
Do it decently : give one of them a scratch on
his face where it can be seen : that '11 be enough.
If you show too much fight it looks like having
too high an opinion of yourself. When they 've
put you into the palanquin and locked you in
then you can do as you like.

MEE. So ?

MRS. o. Remember the bride's procession is
to start at sunrise. Mind you are ready !

MEE. Hon'ble Mistless, at sunlise ? Dat velly
airly dat not too soon, eh ?

MRS. o. Not if I say it 's the time you are to be
ready by. When you want your bride-crown
pinned on, come to me !

MEE. My blide-clown ? Oh yes ! . . . Say ! . . .
When dey put me in my HIP chair-palanquin,
will all de blin's be down ? No one to see

MRS. o. Of course not. Who wants to see
you ? Here, go on and get dressed ! You are
wasting time. [Exit MRS. o.

MEE. Yes : me wasting time ! [Putts up
blind.] Silly dat ! . . . Nobody want to see me ?
. . . No . . . nobody ! Oh ! run, Mee-Mee !
dere 's de worP wakin' ! [She opens door and
peeps out.] Oh, gleat, big worl', wake up !
Mee-Mee say good-bye to you ! Oh, de lazy
sun, all down dere, you not come up yet Mee-
Mee say good-bye to you ! . . . And nex' time
dat he come, you tell Tiki, you tell Tiki Mee-


Mee gone jus' 'cause she couldn't wait fo' him
any mo' ! . . . Dat 's all ! ... You all been velly,
velly nice to me ! . . . Good-bye.

[She shuts the door, draws out phial and stands

trembling, facing the thought of death.

Crossing the stage she comes on the bridal

array left by MRS. OLANGTSI.
Oh ! pletty, eh ? Oh ! Say ! isn't dat nice V
What ? . . . Quick, quick, Mee-Mee ! [She be-
gins to robe herself.] Yes, quick ! Yes, quick !
Yes, quick ! [Puts on shoes.] Lef ', right, get
dem all on ! Dere ! dat all right, eh ? [Opens
toilet-box and gets out mirror and paints.] Now,
Mee-Mee, you got to make yo'self mos' beautiful
because to-day, you say you say you goin'
to be mallied to Tiki. And dat make you so
glad, dat make you so happy, dat you laugh, an'
laugh, an' laugh, till all de tears come into yo'
eyes ! You velly silly little gel, you ! [She
dries her eyes and takes up mirror.] Look at
yo'self 1 Hee-hee ! [She turns the glass about
and knocks on the back of it.] Mee-Mee ? Mee-
Mee ? You round dere ? You round dere ?
. . . Right in dere ? [Turns it.] 'Course I is !
She in dere all de time ! Catch her not ?
[She starts playing bo-peep with herself.] No . . .
no ... she dere, I say she dere ! . . . He say
once he say, ' silly lill' gel know not'ing 'bout
art ! ' Ah, ha ! Himself he know not'ing,
not'ing at all ! ... Himself ! . . . Tiki, dat
went away and never come back !

[She produces from hiding-place the shoes

which TIKIPU left behind.


[Sings.] Mee-Mee, Mee-Mee know not where

He gone. He gone !
He not here ? He not dere !
[She looks into her powder-boxes and at the shoes.]
No use looking anywhere !

He gone !

Evelly day, sin' dey say
He gone an' not come back
Mee-Mee wait : still he stay ;
Mee-Mee hope, Mee-Mee pray ;
All Mee-Mee 's hair gone grey !

Dat 's a fac !

[Looks at herself in glass, and continues talking.]
Only jus' now it don' show dat 's all why she
can't see it. [She puts out light. Within the
house are heard the voices O/MR. and MRS.OLANGTSI
raised in altercation, and YUNGLANGTSI crying,
c I don't want to get up ! I won't get up ! ' As
MEE-MEE listens her resolution is formed.] Don'
you waste time, Mee-Mee ! don' you waste
time ! Soon dey come to take you away from
yo'self. You say not'ing to dat. You only be
here let dem find you here, eh ? Let dem see
you not belong to dem at all. You belong all to
yo'self because Tiki have forgotten you ! [She
takes phial of poison from her breast.] Goo'bye,
Mee-Mee ! . . . Goo'bye . . . goo' . . .

