Scene I

ACT FIVE

SCENE I

A room in Vasavadutta’s apartments.

Vasavadutta, Munjoolica

VASAVADUTTA
So thou hast dared to come.

MUNJOOLICA
I have. Thou, dare
To look me in the eyes! Thou canst not. Then?

VASAVADUTTA
Hast thou no fear of punishment at all?

MUNJOOLICA
For shutting thee in with heaven? None, none at all.

VASAVADUTTA
How didst thou dare?

MUNJOOLICA
How didst thou dare, proud girl,
To make of kings and princesses thy slaves?
How dare to drag Sourashtra’s daughter here,
To keep her as thy servant and to load
With gifts, caresses, chidings and commands,
The puppet of thy sweet imperious will?
Thinkest thou my heart within me was not hot?
But now I am avenged on thee and all.

VASAVADUTTA
Vindictive traitress, I will beat thee.

MUNJOOLICA
Do
And I will laugh and ask thee of the night.

VASAVADUTTA
Then take thy chastisement.

She seizes and beats her with the tassels of her girdle.

MUNJOOLICA
Stop! I’ll bear no more
Art not ashamed to spend thy heart in play
Knowing what thou hast done and what may come?
Think rather of what thou wilt do against
Thy dangerous morrow.

VASAVADUTTA
See what thou hast done!
How shall I look my father in the eyes?
What speak? What do? My Vuthsa how protect?

MUNJOOLICA
Thy father must not know of this.

VASAVADUTTA
Thou thinkst
My joy can be shut in from every eye?
Besides thee I have other serving girls.

MUNJOOLICA
None who’ld betray thee. This thing known, his wrath
Would strike thy husband.

VASAVADUTTA
Me rather. I will throw
My heart and body, twice his shield, between.

MUNJOOLICA
You be torn apart and Vuthsa penned
In some deep pit or fiercer vengeance taken
To soothe the stern man’s outraged heart.

VASAVADUTTA
Alas!
Thou hast a brain; give me thy counsel. The ill
Thyself hast done, must thou not remedy?

MUNJOOLICA
If thou entreat me much, I will and can.

VASAVADUTTA
I shall entreat thee!

MUNJOOLICA
Help thyself, proud child.

VASAVADUTTA
O, if I have thee at advantage ever!
Stay! I beseech thee, my Munjoolica, -

MUNJOOLICA
More humbly!

VASAVADUTTA
Oh!

She kneels.

I clasp thy feet, O friend,
In painful earnest I beseech thee now
To think, plan, spend for my sake all thy thought.
Remember how I soothed thy fallen life
Which might have been so hard. O thou my playmate,
Joy, servant, sister who hast always been,
Help me, save him, deceive my father’s wrath,
Then ask from me what huge reward thou wilt.

MUNJOOLICA
Nothing at all. Vengeance is sweet enough
Upon thy father and Gopalaca.
I’am satisfied now. First give me a promise;
Obey me absolutely in all things
Till Vuthsa’s free.

VASAVADUTTA
I promise. Thou art my guide
And I will walk religiously thy path.

MUNJOOLICA
Then think it done.

VASAVADUTTA
smiling on Vuthsa who enters

Vuthsa, I asked not for thee.

VUTHSA
Thou didst. I heard thy heart demand me.

MUNJOOLICA
Hark!
What is this noise and laughter in the count?
See, see, the hunchbacked laughable old man!
What antics!

VUTHSA
Surely I know well those eyes.
Munjoolica, this is a friend. He must
Be brought here to me.

MUNJOOLICA
Princess, let us call him.
It is an admirable buffoon.

VASAVADUTTA
Fie on thee!
Is this an hour for jest and antics?

MUNJOOLICA looking significantly at her
Yes.

VASAVADUTTA
Call him.

MUNJOOLICA
And thou go in.

VASAVADUTTA
How, in!

MUNJOOLICA
This girl!
Hast thou not promised to obey me?

VASAVADUTTA
Yes.

She goes in. Munjoolica descends.

VUTHSA
Yougundharayan sends him. O, he strikes
The hour as if a god had planned all out.
This world’s the puppet of a silent Will
Which moves unguessed behind our acts and thoughts;
Events bewildered follow its dim guidance
And flock where they are needed. Is’t not thus,
O Thou, our divine Master, that Thou rulest,
Nor car’st at all because Thy joy and power
Are seated in Thyself beyond the ages?

