A dramatic interlude

Cyber-friend and fellow blogger Somewhere Boy draws my attention to this scene from the 1934 play Victoria Regina by Laurence Housman, brother of A. E. Housman of  A Shropshire Lad fame.

Enjoy! 

(In his dressing-room, Prince Albert is preparing to shave himself, when suddenly the door opens, and Queen Victoria enters. At first we only see her head, in a pretty nightcap, but presently she is all there, wearing a rose-coloured dressing-gown, and over it a white shawl. She looks very happy and charming.)

Queen: Albert, may I come in?
Albert: Yes, Dearest, if you wish to.

(She gazes in pleased astonishment at a spectacle she has never seen before: the foam of shaving-soap on a human countenance is something quite new to her.)

Q.: What are you doing?
A.: Shaving.
Q.: Oh! How exciting! May I stay, and watch you?
A.: If it would interest you, Weibchen.
Q.: But of course: to see you shaving is wonderful! Something I never thought of.
A.: Oh? Did you think one did not have to shave at all?
Q.: I never thought about it – till now … You see, Albert, I have never seen a man
shaving himself before.
A.: No, I suppose not.
Q.: How often do you have to do it? Once a week?
A.: Every day.
Q.: Every day! But how absurd! It can’t grow as fast as all that.
A.: Oh yes, it does.
Q.: How very troublesome! Why, I only cut my nails once a week.
A.: Nails can wait longer; beards won’t.
Q.: I wouldn’t like you to have a beard.
A.: Nor would I. That’s why I am taking it off now.

(He now begins to shave.)

Q.: How strange it looks! … and how interesting! – … Is it dangerous?
A.: Not if you don’t talk to me.
Q. (a little startled): Oh!
A.: – not just while I am stroking myself.
Q.: Stroking yourself! Oh, Albert, you are funny!
A.: Is that not the right word? Ought I to have said “wiping myself”? – or what?
Q.: Really, I’m not quite sure, Albert. It’s a part of the English language which
from not having to know – I’ve not been taught.
A.: Ah, Vicky! It is nice to hear you say that! Then you, too, do not know the English language quite like a native. For that – if it were not for the soup – I would kiss you.
Q.: The soup?
A.: This, I mean.
Q.: Oh! Not “soup”, Albert darling. Soap!
A.: Ah, soap, then.
Q.: But I don’t mind the soap, Albert – your soap – if you would like to.
A.: Very well, then; now I will.

(Having wiped his lips, he kisses her, and then goes on with his shaving.)

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9 responses to this post.

  1. I want to believe this conversation actually took place – for if it did not – then it should have done. It illustrates the restricted up-bringing of the young Princess who became “the Grandmother of Europe” and the charm and diffidence of her husband.

    I remember hearing of a conversation between the (then) Prime Minister and the mother of Queen Victoria – when young Vicky became Queen; the German born woman was delighted “Ahh I shall be the Queen Mother” to which the Prime Minister replied “No Madam – the Queen’s Mother” a subtle but pointedly stated difference !! – it is said that her stout person and heavily accented English did not serve to endear her to many people at the Palace.

    Reply

  2. When I read that kind of dialogue, I almost wish we hadn’t guillotined our queen and king…Very funny indeed. In return, I wonder what Albert knew about women stuff.

    Reply

  3. Posted by alan on September 21, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    as I recall they did have 9 children together…

    Reply

  4. Patricia – I too hope that Victoria & Albert had conversations such as this!

    Emma – I am afraid England got their first: the English beheaded their king in 1649, almost one and a half centuries before the French cottoned on to the idea! 🙂 But yes – dialogue such as this does make one grateful that one still has a monarchy. Or something…

    Alan – as well as having nine children, I believe Albert regularly “stroked hmself”!

    Reply

  5. Posted by alan on September 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I’ll admit to being mildly curious as as to the etymology of the body piercing known as a ‘Prince Albert’. However, my curiosity does not extend to the dubious pleasure of actually looking it up.

    Reply

  6. I am not trying to hijack this conversation – but you may not be hearing from me for a while – I was visiting and was acknowledged on “CoolVibes” logged out for a moment – and when I wanted to log in they gave me WordPress to log-in.
    Used the regular log-in and was told I needed to sign up so I used my patriciaenola and my WordPress email addy and was told it belongs to someone else – please if you have any advice Himadri – will you kindly help and I apologise for this use of your site but I do not know of anyone else to ask

    Reply

    • Hello Patricia, I really don’t know that I can be of any help on this. I never did understand teh various intricacies of these matters. However, WordPress has certainly been playing uo this morning, so it may just be a temporary issue. In any case, the post that I am replying to now has cme up without any problem in your name, so maybe all isn’t lost. I guess if the worst comes to the worst you could always create a new WordPress account. Sorry not to be of much help, but these matters are well outside my field of expertise, I fear! Whatever happens, I do hope to see you around here.

      Reply

  7. Well and good – and thanks for the reply – I see it is working now and the Moderators of the other site may respond to the email I sent to them – I have Incredimail – because I am a Creator of Internet stationery – OMGs – we have “fun and Games” with then – your reply here has helped very well

    Reply

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