Transcriber's Note: As far as possible, I have followed the layout of the original book, which is somewhat irregular... (T. N. cont. at end of book). ————————————————————-
"A COMEDY OF ERRORS"
"SIR WINDBAG CONSULTS COUNT LUIE," "AN IMAGINARY OFFICIAL CONSULTATION," "A DEMOCRATIC WAKE," "A COUNCIL OF WAR" AND "A SOLEMN CONCLAVE"
E. J. HABERER, PUBLISHER. 1914
As many were not able to secure all the Acts of "A Comedy of Errors" owing to the editions having been exhausted, and as numerous friends have expressed a desire to secure it entire, the author has concluded to publish it, supplemented by four more recent compositions.
With malice towards none and charity to all, this modest booklet is launched on the uncertain sea of literature.
Manila, November 15th, 1914.
A COMEDY OF ERRORS
* * * * *
Caesar . . . Ruler of the State. Francos . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox . . . Resident Delegate from the Province. Page.
Scene: Throne Room at the Capitol
Caesar: Most noble Francos, I greet thee heartily. A function truly noble falls within thy grasp; And thou wilt with it deal as only sages can. The distant Isles are now crushed by the pow'r Of ruthless tyrants, who on plunder bent, Oppress a helpless, but a worthy race, Which groans beneath a yoke of foreign make, And hence it fitteth not the sable necks On which it now, relentless, firmly rests. 'Tis well, we know, how, filled with visions vain, Our predecessor sought to stuff those minds With mental food fit only for those born To skins of whiter tint, and hence with grasp Of firmer structure, built by kindly Time, Who fashioned us in more ennobled mold; While power divine to cap the climax grand, With hand so deft, gave it its final touch. These men with vision faint who planned so vain Knew not the knightly thought bred in the south. The north winds chill and stunt the subtle power Which flourishes alone 'neath southern skies, To read unerring from the page of truth That God has fashioned some to mount aloft, While others grovel on a lower plane. Hence we must cherish ever in our hearts, The thought that pigment marks the subtle line; And so throw off a burden on us laid By those who blindly cast their shoulders down, To bear a load which deep ingratitude Alone will be the recompense for all our pains. Francos: My liege, I grasp the thought: a burden dark, Which now each year a golden tribute calls, Must be disposed of quickly, but so sly That watching nations may not fling a slur Upon our honor as we cast adrift This alien race to face the world alone. Caesar: Sweet Francos, truly thou hast quick discerned The thought which wisdom fathered in my mind. "Be wise as serpent, harmless as the dove," Should be our watchword as we scuttle ship, For there be those who speak with venomed tongues Of serpents, as we cast them helpless off. But if we of politicos make use, And to their clamour lend approving smile, We may while coolly thrusting them aside, Meet with the thoughtless world's approving nod. Francos: Ha! Ha! methinks I see my path made clear 'Twere wise to fellowship with only those Who, longing for the flesh pots, lend their aid To further us in this our deep design. Caesar: Hold! Francos, hold! The very walls have ears. Suspicion once aroused our game is up In silence let our worthy scheme mature; An utterance unwise may spell defeat. Francos: Most noble Caesar, thou at wisdom's fount Hast drunk until the fountain hath run dry. I ready stand to follow each command Ignoring every judgment of mine own. Caesar: When I before the gods did minister, I learned that strategy cured many ills; And when Parnassus high I made my throne, I found it well to wield an iron hand. And now to work our pleasure in these Isles, 'Twere best to blend these methods in our scheme, Whilst thou with honeyed tongue shall words employ The callow forum shall my will obey. But silence! put a padlock on thy tongue; A word unspoken never worketh harm. While he who babbles layeth down his shield, And thus an enemy may work his death. Francos: Mine ears are open to thine every word, Would that they could but hear in distant Isles; For when I beard the lion in his den, Thy potent thoughts were then a healing balm. Caesar: Thou sayest well, Francos, but lend an ear; Avoid our enemies; they counsel ill. (To Page) But, page, entreat sweet Quezox to attend While we in converse measure every act. Enter Quezox: Most honored sire, I come at thy command, And wait your pleasure; if by any means My words, convincing, can this matter solve: The land that bore me bids me loud proclaim. So we consider wisely, let us call The Commoner, whose wisdom is renowned. That he may with us weigh each tangled point, And thus make our solution doubly sure. Caesar: Sweet Quezox, caution is a precious thing. And while 'tis known that council oft is wise, Yet it were better Wilhelm were left out For he hath visions which from tender plants To forest monarchs grow, with roots so deep Emplanted in the soil, that naught can stir. Beside, financial ills have him beset, And he now eager, filthy lucre seeks. Francos: Most honored sire, I would from Quezox learn What stern encounters I must early meet. He from the first did see the canker grow And hath a remedy, methinks, conceived. Caesar: Speak, Quezox, speak! and free thy surging mind. For well I know abuses rankle there. Our enemies politic, firm entrenched, Have borne with heavy hand upon thy race. Quezox: Ah noble sire, how well thy mind conceives The ills which bear my hapless people down. Much learning fits thee for the ruler's seat And keen discernment flashes from thine eye. There pigmies move within a circle charmed And fatten on rich spoils with cruel glee. They force their alien ways with tyrant hands Upon my people; and with cold disdain Refuse our council, when 'twere meet and wise. I beg thee, cast them out, both root and branch And clean official nests from grafty filth. Our patriots, able, then can claim their own And on the ruins build a blissful state. Caesar: Most noble Quezox, thou hast touched the sore. In Francos thou wilt find a helping hand, Council him wise for he the subtle wiles Of crafty scheming men may not discern. Quezox: Ah, noble sir, if I advice may breathe, It were to shun the brood of vultures well. They're skilled indeed to sing the siren's song, And play with flattery on honest minds. I feel 'twere well to journey to these Isles In company with Francos, at thy will, Thus guarding him from every idle tongue, Which might make impress on an open heart. Caesar: Sweet Quezox, thou art wise, it shall be done. And as you journey, meditate and plan To lop off every head that blocks thy way, Or lacks in sympathy for thy great work. For Francos hath been trained for civic life Where virtue reigns and intrigue hath no place. But with thine aid and to guide a fearless soul, And Tammany his pattern, all were well. Francos: Great Caesar, trust me well; I smell the rot that distance cannot smother, and will clean The halls of state, and there implant true men. Caesar: And silence! speak nor write not idle words, For they are often swords which cleave the soul; When enemies who wield a cunning hand Shall thrust them back, and laugh in gleeful scorn. E'en I regret what in an idle hour, I thoughtless paged regarding freedom's gift. And now they sting me, sting me to the soul. Oh that I ne'er had penned such childish thoughts! Hence hold thy tongue or honeyed words proclaim Which may mean little or perchance mean much. And now farewell, and hie thee on thy way: Again I say a padlock on thy tongue. Quezox and Francos moving backward, and making obeisances. Adieu, most noble Caesar, since the time When Washington first donned the regal crown. We'll smoke the woodchucks out and tan their hides And parchment make, on which, in words of gold, Shall be inscribed, so all the world may read: "Saturnine pleasure it to us doth give, To see them walk the plank from scuttled ship." Caesar: Ha Ha! but speak it not aloud, until 'tis done. Both: Whist! whist as mice! We'll oil the guillotine. Exeunt both while Caesar washes his hands with invisible soap.
Francos . . . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox . . . . Resident Delegate of the Province. Seldonskip: . . Secretary to the Governor General. Capt of the Ship:
Scene: On shipboard
(Quezox, slowly walking the deck, soliloquizes.)
I feel a mighty task doth bear me down. When distance held the burden in its hand, It seemed, that, like a vessel on the stock, 'Twould easy, when the holding blocks were moved, Slip gently down into the sea of states; But now that nearness stares me in the face, Wearing prophetic grin, methinks, I see Deep obstacles which bar the slippery ways, On which the ship must glide to waters deep. A ship to safely sail in troubled seas, Must boast a captain skilled in wat'ry lore. But he were helpless, if the vessel's crew Have not the cunning which of years is born. Alas, from out the black and threat'ning sky, One star alone of all the eyes of Night Doth faintly pierce the gloom and light our way To safe solution of the knotty point. If but the Captain wear a stately mien And walketh deck with slow and kingly tread, Lieutenants skilled, by filthy lucre bribed, May box the compass and so save the ship. But who shall Captain be? Ah there's the rub. There many be who fain would walk the deck, Though he who bears the burdens of day Forsooth should then be decked with laurel crown. But there be schemers, working in the dark, Who ready stand to grasp the hanging fruit While he who plants and watereth the tree With itching jaws may ne'er its fruitage taste. Caesar hath said that Francos aid will lend, To further us in working our designs, And yet fear whispers to mine anxious mind Honor hath made his soul its dwelling place. Hence "graft," even to aid his upward climb To higher honors, findeth not his ear. As he hath gold, methinks the chink of coin Charmeth him not; belike 'twould poorer men. As skilled musician fingereth the harp, So must I play upon his prejudice, Which finds no virtue in politic foes, And thus shall shrewdness do its perfect work. But Seldonskip? I love this hombre not. He looketh on our race with proud disdain, Hence I with poison must sour Francos' mind, That he but vileness in this boor shall see. Some men, I ween, would tread in virtue's path, Unless strong passion, born of love intense, Should goad them to stretch out a greedy hand, And grasp from beauty's bough forbidden fruit. For lechery, like plaster o'er the walls, They have no tolerance within their souls: But there are those who will stalk any game. Nor like myself, do they beauty demand. If matters not if but the figure wears Garb feminine, they'll ready take the scent, And like to well trained hounds leave not the trail Until the quarry is at length run down. And this I must apply to Francos' ear, Thus breeding deep contempt, clothed with distrust, For him who puketh up a sour disdain, From stomach filled with racial prejudice, That shall his downfall speed, helped by the spleen, Which pampered youth, fed with a golden spoon, Must ever show, whene'er its will is crossed. And thus will I proceed to "cook his goose," Until the flesh shall cleave from off its bones. But as it seemeth to my anxious mind, I read uncertainty in Francos' eye, "The welfare of thy people" once he voiced, Such words make music not unto mine ear. (Disdainfully) "Thy people!" So it is that Francos speaks. Ah! little do the workings of his mind Discern that we who seek the pow'r to rule Feel not the Tao blood coursing our veins. For it by stain Caucasian is submerged; Still, we a ladder make of sable backs, To climb aloft into the chairs of state. Exampling thus: "The fittest must survive". A narrow man, though cast in honest mould, May mischief work, while conscience wears a smile. To Francos' I would dare not ope my heart, So I must feel my way with catlike tread, And strive with minor things to stuff him full, So points of import shall his mind escape.
Francos (drawing near):
I bid thee happy morn, illustrious friend; A morn portending a most perfect day.