[While she is speaking the picture glows
slowly into life. Under the rays of the
lantern WIOWANI is discovered seated, be-
nignant of aspect. He plucks three times
upon the strings of his guitar. At the third
sound MEE-MEE' s attention is arrested : she


shuffles the poison out of sight and turns
her head.

MEE. [with childlike curiosity]. H'm ? How
you come in dere ?

wio. Years ago, when youth was spent,
The door was open, so in I went.

MEE. Catch yo' foot and trip, eh ? ... Say Y
is it all velly nice in dere ?

wio. A matter of taste : the view is free ;
You can look for yourself and see.

MEE. [doubtfully]. H'm ! Is dere any one
pletty in dere ?

wio. Pretty 's a word that knows no rule,
Here we have only the Beautiful.

MEE. H'm ! . . . H'm ! . . . not pletty ?

[WIOWANI shakes his head.

MEE. [very satisfied]. Say ? . . . Me pletty,
you no t'ink ?

wio. My eyes have grown too old to see,
You 're too far off. Come nearer to me !

MEE. [advancing by degrees]. Hee-hee ! . . .
Hee-hee ! . . . Tsz ! *

wio. Nearer. Nearer. Yes, that will do.
Sit down ! I 've been waiting to talk to you.

MEE. Ya-as ... of course.

[She squats on dais.

wio. Three years I 've waited, while time has

Mee-Mee, when are you going to get married ?

MEE. [stiffly]. Not going to get mallied.

wio. Oh, yes, you are! Tell the truth, Mee-
Come now ! when is the day to be ?


MEE. [reluctantly]. Well ... me 'd bin hopin 5
dey forget. . . . Dey not ! . . . Las' night de
mistless say 'Mee-Mee!' (like dat !), 'you
gettin' yo'self leddy to mally to-mollow first
t'ing ? ' . . . [Her voice begins to quaver.] Me
gettin' meself leddy now. . . . Plesently she
come : plesently she say ' You wife, you not
HIP gel any mo' ! '

wio. And then ?

MEE. And den ? Ah ! den me got to die !

wio. Die ? When ?

MEE. Me got lilF bottle of c come-wid-me ' in
here ! Hee-hee, hee-hee ! ... Me take it so :
me say to my beautiful new husban' c Yo'
health ! yo' velly good health ! ' Den me
drink. Den me say c How nice ! ' Den me
die ! Den he lef ' widower. . . . Oh ! poo'
man !

wio. Oh ! he '11 get over it, bit by bit !
But what will Tikipu say to it ?

MEE. Tikipu ? Who say ' Tikipu ' ? Who
say ? Who say ?

wio. Oh, yes ! It 's all very well for you :
But what will it mean for Tikipu ?

MEE. Not'ing. ... He fo'gotten me.

wio. Oh, ho ?

MEE. He don' care fo' me.

wio. Oh, ho ?

MEE. He don' want me !

wio. He didn't, you mean, when he went away.
When he returns perhaps he may !

MEE. Ah, say ? Ah, say ? O gleat big beauti-
ful wise man, you t'ink dat ?


wio. And if he does then, what about you ?
How can you hope to help Tikipu ?

MEE. Ugh ! Dat velly easy t'ing, if he really
want me. . . . Me say here to myself sometimes,
' Now, t'ink, Mee-Mee, t'ink Tiki come all back
again ! T'ink dat you am his wife ! . . . Den
he sit like dis, and he paint : an' you just sit-
an'-wait ! Plesently he paint all wrong : got
to be closs with somebody of course ! Den he
closs wid you I an' you jus' sit-an'-wait ! Den
he paint Abominable: got to beat somebody-
beat you, eh ? Den de picture come all right !
.... Say, isn't dat de way ? What ?
De man dat mally me
Gleat artis', see ?

wio. Yes, if he understands, maybe.
Where did you learn all that, Mee-Mee ?

MEE. It all inside of me ! . . . Dat kind of
t'ing come all of itself me t'ink !

wio. Ah ! That 's good ! Well, some day you
Will have to teach that to Tikipu.
When he returns perhaps you '11 find
Tikipu with an absent mind.
Wake him tenderly, take him in hand,
Teach him ! Then he will understand. . . .
There, run along ! Yes, go your way ;
Deck yourself out in bridal array,
Stick gold bodkins into your head,
Dab your cheeks with patches of red,
Paint your lips like petals of rose,
Rub the powder-puff over your nose,
Play the tricks that you know by heart,
Colour your eyes, and call it ' Art.'


