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SAN DIEGO 



KISMET 



KISMET 

AN "ARABIAN NIGHT" 

IN THREE ACTS 



BY 

EDWARD KNOBLAUCH 



NEW YORK 
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY 



Copyright, 1911, 
By Edward Knoblauch 



TO THE MEMORY OF 
RICHARD BURTON 

ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ENGLISHMEN AND ONE 

OF THE LEAST UNDERSTOOD ; WITHOUT 

WHOM THIS PLAY NEVER COULD 

HAVE BEEN WRITTEN 



2013907 



CHARACTERS 

(/ order of their appearance) 

MEN 
RA/J 

THE MUEZZIN 

THE IMAM MAHMUD 

A MUFTI 

THE GUIDE NASIJI 

THE SHEIKH JAWAN 

THE BEGGAR KASIM 

AMRU ) OL i 
ZAYD / Shopkeepers 

AMRU'S APPRENTICE 

ZAYD'S APPRENTICE 

THE CALIPH ABDALLAH 

THE WAZIR ABU BAKR 

THE WAZIR MANSUR 

KAFUR, Mansur's sworder 

AFIFE, his secretary 

THE CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH 

AN ATTENDANT OF MANSUR 

A CHAMBERLAIN OF THE CALIPH 

A HERALD OF THE CALIPH 

A BLIND MAN 

A CHINAMAN 

THK GAOLER KUTAYT 



WOMEN 

MARSINAH, Hajj's daughter 
NARJIS, her nurse 
KABIRAH, an old woman 
MISKAH, a slave 
KUT-AL-KULUB, Mansur's first wife. 

GUARDS, WAZIRS, DIGNITARIES, COURTIERS, SOLDIERS, 

EUNUCHS, SHOPKEEPERS, BUYERS, ETC. 
WOMEN OF THE HARIM, DANCERS, SLAVES, ETC. 

BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

THE MAN 
THE WOMAN 
THE STORY TELLER 
THE JUGGLER 
THE DANCER 



ACT I 

MORNING 

SCENB I. A Street before the Mosque of the Carpenters. 
II. The Suk (Bazaar Street) of the Tailors. 

III. The Courtyard of a poor House. 

IV. A Hall in the Wazir Mansur's Mansion. 

ACT II 

AFTERNOON 

SCENB I. A Hall in the Wazir Mansur's Mansion. (Same 
as Act /., Scene IV.) 

II. The Courtyard of a poor House. (Same as Act /., 
Scene III.) 

III. The Diwan (Audience Hall) of the Caliph's 

Palace. 

IV. The Prison of the Palace. 

ACT III 
EVENING 
SCENB I. The Hammam of Mansur's Harim. 

II. A Street before the Mosque of the Carpenters. 
(Same as Act /., Scene I.) 

The scene is laid in the Baghdad of the" Arabian Nights" 
The action takes place from morning to night. 