'Tis thus our morn politic brightly breaks But storms, by Jove engendered, may e'er Night Enfolds her sable mantle for repose, Wither the budding dreams that fill our breasts, And deep within the cave of darkness cast Ambitions holy which now swell to burst.
Good Quezox, why dost thou so deep despond? Methinks the future wears a gladsome smile, The children of thy race now spy a star Which like to that of Bethlehem may lead Them in the future to a state of bliss.
Quezox: Ah, noble sire, mayhap our children may, But what of us who years have now attained?
Francos: Ah, Quezox, I did only figure use. Well dost thou know it rests upon their deeds; But demonstrate their worth and all were well, And then we'll speed us to our native land. Quezox: But, noble Francos, we now wend our way To meet the vermin which do suck our blood, And they with tongues which serpent-like can charm May fool thee with their tales of dire intent. Francos: (striking his breast): Fear not, they soon shall feel how vain it were To seek to trick one who, in halls of state, Hath met the wiles of shrewd, self-seeking men, But to ward off attack with virtue's shield. Captain and Seldonskip approach. Captain: Most noble potentate, as I my rounds Of observation make, it pleasures me Most mightily, to make obeisance to The one so honored by his native land. As captain of a vessel may be judged By those subordinate to his command, So do I quick conception of thee form. By the broad mental gifts of Seldonskip Who were the hose, through which thy mind doth squirt Most sapient thought, for mankind's betterment. Seldonskip: You bet his wisdom squirts until I feel As if my think tank were about to bust. Francos: Good captain, greatly hast thou honored me And from such worthy source, I doubly feel The compliment were born from honor's womb; Anon, with thee would I more converse hold. (Captain and Seldonskip move off.) Francos to Quezox: Good Quezox, this young squirt doth raise my bile, I fear some contretemps his tongue may raise. Quezox: Most noble sire, this youth hath long been bred, To gentle food which fits him ill to wage. Against his passions all sufficient strife, I fear lest close relation works you ill.
Francos: Alas 'tis true that soft environments, Take hold upon the child and grip him fast. Quezox: And yet if seeds of manhood there inhere 'Twere time for them to sprout and outward shoot. (Earnestly) I like not tattling tongues yet I must voice, A matter which hath cut me to the quick: On yester morn, I in sweet converse joined, With one who wears angelic form divine, When this presuming fop with jeering eye, Made bold to amble, with convenient ear. Till we, forsooth, were forced to silence woo. But let us turn awhile to pleasant thoughts. What has been fashioned for the glorious day When we shall thrust our journey in the past And meet rejoicing thousands at the pier? (Seldonskip approaches speaks) Well, Governor, thy message hath on wings Of lightning sped its hurried way, and now Methinks the anxious throng which fears the ax, Will hustle mightily for stovepipe hats To fit surmount their trembling heads, and so Make happy pair with coat of Tam'ny cut.
Francos: Ha! Well 'twere done; but art thou doubly sure That careless word of wrong import hath not Enwoofed itself within this note of state? Seldonskip: You bet your life, the thing is all O. K.
Francos: But, my good friend, what hast thou in thine hand? (Laughingly) Is it design of some sweet maiden fair? (Looks at the picture and discovers Bryan) Ha! Ha! I see, 'tis he who wrecked our choice. This Commoner hath but a shallow mind Which like a windmill moves a lively tongue. (Seldonskip moves off, replacing the picture close to his breast, muttering) My fighting cock, you're crowing mighty loud, But Bryan holds old Wilson in his hand. (Francos and Quezox walk the deck) Quezox: Most noble sire, I marvel at the speech Which from the mouth of Seldonskip doth flow; For highest office, he no rev'rence feels And "slang" were but fit outflow of his mind. Francos: 'Tis ever thus with those born to great wealth It swells them up and whale like they do spout. But gold hath pow'r and it were well indeed Not to seek combat with a foe so stout. 'Twere best to pass their idle blust'ring by For it doth vanish like the dew at morn. Quezox: It vomits me to gulp the morsel down Yet I thy hint, subservient, will obey. (Aside) (But wisdom whispers keep thy bolo sharp And his fifth rib, perchance, may feel its prick.) Francos: But Quezox, let us in the future delve, For time doth swiftly waft us to our port. Where I must Caesar's message loud proclaim And my strong obligation to you voice. Our noble functions must be so performed, That happy impress graves the rabble mind But thus to meet these vultures with a smile Doth like a colic make mine honor gripe, Machiavelian methods were in sooth The better physic for the patients' needs And I like good physician must the probe Thrust in and sound the ugly, gaping wound. Quezox: Most noble sire, if I may caution speak It were to all this filthy, croaking brood Ne'er lend an open ear, for in it they Will honey-coated poison quick distil. Francos: Trust me, good Quezox, I to every thrust, Of treach'rous blade, will offer ample shield. Methinks I'll place them on the waiting rack And while I promises sweet-coated make, Will gently turn the screw until their bones Do crack. And then to happy period make, The ax shall deftly lop some waiting head, With touch most skilful, mellowed by a smile. Quezox: And, noble sire, I pray thee hasten not But let it pleasure thee to so proceed That dire suspense may make the waiting wretch More keenly feel the act of justice stern. Sweet to my soul 'twill be to walk the street And meet prospective victims ere they fall. The secret, while a tonic to my soul, Prepays me mightily for past neglect. Francos: But Ha! The port is nigh and we must hie (The City in the distance) Us to our cabins to enrobe with coats Of Tam'ny cut, and silken stovepipe hats— (Anxiously) But, Quezox, tell me, shall we be beset By bugs and fleas and snakes and creeping things? And microbes? Are they floating in the air So that in speech I'll dare not ope my mouth? Seldonskip (aside) O, shucks! I should worry! Quezox: Most puissant Sir, dread not the microbes! A charm, ecclesiastical, well blessed, Will ward them off; but what befears me most Is vermin which infest the offices. (Seldonskip wearing a plug hat, walks slowly along leering at Quezox). (Speaks) Oh Rats! Rats!! and then again more Rats!!!
Caesar: . . . . . . Ruler of the State. Francos: . . . . . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox: . . . . . . Resident Delegate from the Province. Seldonskip: . . . . Secretary to the Governor General.
Scene I. Throne Room at the Capitol.
'Tis done! The die indeed is safely cast. And Wisdom smiles, while seated on her throne. 'Twere well to kill two birds with one shrewd fling Of fortune's stone, and thus from grievous ills Which close enwrapped by robes of custom, are Work freedom from the threats of cruel fate. Francos, whose mental woof is frail indeed, Stood for promotion to important post. Which might embarrass all the wheels of state, And so 'twere well within his itching hand To place commission for those distant Isles Where mild efficiency can work no harm. 'Tis strange that Francos in the halls of state So long hath squatted, in a chair too big, But still much gold can smooth a thorny path And work discovery of hidden worth. With modest mental gifts, but gentle mien He ill is fitted for promotion here. But it were matter of but little weight With Quezox as a mentor at his side, What he shall fashion in his pigmy state, For squirt from wisdom's fount can quench each flame. But Quezox? Can I trust this sable knight? He speaketh soft, but lurking in each smile Methinks I spy a double meaning there. 'Twere well to bring Dame Caution to the front And hold this fellow, as he runs, in leash; For he, while fat with wisdom, may of guile Be deeply feeding, and from stomach weak May spew deep discord when we least expect. I have it! well 'tis known that Wisdom's bird, While winging daily flight, hath hovered o'er Our foes politic, and hath often shunned To make her nest in Democratic boughs. 'Twere well to seek from out the tricky foe One who shall balance, like the flying wheel, The various acts of Francos and his crew And so most shrewdly curb the critic tongues That wag within the jaws of foes most keen, Thus hiding well, from all the thoughtless world. The deep intent which labors in our breast. And which in time shall like the bird encased By brittle shell, break forth and fly aloft, Singing to startled worlds sweet freedom's song. But woe is me! My mem'ry playeth false, For he of ponderous girth, in Island home Seeketh to grow more fat on public swill. And he presumeth, justly too, on what His silver tongue did work to boost me on. But still, lean men are best for action keen, For too much fatness burdeneth the mind And speaks in trumpet tones of strong desire For pleasures, and mayhap for cards and wine. And so 'twere best to know this Falstaff not For pow'r politic ne'er can from his hand Against me work dire mischief, for his tongue Is locked securely by our party key. But I must call the lightning to mine aid, And order him who now bemoans his fate, To scan the bailiwick for pots and pans, That Francos no discomfort may incur. For he so long in Fate's kind lap hath lain, That he must ill be fitted to his task Unless luxurious easements smooth his way And jars discomforting wring not his soul.
Scene 2. Ship on the Ocean.
Quezox and Francos walking the deck.
