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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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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. I thank you with all my heart.
Yussef. All thy heart would be a greater gift than I could ever deserve. Yet some day
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.
Rose. Good gracious! What?
Scent. Your ring! You are wearing your royal signet! That is more than enough to
Desire. Give it to me. (Takes ring from Rose-in-Bloom.) There is nothing to fear. He
Scent. (very gloomily). Yes, while we can. It won't be long, mark my words.
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