CAST OF THE PLAY 

AS PRODUCED AT THE KNICKERBOCKER THEATRE, 

NEW YORK, 25x11 DECEMBER, 1917 

MEN 

HAJJ Otis Skinner 

THE MUEZZIN - ... T. Tamamoto 

THE IMAM MAHMUD ... *, ... Del de Louis 

A MUFTI ., ... ... John Webster 

THE GUIDE NASIR Sydney Mather 

THE SHEIKH JAWAN Sheridan Block 

THE BEGGAR KASIM Macey Harlan 

AMRU ... Daniel Jarrett 

ZAYD Harrison Carter 

AMRU'S APPRENTICE Gregory Kelly 

THE CALIPH ABDALLAH Fred Eric 

THE WAZIR ABU BAK& Henry Mitchell 

THE WAZIR MANSUR Hamilton Revelle 

KAFUR George Relph 

AFIFE Bennett Kilpack 

CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH Richard Scott 

AN ATTENDANT OF MANSUR... ... William Lorenz 

A CHAMBERLAIN OF THE CALIPH ... Thomas Audley 

THE GAOLER KUTAYT ... Martin Sanders ^ 

WOMEN 

MARSINAH ... Rita Jolivet 

NARJIS Georgia Woodthorpe 

KABIRAH Amelia Barleon 

THE ALMAH ... Violet Romer 

MISKAH Merle Maddern 

Kirr-AL-KULUB ... Eleanor Gordon 

BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

THE MAN Ernest Leeman 

THE WOMAN Roma Devonne 

THE STORY TELLER ... Mervyn Rentoul 

THE JUGGLER ... ... ... . Youna 

THE DANCER Violet Romer 



The Play produced by HARRISON GREY FISKE 
The Music composed by WILLIAM FURST 
The Costumes designed by PERCY ANDERSON 



r^x--** 



CAST OF THE PLAY 

AS PRODUCED AT THE GARRICK THEATRE, LONDON, 
IQTH APRIL, 1911 

MEN 

HAJJ Oscar Asche 

THE MUEZZIN Alfred Bristowe 

THE IMAM MAHMUD Charles A. Doran 

A MUFTI Arthur Trantom 

THE GUIDE NASIR ... ... ... R. Ian Penny 

THE SHEIKH JAWAN Caleb Porter 

THE BEGGAR KASIM ... ... ... Tripp Edgar 

AMRU Athol Forde 

ZAYD R. F. Anson 

THE CALIPH ABDALLAH Ben Webster 

THE WAZIR ABU BAKR Ewan Brooke 

THE WAZIR MANSUR Herbert Grimwood 

KAFUR George Relph 

AFIFE ... A. Winspeare 

CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH D. Atherton 

AN ATTENDANT OF MANSUR H. Franklin 

A BLIND MAN E. Adeney 

A CHINAMAN Gordon Harker 

A CHAMBERLAIN OF THE CALIPH ... G. Fitzgerald 

THE GAOLER KUTAYT J. Fritz Russell 

WOMEN 

MARSINAH ... ... Lily Brayton 

NARJIS Bessie Major 

KABIRAH ... ... D. England 

THE ALMAH .. ... Nancy Denvers 

MISKAH ... Muriel Hutchinson 

KuT-AL-KULUB Saba Raleigh 

BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

THE MAN Ernest Leeman 

THE WOMAN ... ... Dorothy Moulton 

THE STORY TELLER Ewan Brooke 

THE JUGGLER E. Selton 

THE DANCER Nancy Denvers 

The Play produced by OSCAR ASCHE 

The Music composed by CHRISTOPHER WILSON 

The Costumes designed by PERCY ANDERSON 



NOTES 

The exclamation " Yehh ! " which occurs in the play, is an 
Arab cry of surprise ; the exclamation " Awah ! " or " Wah ! " 
a cry of grief, synonymous with "Alas!" In both cases the 
final "h" is pronounced gutturally, something like the "ch" 
in the German " Ach 1 " or Scotch " Och I " 

The rhymed prose which occurs in moments of emotion is a 
peculiarity of Arab speech and literature. There are endless 
examples of it in Burton's " Arabian Nights." 

In addressing a person, "O" is always used as "O Hajj." 
If "O" is left out it is the sign of deliberate insult. This 
" O " is not emphasised except when expedient. 



KISMET 





A. large arch of Arabian design, with small doors right 
and left, frames in the whole picture. 

The MAN enters from the door of his house 
seats himself and sings : 

Lo ! StiH the stars of latter night are spread ! 
Yet hath sleep stolen from my lonely bed. 
So will I sit me on my rooftop's height, 
To cool my sadness till the dawning red. 

The WOMAN enters from her house right t seats 
herself and sings : 

Yehh ! Still the moon hangs on the lips of night 

To mock my solitude with love-deligb*. f C/- 

O heavy hour of a longing breast, 

Thy weight will crush me ere the t'Cf ak of light ! 

The MAN 

Wah ! That some song might soothe 

oppress'd, 
Some ancient melody of days more bless'd. 