Quezox: Most worthy Francos, so my mind hath cast A heavy load aside, and eager now, with hope, I long to meet the foe in combat fierce And pierce the varied joints his armor boasts. Francos: Sweet Quezox, hold! Methinks I read thy mind, Revenge is sweeter than the honeycomb. But let it not take mastery so strong That Reason totters on her wabbly throne. I fear me there are lions in the way, And we must not in open battle wage; But let our minds deep strategy conceive And thus achieve what otherwise might fail. Quezox: Most trenchant Francos, how thy words do prick; I fear unjust suspicion rears its head, For it is not the nature of our race To open deal, when stealth can compass well The object which our surging souls shall seek; For practice which necessity hath caused Hath built a cunning it were hard to meet; But when, impatient of long smould'ring wrongs, We open take the bolo in our hands, With bellies yearning for the blood of those Who long have winked a proud disdainful eye Beware! I say, beware! for mercy then is dead. Francos: But Quezox, hold! Water thy burning thoughts. 'Twere well to bridle firm such wordy steed, For mayhap there be one with list'ning ear, Who wide would publish what were worthy thoughts; But which should covered be by mantle wise, Until time furnisheth the proper hour, To tongue them into words with cautious garb So they shall mellow sound a fiery thought. Quezox: Thy mind, sweet Francos, pregnant is, with thought, And well I ween, thou Caesar's words hast weighed. But patience is a burden hard to bear And oft it galls the back on which 'tis placed. Francos: But Quezox, listen. Speed thy mind beyond The present passing hour, and wise reflect That like a blanket on the jackass spread, Patience can guard against the chafing wound. Quezox: Ah, Francos, well I know that wisdom bears With weight of mountains on my retching soul. But I will set my shoulders like the gods, And bear the load as Atlas doth the skies. Francos: But, Quezox, I am filled with anxious thoughts Anent sweet Seldonskip, whose wandering eye Doth lecherous look upon each passing dame. The fire of youth that wanders through his veins May scandal breed, and it were well to look With watchful eye upon his every act Affairs of state with mighty import soar Above the intrigues of a callow youth, Hence we must owlish vigil constant keep And in good sooth, it might indeed be well To speak him fair, and warning subtle give Lest his distemper lead to grievous ill. Quezox: Alas I know the temptress doth beguile; Hence sympathy doth plead for helping hand. If 'tis thy wish, I in most guarded speech Will whisper caution in his youthful ear. Francos: 'Tis well. But still I fear me over much That he, like highly tempered steel, will bend Only to swift rebound, and further by Reaction go from paths of rectitude. (Seldonskip indolently approaches.) Seldonskip: Most noble gentlemen, I greet thee sweet: It tireth mightily, this placid sea. Methinks a storm, a mighty, raging storm, To break monotony would lend to life A phlegm, and hence a tedious day become More gladsome. Alack-a-day when I did leave Those gilded halls where beauty did indwell. On this good ship naught but uncertain age Measures those forms divine to which we kneel. (Seldonskip walks slowly on.) Quezox speaking to Francos. Most noble sire, in wonderment I pause. If I may query put, what mental rheum Did cause selection of such vacuous mind To fill a post requiring mental grasp? Francos: Good Quezox, surely I was misinformed. Full well; his sire, I dreamed, was made of clay Much finer than is wont within the mold, And so I eager seized his proffered aid. But keen regret doth fill my troubled soul And fears prophetic, to the future point. But, noble friend, we'll let the matter drop If it hath weight to fall, which much I doubt. Quezox: Ha! Ha! I see! he hath so little force, That gravitation with him worketh not! Francos: Now, noble Quezox, we must quick devise Some method to surmount the vicious laws Of civil service, which with shrewd design Purpose to keep those vultures in their nests, While others long denied official posts, Shall wander in the wilderness, and ne'er Set wary foot within the promised land. Quezox: Most worthy sire, when guile hath strong intrenched, Guile of a firmer mould, should countermatch, And beat the bulwarks down; 'twere easy done. In sooth so easy that no glory crowns The working of a scheme so patent to An eagle eye, which hath discernment keen. To unmake offices, were quickly done. To lower stipends till the hungry mouth Shall to the belly say: "We must go hence Or else we perish," were a shrewd device. 'Twere he who holds the money bags, must rule And we the golden sword hold in our grasp. Francos: Ah noble Quezox, thou hast clearly solved The riddle which hath cost me sleepless nights It shall be done. But who approacheth me? Quezox: Sire, heed him not! Let's to our state rooms hie. In truth methinks this man doth seek to spy, And it were wise indeed to guard each port. To pass an idle moment, it were well In converse to enjoin; but this man speaks Through eyes that warning give that he hath brains. Hence it were best to pass him idly by, And only mouth vain words with those who, dull, Can work no harm by mouthing what were said. (Quezox takes Francos by the arm and moves off muttering to himself) 'Tis thus I guard this weakling from the throng. And hold his foolish ear unto myself.
Francos: . . . . . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox: . . . . . . Resident Delegate of the Province. Seldonskip: . . . . Secretary of the Governor General. Commissioners Halstrom: . . . . . Aide to the Governor General.
Scene I. Garden of the Palace.
Francos (Soliloquizes): Methinks the poet of the past who scrolled "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown" Indeed were wise and kenned whereof he wrote. His keen imagination doth amaze And fill my mind with wonder at his full Discernment of the most unhappy lot Which great responsibility doth load Upon the shoulders of betroubled men Whom fate relentless hath before ordained To, like the pack-horse, patiently, each day, Upbear most galling burden, born of cares Which do encompass the affairs of state. When in the Nation's forum I did sit, Like to a minnow in a mighty pool, I did disport, and, nourishing no care, Found naught to mar the pleasures born each day. But now there looms before me mountain high Questions of mighty import to the state Which I must quickly and with wisdom solve Without the bell mare's chime to charm mine ear. On whose sound judgment dare I now rely? Whose honor, on grave issues, can I trust? Shall I use Quezox blindly as a staff On which to lean, as on my path I grope? Or shall I ope' mine ear to those entrenched Behind official desks, with knowledge armed And primed for combat, when I shall disclose The policy profound, by wisdom sired? Alas, I find that I must war with friends, Who seem enamored with the tricky foe, And by long contact they infected be By doctrines both heretical and vile. Of those who legal robbery do make A vehicle to stuff their bellies full I must beware; for it doth to me seem That long and double squinting at the law Impairs their moral sight for all but fees; Hence deep entanglements might be the goal To which their slimy tongues would shrewdly guide That from disturbance, they might profit reap. Alas, what to me seemed but pigmy state Now looms up mightily before mine eye, And like the feathered mother with her brood Must I my many cares each day enwing And from the circling hawk with hungry eye Protect and shelter, till mature, they grow. But this commission! We must shrewd select Such pliant men as will our pleasure work; For we ken not what yeast in working deep Within the inexperienced minds of those Foregath'ring soon to fashion laws to meet The pressing needs of our embarrassed state. I feel mayhap, that seeds of self were sown Within the willing hearts of those who long Have profit made at this poor State's expense; Which seeds have grown into a mighty tree That hides behind its fol'age justice sweet So deep within those shades that e'en the sun Of righteousness reveals its presence not. For such compassion's bowels ne'er should yearn, And yet mine eyes behold a handiwork Which were the offspring but of earnest zeal; Yet since example's perfect work is done, The pattern to oblivion's shades we'll cast. But I to mine uneasy couch will hie. The morrow's cares may feed upon their day!
Scene. Governor's office.
Francos: Good Halstrom, to my mind uncertainty Is but a mental sore, which cancer like, Doth spread its roots until the surgeon's knife With sharp incision shall the curse remove. So must I cross the Rubicon and strike The foe in parts most vulnerable. Caesar, from the deep cavern of his mind, Hath fashioned, with a statesman's ready hand, A plan which we must now inaugurate, Amid the cruel jeers of all who long Have watched the workings of the dark hued mind Excepting only such as office seek. Halstrom: My Liege, thy look doth seem to answer woo And my stern schooling bids me to obey, But it were act from gross presumption born To, from my lowly post, advice bestow. Enters Seldonskip: Well Gov'nor, standing just outside the door There are two chaps who loudly make the claim That they are sure expected at this hour To hobnob with you on some public stunt. Francos: Hold, Seldonskip! Thy tongue unruly wags Like to the shuttle on its weaving way To fashion fabric of but little worth 'Twere well to throttle it or else belike A pebble small, in gear of great machine Disaster grave may work to wheels of state.
Turns to Halstrom: Good Halstrom, quick I prithee do repair To outer chamber and with pleasant mien Escort these high officials with all state Unto our presence, when I will undo The mischief, by soft words clothed with a smile. (Enters Quezox: Speaks): Most honored Francos, I had closed mine ear But Seldonskip like to a jackass brayed And I perforce did catch his words distraught, Which seemed to fling an insult in thy face. And cast contempt upon our worthy sons. If concord sweet shall lend us helping hand I fear me much this yokel must go hence For he doth gag us with his silly tongue! Francos: Patience, good Quezox. Heed no idle word;
(Warningly) It falls upon thine ear, and then 'tis gone; 'Tis but a breath of air which into naught Doth vanish. Can'st thou, thy finger on it Put and say 'tis here? Alas, it like a Heavenly orb doth shoot its comet way An then twere gone. It was, but now 'tis not! Hence it were folly, "Nothing," to pursue. Quezox: They keen philosophy falls on mine ear Like music, as it trickles from thy brain; But still the wound remains which venomed tongue Hath deeply stung upon my memory. But thou hast said: an uttered thought is dead. Perhaps 'tis so, but in the human heart, There lingers long a mem'ry, blessed indeed, Of those preceding us to that long home Where, be it utter darkness which prevails, Or light supernal with celestial ray, Yet death hath not erased from mental scroll The image which th' Eternal painted there. (Enters Halstrom): The twain are gone, my Liege, but to the page They for manana did bespeak return. Francos: Tis well! Good gentlemen, my mind doth backward flit On wings of happy mem'ry to that hour When we, amid the plaudits of the hosts, Did well proclaim to all the happy words Which Caesar to expectant ears did send. My heart doth overflow, when I recall The ecstasy that spoke in thunder tones And like to period rhetorical Did ever punctuate each proper pause. Quick did I note in what well ordered ranks Our party friends did form before the stand. Quezox: But, noble Sire, methought I in each eye Discovered greedy looks which portend ill. (Enters Seldonskip) Unless their hungry hopes are satisfied By wellfilled bellies of official food. If this discernment doth not truth belie It points prophetic to a scramble sharp To wear the cast off shoes of those who now Do suck the life blood from our downtrod race. Seldonskip: You bet they'll scramble and they'll scramble hard, An why not tell me? 'Tis all in the game! (Francos to Seldonskip): Again that tongue, in thoughtless prattle wags. It seems that every opening of thy mouth, Doth point to utterance in words uncouth Which clothe some folly in a tattered garb. (Quezox to Francos): And yet most noble sire, my bowels of Discernment do fierce gripe me with the fear That in the rambling words this youth hath tongued Much bitter truth may deeply hidden be. Francos: Fear not! Caesar hath wise discerned that all Who long have on these Islands made their home Are blinded by self-interest, which doth, As colored glass speaks lies unto the eye, Befool their judgment; which may honest be. And hence 'twere better from abroad to bring More open minds to fill important posts For the brief time until we do depart And leave all matters in thy trusty hands Which will upbuild a strong, Yea! mighty state.
(Seldonskip aside): A mighty state! Ha! Ho! I think I see The natives jumping round from tree to tree Feeding on coconuts and dressed with old Plug hats and wearing coats of Tam'ny cut! Quezox: 'Twere well! Those vultures who among us dwell, While pleading loving friendship, shrewdly plan Like to the feathered tribes, to gather down (Walks out): From careless wings to feather their own nests. (Francos turning to Seldonskip): I must in candor voice my perturbed thoughts Anent the strained relation which doth seem To liken to a ship with cable taut Which surging waves are threat'ning quick to snap. Twixt thee and Quezox. Thou, mine eye doth speak, Art like dry powder, ready to ignite When Quezox looseth tongue which like a flint Doth spark the fuse to quick explosion work. Seldonskip: But on my life if he should touch the fuse He'd mighty quick know that there's "something doing." (Francos appealingly): O, Peace, sweet Peace, I pray thee to draw near And hover o'er me, lest I go distraught.
Francos . . . . . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox . . . . . . Resident Delegate of the Province. Bonset . . . . . . Secretary of the Governor. Halstrom . . . . . Aide to the Governor. Carpen . . . . . . Executive Secretary. Two Gentlemen. Delegation of Englishmen.
First Scene: Governor Office.
