|You are here: > The Rose of Persia > > Act I
Exeunt Chorus. Enter Hassan.
Hassan: Peace be on you!
Abdallah: And on you Peace! I am here to threaten you with chastisement.
Hassan: Won't you sit down? (Going to exit.)
Abdallah: You are going out? (Detaining him.)
Hassan: Yes. But you needn't.
Enter Dancing Sunbeam.
Abdallah: You are going to collect beggars and cripples and worthless characters, and make night hideous with the riff-raff of the town. Therefore you are either mad or bad.
Abdallah: I am empowered by my office to say that you are possessed of an evil spirit. And I will recite to you a rhyming recipe for the casting out of devils, written by the most eminent Poet-Priest in Persia — myself.
Hassan: Don't trouble.
Abdallah: It is a pleasure. Listen. A man is mad — some spirit bad has probably possessed him; And we proceed at once to bleed him — after we have blessed him; When he's so weak he cannot speak — our efforts do not falter; We tie his hands with leather bands, and hang him on a halter; When he almost gives up the ghost, we cut him down and kick him.
Hassan: What for?
Abdallah: To drive out the evil spirits. (Continuing.) And afterwards with knives and swords we lacerate and prick him; And then, to make that spirit vile dislike its human domicile, and deem possession not worth while — With towels wet we flick him!
Hassan: Thank you!
Abdallah: And you intend to apply that prescription to him?
Abdallah: At once. (To Dancing Sunbeam.) If you will provide me with a few strong cords, swords, whips, and perhaps a pitchfork, I will give him the first dose without delay.
Abdallah: With joy and alacrity.
Exit Dancing Sunbeam.
Hassan: A good, kind creature! (To Abdallah.) Will you excuse me if I make my will? (Drawing parchment and pen from pocket.)
Abdallah: It would not be worth the parchment you write it on. You are mad.
Hassan: Ah! My will would only be valid providing I am perfectly sane?
Hassan: The reason I ask is, that I intended making a will absolutely in your favour. Now, you see, if I am mad, such a will would mean nothing; but if it means anything, it means that you inherit my fortune, and that I am perfectly sane. As an expert, which would you say I am — mad or sane?
Abdallah: My son, such a deed as you propose would prove conclusively that evil spirits have left you — and I would leave you in possession of as good spirits as my own.
Hassan: Then that's settled. Go in peace.
Abdallah: I will tarry a little until the will is written in case the evil spirits return to you.
Hassan: Oh, very well. (Commencing to write.) You are not afraid of my making another will revoking this?
Abdallah: No. For the laws of the Medes and the Persians is unalterable, and therefore as a Persian will is a Persian legal document, it cannot be altered.
Hassan: I never thought of that.
Abdallah: I did. (Hassan continues to write. Drums heard in the distance.) Hark! The royal drums! The Sultan has returned two days before he was expected.
Hassan: Oh! I take no interest in court and society.
Abdallah: Yet the Sultan takes an interest in you; for the other day I complained to him of you and your evil life.
Hassan: Oh, did you? Now look here, it is understood between us that when I have signed this, my evil life, as you call it, is nothing to anybody; it is a thing of the past — wiped out, eh?
Abdallah: Yes. When you have signed that, you can count your evil life as a thing of the past.
Enter Blush-of-Morning carrying ropes, swords, etc.
Hassan: There! (Handing document.)
Blush: Oh, if you please, Dancing Sunbeam says are these what you require for casting out the evil spirit, and she is borrowing a chopper and a garden roller from next door.
Hassan: We don't require them now, thank you. (Enter Dancing Sunbeam.) I'm cured.
Abdallah: Cured? How was the cure effected?
Hassan: By will power.
Blush: (to Abdallah). You must be in possession of a remarkable will.
Abdallah: I am. (Pocketing will.)
Dancing Sunbeam: Hearken, Abdallah! The cure is not complete. Let our husband have this treatment; even if he succumb to it. We understand each other?
Abdallah: I think there is a chance of his perishing suddenly in a few hours.
Blush: Oh, dear!
Abdallah: Tush, girl! If misfortune take him, we shall take his fortune. Our cloud would have a golden lining.
Dancing Sunbeam: I am like Bluebeard's little Fatima. Social position is the one door closed against me; but some day I mean to open it, cost what it may!