The WOMAN 

Awah, that some strange tale of long ago 
Might by its magic bring my bosom rest 1 






14 BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

BOTH 

Thou, Bestower of all things, bestow 
This benediction on Thy servant low 1 

The STORY TELLER enters through the curtains 
and speaks : 

ITORY TELLER. Praise be to Allah, the King of all 
Kings, the Creator of all things ! Who like to a 
carpet hath spread, the Earth to our tread. And 
even as a tent, set up the firmament, overhead. 
And on Mohammed, his Prophet among men, the 
blessing of blessings again and again, Amen. (He 
sits.) But afterwards. Verily the works and words 
of those gone before us have become examples 
and admonitions to the men of our later day. And 
of such a kind is the story of Hajj, the beggar, 
who lived his life in this our peaceful city of Bagh- 
dad, one thousand years and one year ago. Now 
it is the tale of his day of the days that I will relate 
unto you, O auspicious listeners. Do ye take heed 
therein of the lesson taught by Fate, which the 
poets call Kismet. And mark well the chances 
and changes of time foredoomed to mortal man : 
lifting him now high, now sinking him low, even 
as the bucket in the well. (He rises.) But Allah 
alone is all knowing. 

He withdraws. 

The MAN and WOMAN rise and sing: 

1 hearken with my heart upon the ground, 

Nor from my breathless lips shall rise a sound : 
Awake, O day of days, and run thy round ! 

Then they turn and re-enter their respective 
houses. They have not seen each other. 




KISMET 15 





ACT I 

MORNING 

SCENE I. A Street before the Mosque of the 
Carpenters. 

(Right and left from the point of view of the actor.) 

In the centre, steps lead up to the Mosque, which is on 
the right. Only the lower part of the minaret is 
visible. A large stone to the left of the steps forms 
a rough seat. 

It is just before dawn, which rises rapidly ', so that it is 
daylight by the end of the scene. 

Asleep, on the stone, wrapped in his beggar's cloak of a V <^ 
hundred rags and patches, sits HAJJ, reclining 
against the angle of the wall. He is a man of 
about fifty, still in the full vigour of his manhood. 
His beard is thin and unkempt; but his face is 
keen, shrewd and full of humour. At a glance he 
shows himself to be a man of the people^ who lives 
by his wits, untroubled by what the morrow may 
bring him . At present he is sleeping the sleep of the 
Just to the tune of a hearty snore. 

After a few moments of peace, steps are heard in the 
alley left, and the MUEZZIN, an old man of seventy, 
appears with a lanthorn and a large key. He 
goes to the door of the Mosque and unlocks it. 

Gwkb bigm to w&wfar and near. 









16 KISMET 

The t{ brush " of the dawn Appears in the. s&y* - 

HAJJ (disturbed by the clatter, turns and yawns 
prodigiously stretching himself ".) 

* HAJJ. In the name of Allah, Day? 

THE MUEZZIN. (Coming towards him.) Peace be 

on thee, O Hajj. 
HAJJ. And on thee, peace and blessing, O my friend. 

(The MUEZZIN enters the Mosque?) 

(IMAM MAHMUD, a venerable white bearded sage, 
appears. HAJJ stifles a yawn, sits up, and 
assumes his beggar's attitude the right hand 
out, the head dejectedly on one side.) 

HAJJ. (As the IMAM comes to him in a whining sing- 

song.) Alms, for the love of Allah ! For the love 

of Allah, alms ! 
MAHMUD. (Handing HAJJ a small round loaf.) 

Take ! The Giver giveth thee this. (He crosses in 

front of HAJJ and goes ut> the steps.) 
HAJJ. (Taking the bread.) Verily, thy good deeds 

shall witness for the* on the day of judgment, O 

Mahmud. 
MAHMUD. (Stopping.) The peace upon thee and a 

full harvest of tears and pity for thy poverty. 
HAJJ. Nay, sooner pray it be a full hand of silver 

and gold. 
MAHMUD. That shall be even as Allah foredooms. 