Francos: When, as we tread the varied path of life, Disaster dire demands a valued limb, We with the mood of Stoic bear the pain; While nagging tooth doth ever set us wild. 'Tis vain on deep philosophy to call When stinging gnats, unseen, do us assail; A warring instinct urges us to kill, And we delay not, till Dame Reason speaks. 'Twas but an automatic action of the mind When matter trivial late did rouse a phlegm Within my soul, which irritated sore, And on the instant I did stern resolve That, like the surgeon when an abscess ripe Action demands with operating knife, To sever bonds politic which did fast Within my family executive Hold Seldonskip and bid him hence to speed. But sometimes action swift doth breed regreet; An as I on the future cogitate, Methinks excuses which might satisfy Uninterested minds may weakly fail To ease paternal irritation, when Its offspring, bearing hence a varnished tale Of wrongs which from imagination's womb Were born and yet with specious sound do ring. Hence I must speedily with subtle skill Frame a dispatch which like to plaster kind May ease the irritation of the sore And thus mar not a happy intercourse. The mind of man can compass many things, But still, to reach perfection's dizzy height, It should be centered on some special point, Fathered by energy, to reach the goal. How can I soar, upheld by wings of hope, When various projects, all demanding skill, Before me loom, as do the clouds of night All threat'ning storm which well may wreck the craft Unless the captain calls unto his aid Lieutenants by long school of action trained To guard from danger's shoals which are unknown Except to those who long the chart have scanned? My predecessor who first ruled these Isles Did loud proclaim in optimistic tones The Philippines for Filipinos are, And so high expectations did arouse Which Time with all its mellowing pow'r did Dissapoint; and so at last Approval's Smile slowly did wane, and bitterest frown, Conceived from discontent, usurped its place. Alas! Am I to be the pliant tool To work a policy from chaos born? And on its failure, if perchance it fails, Will I too meet the cold and icy stare? Enter Halstrom; speaks: My Liege, thy self-communion I would halt And usher to thy presence men of weight Who would discourse upon some pregnant facts Which may perchance to thee be quite unknown. Francos: Good Halstrom, tell me of their every mien. (anxiously) Didst thou in judgment fair, within their eyes Spy greedy look as if on plunder bent? If so, 'twere best preoccupation plead. Halstrom: I think, my Liege, 'twere safe to give them ear So that offense may rankle not their minds. Francos: Ha, thinkst thou so? Then hail them to my court. But stay! Wisdom doth hint that in each ear A caution should be breathed that concise speech Were best, for pressing matters constant urge. Halstrom: Thy words are uttered but to be obeyed. That time is precious I will firm impart. (Retires and ushers the visitors in.) Most honored Sire, these gentlement would speak On matters of great import to the state. Francos: Welcome, sweet Gentlement, I greet thee well, And wait the import of the words ye bring. I beg thee speedily the burden ease From off thy overladen minds, that we May then in converse wise consider well The various phases of a matter new. Gentleman: Your Honor!—Please excuse the term, as I From pleading long before the bar have thus Familiar with this title grown, and so From 'tween my lips the word did careless slip. Francos (earnestly): But honored Sir, I fain would ask what bar It wast before which thou didst earnest plead? Gentlemen: Ha! Ha! Methinks a subtle humor finds Its home within the mind of him who rules. But in all truth the point were taken well, For Caesar, rumor saith, disdains the cup Which doth inebriate and thus befool The mind of him who at it tarries long. But Sire, the business which doth urge us here Is of great import to our party's needs. Francos: I pray thee, hasten to the point, for time Hath wings that bear us swiftly on. Gentleman: Most noble Governor, I sore lament That from our noble South there be men here Who have deep sympathy for these, who in The past have fattened at the public crib, And find no sympathy for Caesar's plan To mould this commonwealth on model grand Perfected by the chivalry front which Both he and thou didst draw sweet childhood's milk. These men did quick condone the ev'ry act Which emanated from the Northern mind. Yearly were millions spent on bootless task Of feeding vacant minds on useless food Because unfitted to their various needs. "A little knowledge is a dang'rous thing" And doth unfit the plodding mass for toil, Which is their proper sphere; hence ev'ry thought Hard thrust within their skulls doth discontent Engender, and thus far stability Doth threathen for the ruling class, and so As in our "Sunny South" the specter grins Prophetic of grave danger to the State. Francos: The plea doth fall on sympathetic ears. Yet Caesar counseled in his parting words That discord here among our party friends Would breed distemper if 'twere not ignored. Both Gentlemen, despondingly: Alas! 'Tis so, that we who burdens bore Are thrust aside when vict'ry crowns our work And renegades are placed on equal terms With loyal sons who ne'er a duty shirked. (Exeunt Gentlemen). Francos: Ah! so it is. Each entity is filled With selfish impulse which doth ever hide Justice eternal from its clouded sight And pigmy self exalt to giant form. Bonset: But Sire, it were the common lot of man To seek preferment; and unless he doth, No other will lift hand to boost him on, Unless great wealth doth like a magnet draw Support from those who with a greedy eye Expect to feel most happy contact with The shining coin, which doth a lever prove To pry success from out the voting mob. Francos: But Bonset, see'st thou not that native worth And mental parts may overtower the gold And thus perforce attract attention from The ones who guide their party to success? (Bonset doublingly) Perhaps, my Liege. But in the outer hall A deputation waits to greeting give And tokens of respectful homage show On the behalf of Briton's col'ny here. (Enter Quezox) Francos: But Bonset, list! 'Twere well to let them wait: To quick respond will lower dignity. The British mind doth breed a rev'rence deep For form and etiquette which swift cognition Might debase, and thus we on their mental Vision might mayhap but feeble impress Make as envoys by most noble Caesar sent To rule these Isles with gravity and state. Quezox: Most noble Sire! If I might but suggest, 'Twere well for Bonset to inquire each name And mental picture stamp upon his mind That he may fluent be when he presents Each sev'ral person as he shall proceed To pass before thee and his greeting voice, And when the proper waiting hath an end, I will speed forth and beck the conclave in. Francos: 'Tis well! And in the intervining time 'Twere wise important matters to discuss. (Enter Carpen) Ha! Carpen, thou hast long experience had In dealings intricate with this proud race, And thee alone from out the anchored host I trust to honest voice conditions here. Carpen: Sire! dost thou seek a true, unvarnished tale, Or rather wouldst a colored picture please? Francos: Truth is so hidden in her various garbs That nakedness alone presents her fair; Hence ornament and furbelow disdain, And Hebe-like unbedecked let her stand forth. Carpen: It were indeed a most stupendous mind Which, as the argonaut with mining pan Doth sift pure gold from ever present dross, Can Truth unmesh from Error's well spread net. Conditions intricate with taunting smile Of Fate's stern irony, have faced us here; But now the seething problem must be solved And vague uncertainty be swept aside. Shall the mestizos, as the ruling class, Be firm entrenched by our assisting hand, Or must we in the well marked path still tread And longer bear our burden which will bring No gratitude to recompense our pains? Quezox: Sire! Carpen well hath voiced mine ev'ry thought, We, who Caucasian blood boast in our veins Are numerous, and can uphold the state. The pure-blood Filipinos to us look For guidance and our ev'ry counsel take. To wait until the tao fills his skull With book lore were to see us in our graves And millions burden on thy native land. But Sire, I feel that time enow has flown To proper impress make on waiting minds. Hence it were well to bid them entrance speed That they may grave obeisance to thee make. (Exit Quezox)
Second Scene: Outer Room, where the deputation waits.
Bonset: Good Gentlemen, a business of import Doth now engross His Highness, but forsooth When it is properly dispatched, he word Will by the mouth of Quezox speedy send. An English gentleman (brusquely). But sir, no business enterprise hath brought Us here, and if His Highness careth not To give us audience, why we'll depart! Bonset: Tut, tut, Good friend Quezox will soon appear. (The Gentlemen uneasily pace the room and whisper) Enter Quezox: Sweet Gentlemen, His Highness bid me hail You to his presence, there to converse join. (All look at Quezox, disgusted) Bonset: Fall in! Fall in! and form a proper line (abruptly) While Quezox doth precede us as we go! 1st Gentleman (indignant) Fall in! What doth such words portend? Are we but jail birds who at keeper's call Move into line, and then with lockstep march To face a judge who may us sentence give? (Puts up his hands) I say, my friends, put up your "dukes" and I will show How Englishmen resent an insult gross. (Friends interefere to prevent blows.) Quezox: Hold! Hold! my friends, sweet Bonset means no ill, 'Twere only lack of polish in his speech. We Spaniards sweetly phrase our ev'ry word E'en when we prick one sharply in the ribs. 1st Gentleman (excitedly) Well, who is this, with dignity enrobed Who like a fighting cock doth bravely strut? 2nd Gentleman (whispers) Whist, little friend, this is the mighty Quezox, Who doth within his hand hold destiny. Twere best for business purposes to yield Apparent homage, though we him disdain. 1st Gentleman (turns to Quezox) Ho! Ho! I did a mistake serious make In expectation that a mind so great Would find its home within a form most grand, But like mine own it chose a cottage small. Bonset: Well, Gentlemen, so you like not the line, Proceed to scramble in at your sweet will.
All speak: A trifling discord doth like sauce in soup Make betterment. Hence we my now declaim, In happy vein: "All's well that endeth well."
Francos . . . . . . Governor General of a Province. Quezox . . . . . . Resident Delegate from the Province. Halstrom . . . . . Aide to the Governor. Carpen . . . . . . Executive Secretary. Filipino Gentlemen. Muchacho.
Scene I: A garden.
Quezox sits in an arbor with lute in hand; sings.
My lute doth troll the longings of my heart; Deep-rooted there Are forms so fair Whose mem'ry of my life doth form a part.
But like the knights of old, when action calls, My Lady fair, With raven hair, Must be forgot till lovelit twilight falls.
But then those forms angelic in each line, With happy smile Which doth beguile, Appear before me, whisp'ring love divine.
