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THE NAUTCH GIRL or The Rajah of Chutneypore An Indian comic opera; two acts; libretto by George Dance; Lyrics by George Dance and Frank Desprez; Music by Edward Solomon. Savoy Theatre, London, 30 June 1891 STORY ACT 1 The scene is the distant province of Chutneypore and the arrival of Indru, son of the local rajah. Indru is disposed to be democratic today for he is in love. But Indru is a high caste Brahmin and he is in love with Hollee Beebee, a lady of low caste, the principal dancer of the touring Nautch troupe run by Baboo Currie. Baboo Currie tries to ease the problem of caste difference by the denigration of Beebee's qualities, not least because he has no wish to have the prettiest dancer of his troupe leave for marriage. The Nautch troupe enters and Indru breaks the latest bit of bad news to Hollee. His royal father has discovered their love; if only she were a Brahmin! Beebee explains that she is or, rather, was. Unfortunately, forty years previously her father fell into a river and was rescued by being hauled ashore at the end of a rope. The man at the other end of the rope was a Pariah, however, and, by a court decision, the taint of dishonour passed down the rope and her father's caste was lost. Since then, Beebee's family has seen its wealth disappear in legal expenses trying to get this decision reversed by a competent tribunal. It is to pay for a Counsel's opinion on a technical point that Beebee has taken her current engagement as a Nautch girl. The court is still sitting, but the judge has influenza and should anything happen to him the case will have to begin all over again. Punka, the Rajah of Chutneypore and Indru's father, arrives. Punka suffers from a nasty social condition called consanguinity which has led him to place anyone who claims the slightest kinship with him in a salaried government post. In fact he loathes his relations, especially the Vizier Pyjama. It is Pyjama who is the cause of the other national problem: the missing diamond eye of Bumbo, the National Idol. Beebee explains to the Rajah that she would never have looked at Indru had she known of his position and assures him that she is doing all she can to get a Court judgement which will restore her Brahmin rank. The Rajah informs her that should she succeed she has his permission to call at the palace any Monday morning between ten and twelve when, if Indru has given up and married elsewhere and he himself has become a widower, he would be inclined to offer her first refusal on himself But now Indru returns in the rags of a Pariah. He has purposely 'eaten a little potted meat', thus giving up his caste and his royal position and becoming Beebee's equal. They can be married right away. This double-quick wedding does not please Punka, nor does it please Chinna Loofah, an unmarried lady of more-than-twenty who is a victim to sudden overwhelming 'Affinities' for various gentlemen. It is a source of great amusement to Pyjama who comes to announce that Beebee's court case is over, she has won and is a Brahmin again. Pyjama glowing with righteousness quotes chapter and verse the law which condemns both a Brahmin and his or her lower caste spouse to a traitor's death. Just when all seems darkest, Baboo Currie comes to the rescue. He has a ship at anchor waiting to take his troupe off on a European tour and Beebee is hurried aboard. Pyjama's soldiers arrest Indru as the ship lifts anchor and he watches miserably as his bride sails away to another continent.