Naught befalls us but what His pen hath written. 
HAJJ. Praise be to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent. 
MAHMUD. And to Mohammed his P/ophet, whom 

Allah bless and preserve. (He goes into the Mosque.) (_ 

(HAJJ looks after him, grunts, and then turns 
and fumbles behind the stone, pulling out a 
chipped, earthen nig of water. He then 
mumbles "In the name of Allah" drinks 
from the jug and munches his bread, smacking 
his lips loudly.) 




KISMET 

(Meanwhile^ from the minaret the voice of the 
MUEZZIN is heard calling to prayer, and other 
distant calls to prayer may be heard from 
various quarters?) 

-Allah is Almighty, Allah is Almighty ! 

There is no God but Allah 1 ./There is no God but 

Allah ! / /' 

Come ye to prayer ! Come ye to salvation ! 
Prayer is better than sleep ! Prayer is better than sleep ! 
No God is there but Allah ! 

(Steps resound in the streets. HAJJ quickly 

conceals his bread and jug behind the stone. /? ifjf* 
Men now come at intervals by the two alleys 
and enter the Mosque. At the threshold they 
take off their slippers with their left hand, 
entering with the right foot ', ejaculating^ "In 
the name of Allah?} 

HAJJ. Alms for a starving brother. Bind a body 
and soul together ! O master ! Thy large brow 
proclaims an open heart. A danik ! A fils ! ( The 
MAN gives a coin and passes on.) Heaven hath 
seen this, O my master. In the name of the >.-,, v 
CompassionaFing, the Compassionate ! A blessing 
on thy white beard. Thou art nearing thy grave 1 
Buy thy salvation from thy slave. ( The MAN passes 
on murmuring '''Allah will give it thee") Nothing. 
May'st thou burn for it, O thou dog ! ( To another.) *i>>0 1 
O brother, mine eyes have failed me ! (He rolls up 
his eyes.) Hast thou a blind father or one dearest 
to thee groping in darkness? (The MAN gives a 
coin and passes on.) A dirham ! The Bestower 
requite it thee, O my lord. (To another.) O Azir, 
my master, I see thee well, though it scarce be day. 
Is he better, thy son, the light of thy house ? Be 
his fever abated? (The MAN passes on muttering 
" Allah will provide") Nought ? May the Ghuls -7^ *- 
suck away thy bastard's breath. (To another.) O 

c 




18 KISMET 

stranger 1 Not so quickly. Haste is from Hell ; 
ft-will wail fui thuu. > ( To a young man) O 
fair youth, a trifle. On my knees have I lain here 
these endless years. . (The MAN gives him a coin.) 
Th Protector increase thy weal. (To the MUFTI, 
an old man) O Mufti a word. Thou knowest 
the bitterness of a long life and a weary. I am 
young, alas. All my sad days stretch before me. 

THE MUFTI. Please Allah to-morrow 

HAJJ. (Getting between the MUFTI and the steps of the 
Mosque) Thou dost ever say to-morrow. 

THE MUFTI. (Laughing.) And is not to-morrow 
ever to-morrow ? 

HAJJ. True. The stench of thy soul lessens not 
from dawn to dawn. 

THE MUFTI. Out of my way. (He pushes past HAJJ 
\ into the Mosque) 

HAJJ. With joy and gladness for thy way leads to 
/,!-' damnation. (Several men enter singly and by twos as 

HAJJ continues in a sing-song tone.) Glory be to Allah ! 
Upon Allah dependeth daily bread. Thy wealth 
is not thine own, O rich man. Thou art as poor 
as the poorest. Allah alone giveth, and what he 
giveth belongeth not to thee. Thy gold is but a 
blessing to become a blessing. Then open thy 
purse and let the afflicted bend to the holy House 
of Meccah for thee, and every danik out of thy 
hand will return to tbibe a thousandfold through the 
prayers of the poor. ' ^L^^ \, 