And when you stand, after all is done,
Crowned like a bride in the sight of the sun,
Then is your time call Tikipu !
And he, if he hears, will come to you !

[WIOWANI vanishes into picture.
MEE. [quietly surprised}. Say ! . . . Funny
picture dat ! Mee-Mee, you been asleep ?

MRS. o. [within}. Now Mee-Mee ! Mee-Mee !
Mee-Mee !

MEE. Oh ! ya-as !

[She scurries around, collects her toilet-
materials, and runs into house. Far away
bridal music is heard. Within the picture
goes a murmur of soft music. WIOWANI
reappears, leading TIKIPU by the hand.
TIKIPU steps out of the picture as one
walking in his sleep.

wio. So you have come back to the world again !
There 's dawn beginning white against the pane.
What does life look like ? Does the dream seem


Now you have wakened from it, Tikipu ?
What? Not awake yet? Ah, soon from your brain
All this dead breath shall melt, as from the pane
Melts the white frost ! Now, if my labour stands,
Yonder you hold it! Go and wash your hands !
There 's too much paint upon them, and the stain
Of midnight oils. Catch hold on life again
Ere it be flown ! You know the tale that 's told,
How to my door an Emperor came of old
And begged, but would not enter. Fortune's

Burdened with power, he durst not lay it down !


But there 's another tale, that 's yet to tell,
Of one that came, and loving peace too well-
Would not go out ! Indolent and unmoved,
Gifted with powers, he feared to have them

proved !

Chosen of gods, the gods he chose to cheat,
And here sat lapped in rest with folded feet,
A tranquil traitor, careless of his kind.
Go get you gone,andleave your dreamsbehind !
Nay ! What have you done yet to earn the

And peace wherein I dwell ? Have your hands

Dull clay, or caused the mouldering dead to

Have you so starved, and striven, and toiled to


Your vision true : and have you failed and tried,
And failed and found only to be denied
And stand at last a mark for all men's scorn ?
And have you learned that faith is only born
Out of thick darkness hope out of despair
Love out of hate and that the world proves


Only through this the blindness of men's eyes,
Whereto all Beauty goes for sacrifice ?
Ah ! though I speakwith tongues, he understands
Nothing at all ! Go, go and wash your hands
In life, and live anew ! . . .
The world awaits you ! Good-bye, Tikipu !

[TIKIPU has turned slowly away, gazing at his
hands in a daze of grief and humility.
WIOWANI vanishes into the picture.


Re-enter MEE-MEE, wearing her bridal crown.
TIKIPU continues to move away.

MEE. Tiki ! Tikipu !

TIKI. Why, Mee-Mee, is that you ? What
have you come for ? It 's ... it 's very early,
isn't it ? ... Is any one up ? Mee-Mee, what 's
the matter ? You are changed ! What has
happened since yesterday ?

MEE. Since yes'day ?

TIKI. It was ... it was yesterday, wasn't
it ? Mee-Mee how long have I been away ?

MEE. For free year, Tiki free whole year.

TIKI [dumbfounded}. Three y !

MEE. You 'shamed of yo'self. Tiki, eh ?
What for you come back now ? H'm ? Los'
yo' way, I suppose !

TIKI. Yes, Mee-Mee, ... it 's strange ! . . .
I 've ... I 've lost my way ! . . . Three years !
And you are not married yet, Mee-Mee ?

MEE. What dat matter to you, Mr. Tiki . . .
No . . . not yet. . . . P'laps dat why you come
... to see me mallied ! . . . Well, den you
jest in time !

TIKI [realising for the first time MEE-MEE'S
bridal array]. Mee-Mee . . . there 's something
... I ... don't understand.

MEE. Ah ha ! So you found dat out !

TIKI. It 's gone ! Something 's gone some-
thing without which I can't live ! Gone !

MEE. Ah ! I know what all de matter ! I
know ! Dere ! [She brings out TIKIPU'S shoes
from hiding-place.} You lef ' yo' gleat big shoes
behin' ! I keep dem quite safe all de time !


Dere, put dem all on, Tiki ! You not grown too
big for dem, Tiki ?