Quezox soliloquizes: But Venus, though enwrapped by passion's robe, Like mortals, tires and seeks her restful bow'r, While duties stern demanding thought profound So that the morrow's needs were ably met, Shall for the nonce supplant within my mind All dreams of those who, fairy-like, do waft Themselves unbidden to my mental home Unless most firm resolve doth bar them hence. But at the throne of Wisdom I must kneel And suppliant pray for light to guide my steps For there be deep entanglements to snare My feet, if circumspection aids me not. This Carpen hath a sleek and subtle mind Full well equipped for all stern duty's calls; Hence we who seek to tread in Freedom's path Find him a stumbling block to be removed. But we with clever strategy must work And hide our deep design in honey'd words, For he hath wisely kept his lips well sealed, Thus leaving us without just cause for plaint, Methinks 'tis hard to gauge this gentleman, For silence wise is oft misunderstood; Behind it Wisdom, hidden, may abide, Of Folly it may make her secret home. Of import weighty is the post he holds, But from it we must shrewdly pry him out, For he may Francos slyly misinform And so delay fruition of our hopes. (Claps his hands; enter muchacho.) Muchacho: What wouldst thou, sir; mine ears did hear the call, So quick I haste with "Scotch and soda" primed. Quezox: Go to, thou vermin, that shouldst dare presume To quick determine what shall quench my thirst. Hast thou not heard that vintage of the vine Since Caesar hath th' imperial crown assumed Is now become the only proper draught For those who in his favor high would stand? Hence "grape juice" bring, and speed thee, or the back Shall feel the stripes thy varlet hide demands. Muchacho: I beg, Senor, my feeble speech be heard: Methought that "grape juice" were a childish pap, But I will bring it and an orangeade, Thus heaping honors on two noble men. (Exit muchacho) Quezox: But thought hath strayed like an unbridled steed, And I must harness it to work my will. This Bonset: Francos seems to love him well And may him thrust in Carpen's cast-off shoes; My bowels gripe me with suspicion dire That plans are rip'ning to this very end; Hence we must pour in an unwilling ear A weighty protest ere the scheme matures. An open opposition were not wise For Francos hath, I ween a stubborn streak Which might by irritation grow so big That naught could move it; while a flatt'ring tongue Might bend him, all unconscious to himself, To work our every will, while he doth dream That from his fertile brain the seeds do sprout; 'Tis thus we'll plant our choice in Carpen's place.
Muchacho (bearing grape juice and cigarettes approaches; speaks):
Senor, an hombre at the portal knocks Who hath an oily tongue, which wagged desire To speack with thee, but I all unawere Of thy design, did ward him gently off. Quezox: 'Twere well, thus ever do when skins are white. But did this hombre show a mighty girth? Muchacho: In sooth he did, Senor; his leg like to A python gorged with infant carabao Did to his body make comparison. Quezox: Ha! bid him hence. I know this hombre well! Go twist thy tongue into a double knot So that his importuning I escape.
The sacred writ doth tell of one who sat Upon the judgment seat to justice serve, And when a widow's importuning sore Did him annoy, to ease his troubled mind, He listened to her tale and justice gave, Fearing her sighs and tears, else ne'er would cease. Hence I must close mine ear lest eager plaints Should move my tender heart to grant his plea. (Enter muchacho, speacks:) Most noble Senor, at the door do stand Three gentlemen whose color doth demand Cognition, hence I bade them patient wait While I acquaint thee of their anxious quest. Quezox: Thou sayest well; go bid them enter here, And then refreshments serve, at my command. Muchacho: Si, Senor, si; I grape juice will prepare, Quezox: Hold! These are men with red blood in their veins, Hence wine were fitting bev'rage for their needs, With cigarettes and black cigars galore, For we may lengthen speech till morning's sun Shall bid the anxious night give place to day. (Enter Gentlemen) Quezox (with outstretched hands): Senores, ye I greet! All that is here is yours. 'Tis said the walls have ears, hence it were wise To make this trellised bow'r our council house. For here no spy can crouch behind a screen And through his ears store up our treasured thoughts. But let us to the point, which magnet-like Did so resistless draw thee to this place To problem solve which doth much thought require. 1st Gentleman: Good Quezox, tell us, doth our plan seem ripe? And can we trust this Governor to do Our will, when Carpen shall be ousted from The nest in which he snuggles restfully? 2d Gentleman: The question were most apt, for we would name Him who shall hold the secrets of the state. 3d Gentleman: And sanitation! Should we not declare For one of our own blood, whose sympathy Doth bind him to our customs which we love And so uproot the follies of the past? Quezox: Senores, we as serpents must be wise. To quick reveal all hidden in our hearts Would long delay the time of which we dream; Hence we must center now on Carpen's case Our every energy and clear the path Of one who ever wields a mighty pow'r, And his fat place on one we trust, bestow, For thus we breach shall make within the wall. To speak of sanitation were unwise For Francos, in his heart, a mighty dread Doth feel, lest microbes in his castle hide; And so distempers of most deadly forms Engender; and great trust doth he repose In squirting medications through a hose So that these bugbears find no resting place, To propagate their kinds within his home. 1st Gentleman: But Quezox, this Governor hath Bonset Chosen, I do fear, to fill the place When Carpen doth step out, and all our plans May come to naught unless we sharp protest. 2d Gentleman: Mayhap 'twere best to earnest recommend Carpen and Bonset each for some fat berth Which carries not such import in its wake, Till time the opportunity may give To toss them overboard and clear the ship. Quezox (Claps his hands and the muchacho appears); Haste! For the inner man refreshments bring, For vino and cigars may clear our minds. (Exit muchacho) Reflectively: My firm insistence did one cancer cure But when my mem'ry speaks of vandal hand Which once did throttle me in vulgar strife My vitals gripe me with a righteous wrath. I did presume that Seldonskip would feel A proper rev'rence for officials high, And fear on God's anointed, to bestow A mighty kick upon his nether parts But these Americanos know not fear And each one feels himself, belike, a king, Hence it were wise, by strategy and guile To circumvent them not by open strife. Ah, so it is: the Filipino gentleman, Unlike the boor, disdains to war with fists; But place a keen-edged bolo in his hand And he comports himself most gallantly. 3d Gentleman: We must with wisdom guard our every act Lest a suspicion dark fill Francos' mind. Thus far, he like a well trained nino, hath With rev'rence bowed assent, to our demands. (Muchacho returns with refreshments) Quezox: And flattery. Like child its mother's milk, He doth gulp down and eager cry for more; Hence dose him well; you'll puke his stomach not. But let's to bed, the morrow brings its cares, And we must freshened be to work our ends. (Exeunt omnes)
Scene 2: The Executive Room
Francos: Well gentlemen, I see insistence grows Anent the humble office Carpen holds. It seemeth to me that without his aid I like a desert wanderer am lost. Quezox: But Sire, a man of parts can fill his place And of the varied strings of business tie a knot Which will hold state affairs in proper place, For they depend not on an special one. 1st Gentleman: Sire, shall we, like the child, forever creep? It is not thus the limbs find strength to walk. 2d Gentleman: The mother thrusts her birdling from its nest And thus it learns to wing its heavenward flight. 3d Gentleman: The doting father who trusts not his son But anxious coddles him from ev'ry care Can never know what possibilities Do dormant lie within that stunted brain. Francos, hesitatingly: But Quezox, when the father's anxious eye Doth quick discern some symptom which doth like The weather-cock, respond to ev'ry breeze Prudence would whisper, "It were well to wait." Quezox: Ah, Sire, Procrastination is a thief Which steals the treasure hidden in the brain, While if it were supplanted by stern acts Like to the sword 'twould ward off ev'ry foe. Francos: Ah lack-a-day! Uncertainty doth fill My mind. I would not aspirations block With idle fears, but still I must beware, Or when too late, these fears may take on life. All speak: Fear is a coward word and always flees When Action shows himself armed cap-a-pie And thus prepared to wage aggressive fight. Hence, honored sire let's throw it to the dogs! Francos, fretfully: Well, have it as thou wilt, and on thy heads Blame shall her thistled crown with pomp bestow If Failure thrusts her grim and wrinkled face With grinning smile to comment on our work. All: Thanks, and again more thanks, most noble Sire! The sun of Freedom shows her smiling face Above the horizon of discontent, Portending happy day so long delayed. (Exeunt Quezox and Gentlemen to waiting room)
Scene 3: Waiting Room.
Quezox: 'Tis done, and, Gentlemen, this doth reveal Most aptly how sweet concert for the time Doth work our purpose on this pliant soul. So long as he from contact with his kind We can prevent by flattery and guile; He, like to wax within the moulder's hand, May form a figurehead of brave design, But statue-like it were an empty house. 1st Gentleman: I have a thought, sweet Quezox, and must voice It in thine ear. Soon, from that distant land Where our oppressors dwell, others will hie Them to our shores; and they may be of mould More stern, and thus impediments may prove To be 'gainst our designs; hence it were well That we should much accomplish while we may. These may prevent what they can ne'er undo. 2d Gentleman: Si, si, Senor; haste be the magic word, To thrust the vermin out must be our aim. 3d Gentleman: Well said. If we delay, "Manana," fickle dame, May scorn our smiles and flirt with these, our foes.
Scene 4: Governor's Room.
Francos: Good Quezox, it doth seem the more I grant, The more dost thou demand. I at thy word Did to a list'ning throng declare that thou With mighty hand, did boost me to this place. 'Twas done to firm impress on public mind Thy worth in fields politic, and by this To expedite our plans which will in time An era new inaugurate; but thou, Like "Twist" of old, cry'st "More!" and ever "More!" Quezox: But Sire, the time is short. Soon I must hie Me to the halls of state, and I would fain Depart with mind at ease on matters here, For there be few who safely may advise. (Exit Quezox. Enters Carpen) Francos: Ha! Carpen, is it so; these varlets who Do thoughts imprint, have o'er my head direct Appealed to those who may dire action take, And thus belittlement on me bestow? Carpen: My Liege, 'tis so. From words which from thy mouth Did flow, discouragement arose, and so, To guard their welfare, they did quickly act And to their order did make strong appeal. Francos: Carpen disloyalty to those in pow'r Shall meet its proper penalty, and they Who voiced it must forthwith before me come And explanation make, which doth ring clear. Carpen: I'll quick despatch a message to their chief, That he at once before thee shall appear. Francos (walks the room, soliloquizing): Fortune is often kind, and to our hand A weapon ready forged and sharpened fits. A strong presentment lurketh in my mind That she hath now perchance befriended me. But Carpen, is this chief most proper named? Its sound implies that blood's his proper food, And that he sucks it from this people's veins. Carpen: I think your voiced suspicions are unjust. He seemeth to me but a proper man Possessing skill anent his chosen crat. So it was published when he here was sent. Francos: Ah, well I know the arts political Our foes did practice when they filled a nest Fit for an eagle with a vulture mean And covered their deceit by mouthing words. Carpen: But Sire, I bear no brief in his behalf. To me this matter little import bears. Francos: Good Carpen, from thy tone I fear me much Thou implication on thy part inferred. I pray thee, disabuse thine erring mind Of such suspicion, for it hath no ground. (Enter Quezox) Quezox: Most noble Sire, mine ears have heard a tale Which, if from fountain of eternal truth, Doth cheer me mightily. It in good sooth Reveals the treachery which thee surrounds. Francos: Remain, good Quezox, I would witness have Who shall upon the scroll of memory Inscribe each word which shall be uttered here When the expected one shall soon appear. Quezox: Sire, thy request, or rather thy command Is head but to obey. (A side) Methinks I see A smiling picture which doth clear portray Heads falling, as the bolo sure doth swing (Aloud) Sire, loyalty should ever be the test Of those who feed from out the public trough. (Exit Francos)
(All join hands and sing as they dance the Tammany slide.) "Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty to what? Why Loyalty to him who ladles out the swill. Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty or not? If not, go home to Dad and the fatted calf he'll kill."