(Men have gone into the Mosque, some giving coin, 
others passing on. From the street on the ItfL ' ' 
the guide NASIR enters conducting the SHEIKH 
JAWAN, an old man, who is leaning on two 
black slaves and followed by two others. He 
is clothed completely in white, his face veiled by 
a " Taylasan," a scarf hiding his beard. He 
is over sixty and paralysed in his legs, but 




u 



KISMET 19 

his eyes are still full of fire. Two SLAVES 
retire. Slowly the SHEIKH mounts the steps 
supported by the other Two SLAVES. ^^ 

(HAJ j catches hold of the hem of his cloak.) ^*^ 

/ C HAJJ. Alms, for the love of Allah 1 For the love of - 

Allah, alms ! lYfifl 1C 4 

U- JAWAN. (Turning.) O Hajj, thou? C'ti 

HAJJ. (Surprised, rising and following him.) Thou 

knowest me ? 

JAWAN. Thou still here mumbling for crusts ? (He 
laughs, a nasal laugh, mockingly) He, he, he 1 

(NASIR takes off JAWAN'S slippers.) 

HAJJ. (On the Mosque steps) Who art thou ? 
JAWAN. Who am I ? He, he 1 Who am I ? He, 
he, he ! 

(He turns with his slaves and goes off into the 
Mosque followed by the guide NASIR.) 

(HAJJ looks after him mystified and riveted by a 
haunting memory ; then slowly regains his 
seat, counting his profits as he does so. " One, 
two three five") 

(Meanwhile KASIM, a young, ragged, one-eyed 

beggar, has come and sat down on HAJJ'S seat. .JL c. ' 

He is busy tying some strips round one of his 

legs, quite unconscious of usurping anyone's " -. 

rights. HAJJ is about to sit, when he turns 

and, seeing KASIM, exclaims an amazed 

" Yehh / " He comes slowly up to the intruder 

and touches him provokingly on the arm.) 

HAJJ. (Squatting.) And what may thy business be ? 
KASIM. Canst thou not see ? I am a beggar even 

as thou. 
HAJJ. Thou even as I? Thou? Knowest thou 



what thou say'st ? 




C a 



H 



20 KISMET 

KASIM. My ears can hear my tongue. 

HAJJ. O monstrous piece of impudence ! A beggar 
even as I ? 'Tis plain thou art a stranger to 
Baghdad. I tVb<\ l fc-v Vrt 

KASIM. Thou hast said it. I come from afar. My 
name's Kasim. And thou ? 

HAJJ. I? I? Ha! ha! (Patronistngly.) O thou 

* poor fool But there, thou art a stranger. I ? I 

"" am Hajj Hajj, the beggar. C P^ 4uww*. 
/^ KASIM. Hajj ? A pilgrim ? Then thou hast been 
to Holy Meccab,? ^r*/.*..- } 

HAJI. Not I ! Never a foot have I stirred beyond 
our city walls. My parents called me Hajj at my 
birth, so that the sacred title might win me added 
pity from the passer-by. Not a child in the quarter 
but calleth me thus by name. I have sat upon that 
stone these fifty summers and winters, drinking the 
sun, and more oft than not the moon too, scorning 
the pent-up sleep of a bed.> 4(fk^ 

KASIM. (Sneeringly.) These fifty summers? Sayst 
thou so ? 

HAJJ. (Excitedly.) Yea! And before me my 

6 father sat there, superb in rags, and before him, his ; 

and so on to the beginning without beginning. That 
stone, O Kasim, is my legacy, my right, my strong- 
hold. Not till this hour hath man dared what thou 
darest. ft*s+~~i ^ ** \ 
KASIM. Then this hour endeth thy kingdom. I am 

come to conquer, f v-** 

HAJJ. I pray thee, O maggotty head, bandy no 
N .words. Go get thee to yon corner (He points to the 
corner left) if it like thee. Other swine have 
grovelled there in their time. My vilest enemy sat 
there once, these many weary years since. Take his 
place. 