[She kneels, taps first one foot, then the other,
and puts the shoes on his feet. He still
stands dazed.

TIKI. Gone ! . . . Oh ! where shall I find help
now ?

MEE. Won' Mee-Mee do ? Won' Mee-Mee do ?
[He stands disregarding her.] You not want me ?
. . . You not want me, Tiki ? . . . Goo' -bye.
. . . I 'm going to be mallied to-day . . . yes,
to somebody ! My Star say to-day, only to-
day ! ... oP maid if I don't mally to-day !
. . . Goo'-bye ! Ah ! Ah !

[She breaks into sudden tremblings and sob-
bings. TIKIPU turns and looks at her
earnestly : round her as she stands the light
gradually grows bright. She stretches her
hands pleadingly towards him for the last

TIKI. Mee-Mee ! Mee-Mee ! What have you
done to yourself ? Don't look at me like that !
Don't look at me like that ! Your eyes are
beautiful, Mee-Mee ! Shut them or I shall go
blind !

MEE. Ah ! It come ! It come ! Say, Tiki,
you is wantin' somebody to help you ?

TIKI. My whole life is a want, Mee-Mee !
If you come with me you will lose every-
thing !

MEE. I got not'ing to lose, Tiki.
TIKI. You will be hungry !
MEE. I 've been hungly for free years, Tiki.


TIKI. Homeless perhaps !

MEE. I never had a home, Tiki.

TIKI. Friendless !

MEE. Ah, ha !

TIKI. Poor ! poorer than the poorest you
have known. Look under this . . . this robe.
. . . [Bewildered, he finds that he is wearing a
strange garment.] ... I have only my old rags.
And you

MEE. [showing herself]. I jus' de same !

TIKI. Often I shall neglect you, Mee-Mee :
sometimes I may even forget you ! For there is
something I love more than you ! If you come
with me, it is to help me to find eyes more
wonderful than your own, and a mistress whose
bond -slave you also shall be !

MEE. She velly beautiful, Tiki ?

TIKI. I have never seen her, Mee-Mee. But
in your eyes I find the reflection of her face !

MEE. Den when I shut dem, you no see her
at all ?

TIKI. Open them, Mee-Mee ! Open your eyes !
... Oh ! ... Mee-Mee !

[He surrenders himself utterly to her s^pell.
They embrace.

MEE. Tiki ... is you awake ?

TIKI. Yes ! Awake at last !

MEE. You been asleep for free years, eh ?
What have you been dreaming of, Tiki ?

TIKI. I was dreaming of you all the time !

MEE. Dat true ? Ah ! What Mee-Mee made
for ! De man dat mally me gleat artis' !

[As she clings to him, the song of the bridal


procession is heard approaching. They
start and listen.

STUDENTS [without].

Is the lily on the lake ?

Is the bride wide awake ?
Here 's a party come to take her home !

There 's a cosy bed to make,

There 's a rosy cake to bake,
And there 's honey, too, to take from the comb.

MEE. Now dey comin' fo' me !

TIKI. They shan't have you, Mee-Mee ! Quick,
let us go ! [Knocking is heard without.

MEE. No, no ... it too late now ! . . . Go,
hidee, Tiki, go hidee !

TIKI. In here ! [They run into pantry.

Enter STUDENTS and APPRENTICES, followed by
bearers with hooded palanquin, which is set
down, propped on stools, in the centre of the


Oh, who will go inside ?

Oh, who will bring the bride,
For the knot to be tied as it ought ?

Give a rat-tat-tat-tat-tat !

If she doesn't come for that,
Then the naughty little cat must be caught !
Phit ! Phat ! Miaow ! Phit ! Phat ! Miaow !
Then the naughty little cat must be caught !

NEW. Well, and which of all the blushing doors
is the right one ?

LIL. That 's the one !


HITI. Tee -Pee, you and I are the adopted rela-
tives : we 've got to defend it !

[Takes up attitude of defence before door.
HITI. Scarecrows avaunt !

I say ye shan't
Intrude ! It 's rude

And most improper !
TEE. Robbers, beware !

This damsel fair
Who steals by heels

He comes a cropper.
[Plants his foot in LI-LONG'S stomach

and floors him.

1 2 4

Online LibraryLaurence HousmanThe Chinese lantern → online text (page 4 of 5)