Munjoolica returns bringing in Vasuntha disguised.

Who is this ancient shape thou bringest?

MUNJOOLICA
I’ld know
If he has a tongue as famous as his hump
And as preposterous; that to learn I bring him.

VASUNTHA
Where is the only lady of the age?
Princes or else domestics, -

MUNJOOLICA
Something, sir, or both.

VASUNTHA
O masters then of princess, thing not that I scorn
Your prouder royalty; but now if any
Will introduce my hungry old hunchback
To Avunthie’s far-famed paragon of girls,
He shall have tithe of all my golden gains.

MUNJOOLICA
Why not to Avunthie’s governor and a prison,
Yougundharayan’s spy?

VASUNTHA looking at Vuthsa
What’s this? What’s this?

MUNJOOLICA
Strong tonic for a young old man.

VUTHSA
Speak freely
Thy message; there are only friends who hear.

VASUNTHA
to Vuthsa, with a humorous glance at Munjoolica
Thy hours were not ill-spent. But thou hast nearly
Frightened these poor young hairs to real grey,
My sportive lady. Hear now why I crouch
Beneath the hoary burden of this beard
And the insignia of a royal hump, -
And an end to jesting. Vuthsa, in thy city
The people clamour; they besiege thy ministers,
Railing at treason and demanding thee,
Nor can their rage be stilled. Do swiftly then
Whatever thou must do yet, swiftly break forth
Or war will seek thee clamouring round these doors.
To bear thy message back to him I come,
Upon Avunthie’s mountain verge who lurks,
Or else to laid thee if our help thou needest.

VUTHSA
Let him restrain my army forest-screened
Where the think woodlands weave a border large
To the ochre garment round Avunthie’s loins
Nearest Ujjayinie. Under the cavern-hill
Of Lokanatha let him lie, but never
Transgress that margin till my chariot comes.

VASUNTHA
‘Tis all?

VUTHSA
In my own strength all else I’ll do.

VASUNTHA
Good, then I go?

VUTHSA
Yes, but with gold, thy fee,
To colour thy going. Bring him gold, dear friend,
Or take from Vasavadutta gem or trinket
That shall bear out his mast to jealous eyes.

Munjoolica goes into the inner chamber.

VASUNTHA
Leave that to me.

VUTHSA
Thou hast adventured much
For my sake.

VASUNTHA
Poor Alurca cried to come,
But this thing asked for brains and he had only
Blunt courage and a harp. The danger’s nothing,
But oh, this hump! I shall not soon walk straight,
Nor rid myself of all the loyal aches
I bear for thee.

VUTHSA
Pangs fiercer would have chased them,
Hadst thou been caught, my friend. I shall remember.

Munjoolica returns with gold and a trinket.

Take now these gauds; haste, make thy swiftest way,
For I come close behind thee.

Vasuntha goes.

MUNJOOLICA
Tell me thy plan.

VUTHSA
These chambers are too strongly kept.

MUNJOOLICA
But there’s
The pleasure-ground.

VUTHSA
Let Vasavadutta call
Her brothers on an evenings to the park
And wise flow fast. The nights are moonlit now.
How many gates?

MUNJOOLICA
Three, but she southern portal
Nearest the ramparts.

VUTHSA
There, how many guard?

MUNJOOLICA
Three armed Kiratha women keep the gate.

VUTHSA
I cannot hurt them. Thou must find a way.

MUNJOOLICA
They shall be drowned in wine. The streets outside?

VUTHSA
A chariot, – find one for me. I cannot fight
With Vasavadutta on my breast.

MUNJOOLICA
I think
That I shall find one.

VUTHSA
Do it. The rest is easy,
To break the keepers of the city-gate
In one fierce moment and be out and far.
There are arms enough in the palace.

MUNJOOLICA
The armoury
I use sometimes.

VUTHSA
Conceal them in the grounds.
No, in the chariot let them wait for me.

MUNJOOLICA
Thou will need both thy hands in such a fight.
Vuthsa, I’ll be thy charioteer.

VUTHSA
Thou canst?

MUNJOOLICA
Hope not to find a better in thy realms.

VUTHSA
My battle-comrade then! Words are not needed
Between us.

He goes out.

MUNJOOLICA
More than that before all’s a done
I will be to thee. Good fortune makes hard things
Most easy; for the god comes with laden hands.
If the strange word the queen half spoke to me
Means anything, Vicurna’s car shall bear
His sister to her joy and sovereign throne.