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Dialogue following No. 13


Sultan. Is this Hassan the eccentric?

Vizier (aside). O King, live for ever! It is.

Hassan (regarding the Sultan, etc.). You are — let me see — four or eight — no four Dogs of Dervishes!

Sultan. True, O Hassan!

Hassan (with an air of condescension). You don't know what I am. I didn't know myself, till quite lately. I am the one man in all Persia who doesn't care a fig for the Sultan!

Sultan. What?

Hassan. Or his Executioner. (Eating Bhang.)

Sultan. (aside). Does he know me?

Executioner. O King, I don't see how he can!

Physician. O Commander of the Faithful! This man is mad from the effects of an overdose of Bhang.

Sultan. You are sure?

Physician. I know the symptoms, O King! He will consider himself a person of more and more importance, until he suddenly falls unconscious. Then he will sleep for ten hours.

Enter Yussuf.

Hassan. If the Royal Executioner were to come here and try to execute me, I'd wring
his neck!

Yussuf. Madman!

Sultan. And why do you care nothing for the Sultan?

Hassan. Why, dog? Because I am his equal in birth, breeding, education, and personal appearance. I see you are sniggering. (To Yussuf.) Will you go away? (To
Sultan.)
What would you say if I were to tell you that I am the Sultan himself, myself.

Sultan. I should say that you were not quite your own self.

Hassan. Well, I am not really myself — I am the Sultan! You are sniggering again! If
I am not the Sultan, why is Rose-in-Bloom, the Sultana, in my house, eh?

Sultan. Rose-in-Bloom?

Yussuf. Fool — what are you saying?

Hassan. You must be very deaf. I said, if I am not the Sultan, why is the Sultana in
my house, eh?

Sultan. Do not joke of her. It is dangerous!

Hassan. Joke? (A short pause — then quickly.) I will fetch her.

Yussuf. He is mad! —

Exit Hassan.

Sultan. Quite!

Yussuf (aside). What can I say to them? (Aloud.) It is a dancing girl that his mad
imagination has dubbed Rose-in-Bloom. He believes himself the Sultan, and this dancer has taken advantage of his madness and called herself the Sultana! And he believes it! Ha! Ha! It was a merry jest of the girl.

Exit Yussuf.

Sultan. A sorry jest for the girl to call herself my Rose-in- Bloom — to bring contempt upon the Queen! She shall be punished. And this Hassan too shall be cured of Bhang- eating. (To Vizier, etc.) Go, all of you, change your disguise for your official dress, and return hither at once with the Royal Guards. Accept this madman's story — treat him as if he were the Sultan — confirm his statement that Hassan and the Sultan are the same — and conduct him to the palace, willy-nilly. Leave me here, and leave the punishment of this
impudent dancer to me. Go, and return quickly.

All. We hear you and obey.

Exeunt Vizier, Physician, and Executioner.


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