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Dialogue following No. 4


Enter Yussef.

Yussef. Hassan! Ho, Hassan! Hassan, I say!

Enter Heart's Desire.

Desire. Sir, do not call so loudly! The Royal Guard might hear you and —

Yussef. Follow you? They would be more clever than I, for I cannot follow you, in your
fear of them. But you and your friends can stay here in safety.

Desire. Do you know the Lord of this house?

Yussef. By hearsay. Everyone has heard of "Mad Hassan."

Desire. Oh, is he a mad gentleman?

Yussef. Nay, except that he keeps open house for all and any, and thus his charity
begins at home and will end in the workhouse.

Desire. I will call my friends. (Signals with her veil.) Oh, sir, it is kind of you to have interested yourself in a poor party of dancing and singing girls.

Yussef. It is in one only that I take an interest, and I shall take it wherever I go!

Desire. Sir, I am a perfect stranger to you.

Yussef. Perfect you are indeed, but why should you be a stranger? Tell me your name, and whence you come and whither you go — (putting arm round waist) — and why
you were frightened by meeting the Sultan and his guards?

Desire. Do not press me, as you are a gentleman.

Yussef. But I am not. I am a poor devil of a Professional Tale-Teller, who makes a
sorry living out of telling funny stories — and here I think I have found one in real life!

Desire. I do not judge gentlemen by their coats.

Yussef. Nor do I judge all dancing girls by their petticoats, or I should deem you and
your companions as bold as brass — as such girls are — while, look! your three friends are creeping hither one by one, as timid as fawns crossing a glade. You are no professional dancers!

Desire. You mistake, sir! We are indeed all as bold as — as —

Enter Honey-of-Life, nervously.

Yussef. As one another?

Honey. Is it safe to hide here?

Desire. Hush! Why, what is there to be afraid of?

Honey. I like that! You have led us into this, perhaps you will lead us out!

Enter Scent-of-Lilies. Drums heard.

Scent. Hark! That is how the drums roll when they execute anybody — just like that.

Desire. Hush! What are you afraid of?

Scent. Of being executed, of course.


Enter Rose-in-Bloom. She runs to Heart's Desire and throws herself into her arms.

Rose. Oh, Heart's Desire!

Yussef. (aside). "Heart's Desire!"

Rose. I trust myself to you!

Desire. (aside). Be brave, royal mistress; all will be well. (To Yussef.) Good night, sir. We will claim this Hassan's hospitality for a little. Leave us — forget us — ask no more questions.

Yussef. I need ask no questions, for I know your name, Heart's Desire, and I can guess whence you come and whither you go — the Sultan's palace. You are a party of
royal slaves.

Rose. A slave — I!

Honey. Did she tell you that?

Scent. How did you guess that?

Desire. Yes; how did you make such a silly guess as that?

Yussef. Fear not. I do not tell tales out of school. (Looks earnestly at Heart's
Desire, who returns the look.)

Desire. I thank you with all my heart.

Yussef. All thy heart would be a greater gift than I could ever deserve. Yet some day
I may ask for it. (Goes to exit, and then turns before leaving.) Do not fear. The Sultan and his guard will not return to the palace yet awhile. I know their ways. And when they have gone their ways I will return and tell you. Peace be on you!

Exit Yussef.

Desire. And on you Peace! (Stands watching him off.)

Scent. He is going to betray us. I am sure of it.

Desire. Oh, no!

Rose. (to Heart's Desire). Run after him and watch!

Desire. Let me wait here, Rose-in-Bloom. When the coast is clear he will return.

Scent. Look!

Rose. Good gracious! What?

Scent. Your ring! You are wearing your royal signet! That is more than enough to
betray us!

Desire. Give it to me. (Takes ring from Rose-in-Bloom.) There is nothing to fear. He
said so. This is an experience. We are seeing life — let us enjoy it while we can.

Scent. (very gloomily). Yes, while we can. It won't be long, mark my words.


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