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Dialogue following No. 15


Yussuf. Heart's Desire!

Desire. There! I thought I heard your voice. How did you pass the gates? And where have you come from? And why are you so ragged?

Yussuf. I have not passed the gates, for I passed the night in a rose bush in the Royal garden.

Desire. But why?

Yussuf. When I had seen you enter the Palace last night, out of breath, but in the nick of time — I did not leave the garden!

Desire. Oh, that was foolish!

Yussuf. I forgot I was in the garden, when you left it; for you took the perfume and the moonlight with you.

Enter Honey-of-Life and Scent-of-Lilies.

Desire. And I thought I had left Fairyland outside — with you.

Honey. Breakfast is ready!

Scent (to Yussuf). What are you doing here?

Yussuf. I am waiting to see the Sultan, when he gives public audience, to ask him to give me my Heart's Desire; to tell him frankly and openly and proudly how and when I
met her, that I love her, and want her for my wife.

Honey. I wouldn't do that.

Scent. No, I don't think that would be wise.

Desire. Why not, pray?

Honey. Oh, we're not jealous — don't think that.

Scent. Some people notice us, you know.

Honey. The Grand Vizier is quite good enough for me!

Scent. The Royal Executioner is all I want!

Honey. But if you blurt out how and when you met us we shall be thrown down a well. We've found that out.

Scent. I have been sitting on the Executioner's knee, looking at his illustrated Book of Tortures. That's what happens to girls who disguise themselves and leave the Harem. A deep —

Honey. Dark —

Desire. Dry —

Yussuf. Well!

Desire (to Yussuf). Perhaps it would be wise to disguise the facts, dear, a little, if you can — to the Sultan.

Yussuf. I am a Story-Teller by profession — not in private life. Can you marry me if I tell deliberate falsehoods?

Desire. Well, darling, I sha'n't be able to if you don't — that's the point.

Scent. That's it.

Honey. In a nutshell.


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