Caesar . . . . . . Ruler of the State. Francos . . . . . . Governor General of a Province. Printus . . . . . . Head of a Bureau. Quezox . . . . . . Resident Delegate from the Province. Somnolent . . . . . Head of a Bureau. McDuff . . . . . . A Publican.
Scene I. Caesar's Room at the Capitol.
Caesar soliloquizing: Life is a problem intricate to solve: With outstretched arms to grasp, we know not what From out the future hidden by a veil With woof too dense for eye of man to pierce; Yet doth imagination pictures forms Which, when we would embrace, evade our touch And vanish into nothingness; while still We vain pursuit ever persistent make. Euclid from chaos order did evolve And on the scroll of Fame hath writ those laws Which Time, relentless, ne'er can thence efface. For Truth, immutable, is there entombed. But he, in flawless mental armor robed, Did crusade make where Science hath her home, And from her vaults where Truth was close entombed He raped their locks and brought the treasure forth. Long mankind groped in darkness, nor did dream That laws harmonious could measure space And count the cycles that should hail return Of each recurring comet on its round. Thus deep uncertainty enrobeth man: He comes like morning bringing with him light; He goes like evening, ent'ring portals dark Where none can track him to his final doom And know that Immortality's kind arms Shall hug him to her breast and bear him on To Fields whose verdure wears a brighter hue, Or whether Entity shall on the wings Of fickle Fate be borne to final rest, Who shall the mystery of being solve? We see the birdling break from prison shell And dream that we have found the source of life. Vain thought! the egg were but a cunning mask Which Nature wears to hide her handiwork. The spark electric issues from its cell Clothed with a pow'r the jealous gods might crave; But when or how it entity conceived, Is hid within creation's caverns deep. Now, in the realm of pow'r politic, reigns The God of Chaos anchor'd to his throne, And it remains for one of giant mind, Well disciplined in all scholastic lore, To break the chains which hold that anchor fast, And crush the Pow'r disordered seated there. Am I the instrument designed by Fate To, Euclid-like, from this anarchic whole Evolve the laws which shall Disorder deep Within the grave entomb and on that throne The God of Order seat, and in his hand Imperial scepter place, to rule the world Politic, as it on its axis rolls, Unharmed by venomed darts of turpitude? I dreamed of formulating certain laws Which economic matters would control. The midnight lamp, companion of my toil, Has burned in vain. Alas, I see it now. When the great "Commoner," of wisdom full, A plank within our platform did insert That our good ships which coastwise trade would ply Should float as free as sea-gull on the wing Through that deep channel, by our cunning wrought, Which links Pacific's waters to the Gulf, I, fool-like, did him earnestly applaud! Again my soul in bitterness doth surge Because from distant Isles the lightning brings Dire words of sour complaint from either clan, Which like to gladiators in the ring Seem but prepared to battle to the death. I listened to the frail but honeyed words Of one who held a judgeship in that clime, Only to find disgruntlement their source; And now it shames me, who have been cock-sure, That I should failure see emblazoned there. How could I prudence thus have cast aside And now my stomach fill with humble pie? Alas! my dreams that fed on self-esteem Are vanished as the dew before the sun. (With energy) Another plank I'll wrench with giant hand. And wreck the platform, "if I bust a gut." (Exit to drink an orangeade to quiet his nerves.)
Scene II: The Governor's room.
Quezox: My Liege this Printus stands without the door, And seeks admission that he may explain His conduct. Shall I, bid him enter here? Francos: In sooth, good Quezox, doth my spirit yearn To quick despatch my business with this man. (Quezox retires and fetches Printus) Quezox: Most noble Sire, this gentleman attends? Francos: Sir, from thy mouth I explanation ask As to the import of a message sent To high officials of some labor bund Voicing complaint anent my conduct here. Printus: In truth, I little know of this affair. These men a grievance feel, for they did come At my behest on weighty promise made To fill positions which experts alone Are proper occupants; and now they fear Their stipends may be cut with pruner's knife, Which to them each important loss portends And dire discomfort work on those they love. Francos: Hold, Printus, hold! Thy words were idle chaff. Dost thou deny the allegation made That to the message thy consent wast had? Printus: I no participation in it took!
Francos, (severely:) Thy words do seem to have a double ring. But hie thee hence, while I investigate. The Democratic creed doth only know Complete submission on the henchman's part To him who momentary at the helm Doth guide the ship of state through calm and storm. To think in words, disloyalty proclaims; But act subservient fealty do prove. (Exit Printus) Quezox: Most noble Sire, thy courage I admire But Somnolent doth wait without the door. Francos: Ha! He doth quickly to my call respond, But bid him enter. I will quick despatch The matter which thy urgent hopes demand. (Enter Quezox and Somnolent) Quezox: Sire, here is he who holds our wide domain Within the hollow of his cunning hand. Francos: Sweet sire, an era new we usher in, And knowing well that thou dost entertain Oposing views upon a vital point, Twere best for thee to cast the mantle off. Somnolent: In sooth, good sir, I find our minds as one. If Quezox's methods shall perchance obtain, 'Twere better that some henchman of his choice Should do untieing of his fiscal knots. (Exit Somnolent) Quezox: Sire, in the anteroom doth stand McDuff, With bearing like a criminal of state, Sustained by stubborn pride as he doth walk With measured, kingly step unto the block. Francos: Go bid him enter, and on thy return, Take precedence; twere well to demonstrate The high esteem which Caesar for thee feels And give his party pride a parting dig. (Enter Quezox and McDuff) Quezox: My Liege, McDuff, who fills a council seat Within the party which has long controlled Affairs politic in these tropic Isles, Would fain resign the office he now holds. Francos, consolingly: Events march on, and as the whirligig Of time revolves, so 'tis with politics. To-day one soars aloft on Vict'ry's wings; Tomorrow Fate those pinions proud may clip. 'Tis here Philosophy a cooling draught Kindly present to him who, from his seat, Is thrust by Fortune's hand, which killeth not, But only girds our loins for battles new. McDuff: Sir Governor, thy words with wisdom teem. I threw the gauge of battle in the ring, And for each thrust the enemy did give I parried, and with vigor did return Each lunge in kind, and now my Medicine I gulp and whimper not. But look ye, sir! the wheel that now hath turned May grind us all between it cruel cogs. (Exit McDuff) Quezox to Francos, exultingly: A mighty day! a glorious day is here! But, Sire, the cleansing work is but begun. A joyful paean swells within my breast, And I must mouth it, else this heart will burst! (Sings) We'll smite the grafters; smite them hip and thigh; Our motto shall be ever, "Do or die." We've got 'em on the run, And with every rising sun, We'll oil the new machine; Its blade we'll sharpen keen. Revenge shall fill the goblet to the brim, And "Pleasure saturnine" shall be our hymn. Francos, applauding: 'Twere well, sweet Quezox! Thou in happy tone Hast voiced a noble sentiment in rhyme. But lurking in my mem'ry it doth seem That I recall in part those words so apt. (Francos and Quezox embrace and retire.)
* * * * *
SIR WINDBAG SEEKS ADVICE OF COUNT LUIE
Scene: A room at No. ... A. Mabini.
Sir Windbag ... A high official. Count Luie ..... Another windbag.
SIR WINDBAG, (to Count Luie): "Oh that mine enemy would write a book." A wise man in the past hath shrewdly said, Knowing full well that when one's thoughts are paged They like foul spirits menace peace of mind. Alas! 'tis so, when tongue shall like a bird Take wing, soaring aloft, and as the wind Fly aimless over mountain, hill and dale, Until tired nature doth demand repose, Why did I Roosevelt as a pattern take And boast his doctrines as the wisdom's fount From which I drank as a disciple might Who worships blindly at his idol's shrine? And now these varlets point with taunting grin At what my demigod hath ordered here, And oh, ye sages, what shall I reply? For now his work I purpose to undo. When I with eloquence did picture draw Of tyranny which from above did flow, And with convincing tongue did loud proclaim That pow'r should ever from below take root; I little dreamed that subtle minds would carp And inconsistency against me charge For earnest effort which eventuates In placing pow'r within the crafty hands Of those who long have under Spanish rule Imbibed the time clad notion that the few Who by the accident of happy birth, May make a gold mine of the hapless poor. They voice in cutting words that I who late Have cast my lot in these downtrodden Isles Should study well conditions e'er I speak As cock-sure as a teacher to his class. I, in triumphant tone, did voice the truth That in our homeland stinking graft prevails, But, ah! I overlook the damning fact That ignorance among our foreign born Hath been the hotbed whence this thistle grew, And that our Governor did get his boost Into the forum through that rotten host Which proudly boasts a "Tammany" as its god. And do the people of our Empire State Evolve the doctrine which I loud proclaimed? No! in the dire extremity they laid Restraining hand upon the venal mob, Sternly refusing "what they know they want" But now strong opposition draws the veil, And I behold, to me, the starting fact, That human minds oft vain illusions hug Which time alone hath pow'r that grasp to loose; And only then through friction with the world Will freedom from provincial slavery And mental lassitude be e'er attained. When I my glorious deeds with savage tribes Did iterate before the gaping throng, It seemed to me as to the schoolboy raw That ne'er before had such superb exploits E'er been achieved by knightly mortal man. But now 'tis said my predecessor wrought Like wounders in a less ostentious way And mine are but a copy of his acts. Within my brain indeed are many wheels That heretofore have whirled me into place, But they ne'er buzzed the fact that in these Isles Abode Americans who dare to speak In plain derision of officials high; Forsooth, I dreamed they at the public trough Did feed; but, lo! an army, small but brave, Hath thrown its skirmishers into the field And offered battle with a cold disdain That maketh chills run down my weakening spine And causeth question whether my defy Was born from Wisdom's or from Folly's womb. Quick in my logic's dome where thought doth dwell Those wheels whirled out these brilliant, burning words: "These varlets have no place within these Isles And quick should speed them to their native land;" But mem'ry doth recall the "pine-tree" wilds Where fate decreed that I should have my birth, Only to later bid me wander forth And seek asylum in the "Empire State." Indeed, it seems that in man dwells a force That doth impel adventure from the spot Where nature willed that he should ope an eye In childish wonder at God's handiwork: So here again I, like to hair spring gun In careless hand, went off, alas, "half cocked," And now I fear to ope my babbling mouth Lest I should put my clumsy foot therein.
