A room in Vasavadutta’s apartments.
So thou hast dared to come.
I have. Thou, dare
To look me in the eyes! Thou canst not. Then?
Hast thou no fear of punishment at all?
For shutting thee in with heaven? None, none at all.
How didst thou dare?
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.
Vindictive traitress, I will beat thee.
And I will laugh and ask thee of the night.
Then take thy chastisement.
She seizes and beats her with the tassels of her girdle.
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.
See what thou hast done!
How shall I look my father in the eyes?
What speak? What do? My Vuthsa how protect?
Thy father must not know of this.
My joy can be shut in from every eye?
Besides thee I have other serving girls.
None who’ld betray thee. This thing known, his wrath
Would strike thy husband.
Me rather. I will throw
My heart and body, twice his shield, between.
You be torn apart and Vuthsa penned
In some deep pit or fiercer vengeance taken
To soothe the stern man’s outraged heart.
Thou hast a brain; give me thy counsel. The ill
Thyself hast done, must thou not remedy?
If thou entreat me much, I will and can.
I shall entreat thee!
Help thyself, proud child.
O, if I have thee at advantage ever!
Stay! I beseech thee, my Munjoolica, –
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.
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.
I promise. Thou art my guide
And I will walk religiously thy path.
Then think it done.
smiling on Vuthsa who enters
Vuthsa, I asked not for thee.
Thou didst. I heard thy heart demand me.
What is this noise and laughter in the count?
See, see, the hunchbacked laughable old man!
Surely I know well those eyes.
Munjoolica, this is a friend. He must
Be brought here to me.
Princess, let us call him.
It is an admirable buffoon.
Fie on thee!
Is this an hour for jest and antics?
MUNJOOLICA looking significantly at her
And thou go in.
Hast thou not promised to obey me?
She goes in. Munjoolica descends.
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?
If he has a tongue as famous as his hump
And as preposterous; that to learn I bring him.
Where is the only lady of the age?
Princes or else domestics, –
Something, sir, or both.
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.
Why not to Avunthie’s governor and a prison,
VASUNTHA looking at Vuthsa
What’s this? What’s this?
Strong tonic for a young old man.
Thy message; there are only friends who hear.
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.
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.
In my own strength all else I’ll do.
Good, then I go?
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.
Leave that to me.
Thou hast adventured much
For my sake.
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.
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.
Tell me thy plan.
These chambers are too strongly kept.
Let Vasavadutta call
Her brothers on an evenings to the park
And wise flow fast. The nights are moonlit now.
How many gates?
Three, but she southern portal
Nearest the ramparts.
There, how many guard?
Three armed Kiratha women keep the gate.
I cannot hurt them. Thou must find a way.
They shall be drowned in wine. The streets outside?
A chariot, – find one for me. I cannot fight
With Vasavadutta on my breast.
That I shall find one.
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.
I use sometimes.
Conceal them in the grounds.
No, in the chariot let them wait for me.
Thou will need both thy hands in such a fight.
Vuthsa, I’ll be thy charioteer.
Hope not to find a better in thy realms.
My battle-comrade then! Words are not needed
He goes out.
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.