COUNT LUIE: My honest frend, for so I speak thee fair, Since thou hast from thy shoulders ever cast That damning cloak, Republican in woof. And armor of Democracy hast donned, Fear not that words so deep an import bear. The mob applauds today, but quick forgets. I once, before we kenned our party's stand, Did lightly tongue imperialistic thoughts. The throng did loud applaud my eloquence, Which made demand that Filipinos here Should be debarred, when they procession form, From proudly marching 'neath their flag of state. And now my tender bowels do me gripe As I reflect that this tyrannic act Runs counter to the doctrines thou dost teach, Because, you bet, "they know just what they want."
SIR WINDBAG: But will the rabble not thy words recall, And like to mud, flung from the grutter deep, Will they not sore disfigure and besmirch Thy reputation for consistency?
COUNT LUIE: Fear not; we who do ornament the bar Can twist and turn as doth the shuttle-cock, And in our mouths today words have a ring Which changes with tomorrow's rising sun.
SIR WINDBAG: I quick discern the import of thy speech, And in the past have seen it verified. If mem'ries of the people were not short, Disaster to us patriots would befall. When like a parson one can slip the tongue And speed it like a race-horse on its course, 'Tis well; but let some ill-bred boor Bold interruption make, in query's form, The discourse of its symmetry is shorn, While bond of sympathy 'twixt him who speaks And those who list receives a brutral shock, Which doth demand dexterity to soothe. Thus, when I wisdom spouted at the club, A man most pestulent did query put Anent the spreading of our civic rule O'er Moros, if it proved to be the case That they demur and, "knowing what they want," Prefer to rule themselves in custom's groove. I, loyal to the ethics of our craft Tried to becloud the query, and declared That Moros loved the Filipinos well. But this persistent boor did pin me down Until imprudently I answered, "No!" And this unwisdom now doth trouble me.
COUNT LUIE: But, gentle Windbag, these were idle words Which on the record have no place. 'Twere well To quick erase them from the memory: Words only spoken vanish into air.
SIR WINDBAG: Thou dost console me, Luie, and I feel A kindred spirit fills thy giant form; But tell me, from among thy many friends Are hearts that for me beat in sympathy?
COUNT LUIE, (eying the ceiling): Good Windbag, a searching introspection Finds but few, excepting only those Who office hold or look with longing eyes For vacancies the future may disclose.
SIR WINDBAG: But when "the Man of God" his voice doth raise In ecstasy to praise my every word, Will not his former flock follow the bell Which in the past hath led to pastures green?
COUNT LUIE: Alas, I fear their memories will point To former words, which voiced another song, When he did nurse at theologic teat And softly chant imperialistic creed.
SIR WINDBAG, (eagerly): But may not my convincing words have caused Conversion to the views of "Era New?"
COUNT LUIE, (doubtfully): 'Twere wiser to ascribe his recent "flop" To strong desire to hold a paying job!
SIR WINDBAG: But this Sandixo seems a proper man, Who boasts a heart welling with gratitude. He eloquent approved my every word, And lays his duty wholly at my feet. His words do ring as from an honest mould, Yet rumor whispers divers ugly tales. Thou knowest how his record truly reads: How far should confidence extend her hand?
COUNT LUIE, (hesitatingly): Friend Windbag, if to thee I ope my heart, 'Twere in strict confidence 'twixt man and man For publication I would loud proclaim "This man a patriot with noble aims." If for opinion private thou dost ask, I will a tale unfold much to the point. One Quezox, holding now a place of pow'r, With tongue of silver did to me extend A promise to advance my ev'ry plan For preferment to an exalted place. Alas! he turned me down with sweet disdain. Eating his words, whilst I did gulp down "crow."
SIR WINDBAG: Ah Ha! I see! The game, not fairly played, Doth lose its zest, and confidence once lost, Like to a maiden's virtue, ne'er can be Restored. 'Tis sad, yet though 'tis sad, 'tis true. But, honored sir, the hint you give will keep. Perhaps this man may look with greedy eye Upon some high official post, which we Must give because "he knows just what he wants."
COUNT LUIE: But softly, friend, if this thy doctrine be, 'Twere best to pack thy grip and ready stand To get thee hence; for in these lovely Isles There be not seats of honor to go round.
SIR WINDBAG: Ha! Think you this politico aspires To me supplant my important post?
COUNT LUIE: A royal flush; he doth, for in time past, 'Neath Aguinaldo, he that chair did fill!
SIR WINDBAG: But tell me, is this not a pliant race Which skilful hand may at its pleasure mould?
COUNT LUIE: 'Tis said the serpent warming on the breast With sting doth ever show its gratitude!
SIR WINDBAG: Thou by enigma seemingly imply That all our labors here are but in vain. Methought within thy heart dwelt confidence In the ability of this proud race To guide their ship of state on troubled seas, And trim its sails to meet each threat'ning storm. But now thy cynicism breeds a fear That thy past words do bear "Pickwickian sense."
COUNT LUIE: Sir Windbag, thou unto our party grand Art but a convert new, and needs must learn That platforms are the Bible which we read, And to them we do blindly pin our faith. If one has doubts, he, like a Christian true, Must stifle them and reason throw aside, 'Tis thus we from the Sunny South do act, When facts run counter to our party creed.
SIR WINDBAG: Alas! I in my innocence did deem The words you uttered in the last campaign Did true portray the situation here, But now I fear they were but party gush. But, ah! "The pen is mightier than the sword." These venomed quills must be from porcupine; For deeper do they bore, as I reflect That I invited all their smarting wounds. I sought to give their idol Worcester but His proper place by "damning with faint praise;" And now they prod me as the muleteer Doth goad his jackass when he thoughtless brays.
COUNT LUIE: But, sir, remember that the ass can kick, And that when kicking, asses never bray, So gird your armor on and lop each head Who hath at your dilemma dared to scoff.
SIR WINDBAG: But Riggs! he hath in beaten trail proclaimed What the old regimen hath always mouthed. While I the "Era New" did bold announce, And now my head is crowned with pricking thorns.
COUNT LUIE, (reflectively): Thine adversaries, though at vantage now, Should be subdued by strategy and guile. I from sore strait triumphant did emerge Through trenchant pen of a compatriot. This noble scion of Democracy Did wield a telling blow in my behalf And thrust the adversary 'neath the rib, Laying him low in controversial dust.
SIR WINDBAG, (eagerly): His name? his name? that I may quick engage This champion to bolster up my cause.
COUNT LUIE, (whispers mysteriously): He is but small in stature, but, ye goods, His valor fits his name, which is, La Mutt.
AN IMAGINARY OFFICIAL CONSULTATION
Francos: . . . . . High Cockalorum. Sir Higgs: . . . . First High Councillor. Sir Henmart: . . . Second Councillor. Sir Windbag: . . . Third Councillor.
Scene: Official Residence.
FRANCOS: I greet thee, gentlemen, to conclave sweet. Wisdom hath whispered in mine willing ear That we uncumbered by the darker tint Of those who meet us at official board Could better sound the depths of special woes Which daily do beset us as we toil With earnest hearts to boost the public weal By filling vacant posts with Democrats!
SIR WINDBAG: But, Francos, list; a more disturbing mob, Whose crop is filled with discord and contempt, On which they daily feed, I ne'er have sized. 'Twere well to laws enact to hold in curb These brainless cubs who wield a pricking quill And words indite with vitriol for an ink, Which burns the meaning into quiv'ring brain And leaveth scars which time can ne'er efface. A son of Erin in official place Did eulogize my effort at the club; And I, elated, loaned it to the press For publication if the writer willed; But scruples seemed to fill his vacuous mind, Hence it was hidden from the public gaze. Now it hath disappeared, and Rumor saith 'Tis to be published in a stealthy way. Zounds! 'tis enough to cause the blood to course Like mercury adown the burning veins. Could I but lay my eager hands upon The thiefly neck, I'd wring it with good zest.
FRANCOS: But, Windbag; why didst thou thy tongue unloose, And set it wagging vaporings and froth? Thou mightest have known the foe didst ready stand To thrust thy words adown thy choking throat. Imprudence on its shoulders ever bears A burden which may crush its author down; 'Twere best to keep the pen in constant leash, For, words, indited not, work little harm.
SIR WINDBAG: But softly, Sire, Thy record is not clean, If but tradition wears a truthful garb. Plug hats and coats of a latest Tammany style And "pleasure saturnine" did figure cut When first thy mouth did voice the burning thoughts That trickled from a brain much overwrought By meditation on conditions here Which bore so heavy on this downtrod race.
FRANCOS: Alas! 'tis true. Indoctrined by the words So eloquently voiced by one who long Hath dwelt within this city, where before The bar he wondrous reputation gained, I waited not to form a judgment sound, But leaning on a faith of fiction born, Awoke to find selfseeking underneath Each silver work this vampire spouted forth.
SIR WINDBAG: Francos, indeed thou hast my sympathy For this fat prophet wore an honest mien So that e'en I who boast a subtile brain Did fall before his wordy blandishments. 'Tis well! we then are quits. But why this call? What matter of great import draws us here?
FRANCOS: (to Windbag) The welfare of our party is at stake. "Our" is the word, for thou the Rubicon Hast crossed, and henceforth—lest thou bolt again— Deep in our councils, e'er thy duty calls.
SIR HIGGS: Most honored sirs, why this entanglement? Both, through the want of deep experience, Have, as the sacred writer once did say, "Over the whiffle trees foolishly kicked."
SIR HENMART: Ha, Ha! Sir Higgs, the Bible saith not so! But but let it pass. We politicians read The party platform more than sacred word, And make it standard for our daily lives.
FRANCOS: But, sirs, the matter pertinent this hour Involves the honor of our party's name. When first I reached these shores, one Seldonskip, As scrivener, did bear me company. Alas! he captive fell to woman's wiles And with a former gallant measured arms Hence I was forced, if peace were to be kept, To send him "kiting" to his distant home. This strippling came of Democratic stock, Hence, to protect our party from dire shame, I tried to keep the cause of his deport A secret close, within official halls. But emissaries from the spying press Did quick discern the matter and did blaze It on the pages of their various sheets And point with scorn at Democratic worth!
SIR HENMART: But, Sire, 'tis in the past, and what have we To do with fool gyratings of this callow youth? In Kansas we do low within the grave Deep bury memories that prove unkind.
FRANCOS: Ah, sir, thy words deep meaning ever bear, And if the past were all I'd bid it sleep. But now a new distemper hath appeared; For one who was selected for his worth And whom I boasted as a model man, Within whose veins did course a newer blood, Hath fool-like fallen on his knees before The goddess Venus, and to Bacchus fell A willing victim; while his babbling mouth Did spew dire boastings of official pull, While Folly's goblet filled unto the brim Slopped over, when in wordy contest, he With green-winged parrot did engage, and fain Its neck would there have wrung because its hue Proclaimed not sympathy with those who bear The orange flag when they procession make! The guardsmen of the peace should ever soar On wings of probity and moral worth As Erin's Isle had furnished many such I deemed I'd found a jewel in the rough; But when there trickled through the spying press A literary effort from his pen, Wherein he said a woman "clumb" a wall My faith in his attainments quick did fade.
SIR HIGGS: But, Sire, this dire misfortune comes in trail Of boosting all who wear the party tag. If I should speak the promptings of my heart, 'Twould to be give this fool a parting kick.
SIR WINDBAG: But there be may in this bristling mob Who slur at all who from proud Caesar's hand Have gladly licked the crumbs his bounty gave To soothe the hunger of his starving host.
FRANCOS: Ha! Thou hast hit the nail upon the head, These bumpkins must not have a new made food For laughter at our misadventure here, Hence it were wise to send this fellow off As if he in the path of duty treads. Nor must we breathe but that his quick return Will fill expectant hearts with honest joy, Thus may we darken shades of memory.
SIR HENMART: But did this officer a contest wage, With her whose heart went out unto her bird?
FRANCOS: What! hast thou heard, on wings of rumor borne, This matter in full detail free discussed?
SIR HIGGS: Sir, 'tis but common chatter on the streets. And naught can hide it from the public gaze.
FRANCOS: Alas, there is one remedy in view We all must strong denial ever make. Oh, that one of the scum so strong entrenched Had by his conduct rendered me a chance! I would his vileness on the nonce have voiced, But now 'twere best to cloud this matter well.
SIR HIGGS: Methinks this scuttling goes too far by half In ousting tried officials from their posts. 'Twere wise to zeal politic well repay, But still, efficiency should ever bring Reward. And this, indeed, involves us all, For dire distempers in the tropics breed: Hence it were best to kindly caution woo.
FRANCOS: Sir Higgs, indeed thou ever reasonst well. Sore ills encompass us on every side And now do pests my happy home invade, Bearing dire fevers on their pigmy wings, Alas, the song they sing rejoiceth that Efficient doctors, who did battle wage Against them, are removed and in their place Incompetents installed. Indeed, their stings Convincing plea do ever make that we Should quick return to paths trodden before And wage crusade against the swarming pests Until their songs are legends of the past.
SIR WINDBAG: But hold, sweet Francos: did not God design That e'en the insect should his life enjoy? Indeed, his joyous song of gratitude Doth only cease that he may puncture make To meet requirements which God hath ordained. Hence it were well to nature's laws obey, For e'en this insect, as it wings its way, Hath fond desire, and "knows just what it wants."
FRANCOS, SIR HIGGS and HENMART (in concert:) Oh Rats! Rats!! Rats!!!
A COUNCIL OF WAR
Francos . . . . . High Cockalorum. Sir Henmart . . . Vice Cockalorum. Sir Higgs . . . . Councillor. Sir Windbag . . . Councillor. Col. Toady . . . Grand Enumerator.
Scene: Executive Chamber.
FRANCOS: Ah! woe is me, my gentle councillors. Again has treason shown its slimy head; And from its source, I fear me, it doth bode But ill to us, who God's anointed are. If pedagogues may raise disdainful voice And gross abuse on the elect bestow Can safety from vituperation vile From out this rotten mob be e'er assured?
SIR HENMART: Good Francos, as this matter emanates From out the sphere of my prerogative, I feel a special sorrow doth becloud The sunny pathway which I late have trod. I find it difficult to blaze my way; The competent among my teaching corps Are those who dare opinions firm to form; If loyalty alone shall be test, 'Twill leave us but a small unthinking host, And then efficiency will find its grave Within the tomb of our official rage.
SIR WINDBAG: But Caesar grieveth that his mighty star, Which in the human firmament doth shine So brightly that it lighteth up the world, Should be bespattered by this inky mud.
COL. TOADY: Ah, it were sacrilege to thus befoul The mighty soul whose penetration deep Hath by selection brought this galaxy Of excellence to lead this groping state In paths which lead to freedom and to pow'r.
SIR HIGGS: Alas, 'twas ever thus. I, in the past, Have suffered from the pricks of nagging quills, And all who mount aloft on fortune's wing Must bear with ripe philosophy such ills.
FRANCOS: But loyalty! In Tammany I learned That duty meek, subservient, should mark The underlings, who but a stairway make By which capacity doth climb to pow'r. Efficiency! it were an idle word, And rings not soundly on politic ear; Obedience, the watchword e'er should be. To do and not to think we must demand. The welfare of our party e'er should be Our slogan even in this wilderness; And he who doth as critic act a part Should quickly feel the headsman's shining blade.
SIR WINDBAG: But, sire, from signs I read on every hand If such a policy were long pursued We must import from out our native land More Loyal Democrats, who longing wait To most efficiently infuse "new blood" Where now stagnation makes the veins turn blue.
COL. TOADY: Right, right you are! I know an anxious host Who long have languished from the want of pap, And once were they turned loose, the energy So long stored up would vivify this state, But this fool civil service bars the way— It should be thrust aside for party's good.
FRANCOS: Thy words do to my willing ear appeal, But our politic foes are strong entrenched, While mockish sentiment doth strongly point To danger, if we cast the scoundrels out.
COL. TOADY: But, sire, in Washington they work a plan Which, while it seems to vindicate the law, Roots out the vermin by demoting them, And thus our Southern veterans find a place.
SIR HIGGS: But, friends, doth prudence warrant such a step? Already inefficiency doth creep Into each bureau till our revenues Do warning give that we must now beware.
SIR WINDBAG: But, gentlemen, our salaries are sure; If needs must be, cut down and slyly pare Along the line where least resistance lies, And on our predecessors throw the blame.
FRANCOS: But Caesar an accounting will demand Should this frail craft be wrecked or run aground, For he doth wish to cast it soon adrift With crew well drilled to threatening shoals avoid.
SIR HIGGS: Here wisdom surely speaks in trumpet tones, And hence we must adventure wisely make To guide the vessel on its way with care And launch it as a well-manned sturdy craft; Then, whatsoe'er befalls them, we can wash Our hands, for they by importunity Most strong, will then have ventured on the cruise In unknown seas where dangers dark do dwell.
COL. TOADY: Ha! well we know the course the ship will take With men of color standing at the helm; But let them reap the tares which they have sown, We care not if they cut each other's throats.
SIR WINDBAG: But, gentle sir, if they desire to war, Why should we hinder such a sportive game? They own those isles, and why should we debar Them pastimes, for "they know just what they want."
FRANCOS: But, sirs, we wander from the vital point. I called this conclave to impress with force The import great of sifting from our ranks Those evil-minded men, whose loyalty Is doubtful, and may bring lasting reproach Upon our policies, and thus besmirch The reputation of that Jove-like pair That rules the destiny of our great state.
COL TOADY: Ha, thou hast said! In all the universe, No other souls, like these, can quick discern Great worth combined with mental attributes Which qualify for high official place: When in these isles a census must be made Their eagle eyes discerned my hiding place And then perceiving qualities most rare Demanded that I serve the public weal!
SIR HENMART: And me! Hid in my happy prairie home, They tore me thence, all for the nation's good!
SIR WINDBAG (striking his manly breast): I, too, inherent qualities possess Which caused those mental eyes to hunt me out!
FRANCOS: But, gentlemen, this state is honeycombed With treason dark unto the pow'rs that be. Even our party men, with cold disdain, Look on our policy with covert sneer. Some few there are who grovel in the mire, But most deport themselves with silent mien; These should be watched, and when the moment comes Where opportunity her hand extends, We should her aid accept, and lop those heads Which placed on shoulders square with spine erect Dare in the privacy of social life To breathe disloyalty to us who rule.
SIR WINDBAG: Ah, sire, sweet music to mine ears thy words Do make. Within my university Some loyal souls have in epistles sweet Breathed loyalty. Such should the passport be. And if this document cannot be shown It were sure proof that in the rebel heart Treason doth lurk and only hides its head To firmly hold position, at our hands.
FRANCOS: But, Windbag, dost thou not perceive that the Vile press, which here opinion seems to form, Would placard on its pages with great glee That civil service hath been swept aside? No! we must, with the Indian's guile, our track Cover insinuatingly, and wise. But vigilance should be our slogan now That we may spy out each disloyal rogue.
COL. TOADY: This civil service is a brittle shield When pure Democracy doth wield the sword, And were it strong, the rebel that it guards Can be unhorsed by stabbing in the back.
FRANCOS: O happy thought! within my secret heart I long have cherished it. Now to your posts— And for the conflict buckle on the sword. Disloyalty to Tinio avenge!
SIR HIGGS: While I'll take little part in this crusade, Still it doth pleasure me most mightily When I reflect that every head lopped off Affords much joy to some good Democrat. 'Twere wise to little say unto the mob For it each idle word will subtile twist, But smile, and smile, yet keep the guillotine Well oiled and ready for its cleaning work.
All sing with great gust except Sir Higgs who beats time with a baton presented by the Secretary of War:
"We're living in a hotbed of sedition; These "rats" have been infected by tradition. If we can't smoke them out And give our friends a place, We'll plug the rat holes up And thus we'll save our face, Hence we must wage the battle stern and hearty; These posts must serve as flagstaffs for our party."
ALL SHOUT: "Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Hip, Hip, Hurrah!! Hip, Hip, Hurrah!!! and a Tammany Tiger!"
A SOLEMN CONCLAVE
Ilustrados Representatives Count Luie Tightwad Twins A Band of Minstrels
Scene: A Garden Bower
A MINSTREL SINGS: The day hath shed its gauzy veil of light, As evening's sable gown usurps its place. Hear the night bird sweetly singing While through space her way she's winging, Melody she's gaily flinging Peace and joy with twilight bringing If Care's dull day, while beck'ning to the night, Hath us depressed let Joy now show his face.
FIRST ILUSTRADO: Son of Arion, from Castalia's fount Where melody divine doth bubble forth, Thou must thy thirst have slaked with copious drafts For gods alone inspire such sounds divine.
SECOND GENTLEMAN OF STATE: 'Twere well the cares of day to toss aside And welcome evening's quiet with a smile, But we who here in solemn conclave meet Can squander moment few to court the Muse; Stern duty calls, and to each patriot ear 'Tis music sweet, to which he quick responds, Then to the council board let us repair And these the mysteries of state evolve.
FIRST REPRESENTATIVE: Time swiftly flies with heading on her wings. From out the eastern skies where Caesar dwells, The lightnings flash reports that should rejoice Each loyal heart within this island realm. Soon, senators with dignity enrobed Will grace the halls of our enfranchised state, And then the padlock which our lips now close Shall like a useless toy to be cast side. Then can we voice unto the list'ning world Those noble aspirations long confined Lest their frank utterance should work us ill And closer seal the bonds which hold us fast. For, what concessions our oppressors make, Can never be withdrawn; and when they see That folly prompted all, 'twill be in vain, And we can their discomfort laugh to scorn.