KASIM. I'll not budge from here. 
HAJJ. How sayst thou ? Not budge ? A scum like 
thou ? A nail-pairing ? A goat's cheese at noon- 








KISMET 21 

tide ? Not budge ? We shall see, by Allah 1 We 
shall see 1 {_ 

(He seizes him and pushes him towards the corner?) 

KASIM. Let go ! Let go, I say ! Ho, Moslems, 
come ye to my help ! Let go ! 

HAJJ. (Holding KASIM at arm's length and kicking 
him.) Let go ? There ! How's that to thy taste ? 
Swallow that, an thou art an-hungered. A dainty 
dish of foot, and more to follow. One two three ! 
Another mouthful ? > 

(NASIR, the Guide of the Sheikh, has come out 
of the Mosque and stands on the steps?) 

NASIR. O Hajj ! By the All-knowing, what's this ? 
HAJJ. He'd take my seat this nothing from 

nowhere. 

KASIM. (Rubbing himself.} I want not his seat. 
HAJJ. Not now, now that I have made thee feel 

the value of thine own. fl L 

(KASIM crawls down to the stone left, nursing 
his kicks.) < fi 

HAJJ. (Sits in his seat.) A joyous day indeed and 

a well begun 1 What with this one-eyed dog, and 

thy miserly stranger (breaking off.) Allah! Who is 

he, O Nasir? 

NASIR. (Evasively?) A man of the men. I know not. 
HAJJ. O brother of truth, thou knowest full well. 

Thou art guiding him, he lodges at thy Khan. He 

called me by name. Who is he ? 
NASIR. (After a moment of hesitating?) Harkee, 

O Hajj. I have a plan to offer thee. An thou 

wilt fall in with my plotting, 'twill mean money to 

both of us. 

HAJJ. Money ? No harm in that. Speak. 
NASIR. This old man of mine has been a famous 

highwayman in his hour. The White Sheikh they 

were used to call him. 



22 



KISMET 






HAJJ. The White Sheikh he? 

NASIR. Our Caliph deceased set his troops upon 
him oft and oftener. In one of his attacks, he 
captured most of the robber's band his little son 
amongst them, a mere stripling at the time, f j++~*y 

HAJJ. Say on. 

NASIR. The boy was spared for his beauty. If he 
still be of the living, his age must reach nigh on 
thirty summers. Yet all these endless years whilst 
the last Caliph ruled, the Sheikh dared not enter 
Baghdad. Not till now, that the young monarch 
hath mounted the throne, hath the father ventured 
at last in search of his son. 

HAJJ. A touching tale ! And how forsooth are we 
to coin wealth of this ? 

NASIR. Did'st thou not mark how broken, how 
stricken, the old man is ? Never was there such a 
repentant sinner. All his moneys are spent in 
charities ; all his hopes in the finding of his beloved 
son, Yusuf. The smallest word, the faintest promise 
from priest or soothsayer, and his hand darts into 
his purse. Now dost thou see dawn ? 

HAJJ. I am to cast myself into his path. What 
thou hast revealed, is to flow unto me as in a vision. 

NASIR. Thou hast it. And it is agreed, whate'er he 
bestows on thee, we share by halves, like honest 
Moslems that we are. 

HAJJ. So it please the Protector. Leave it to me. 

NASIR. But harkee, O clever one, thou'lt do it care- 
fully ? Draw from all the deepest wells : a father's 
longing, a father's mad despair. Such like and 
more, if thou canst. 

HAJJ. If I can ? If I can ? Did I not too have a 
son many years gone to-day, a babe fair as the 
moon ! Was he not foully murdered ? His throat 
cut across ? And my wife, the balm of mine eyes, 
stolen away by mine enemy? Yea, sat he not 
where yon dog sits now the slaughterer of my 




23 

race ?' Doth not /yon stone make my soul ever cry 
aloud for blood revenge ? 

NASIR. So thou,/too, hast felt its fire a father's 
love? 

HAJJ. Felt it ? i Hearken to this, O Nasir and 
Allah pardon me for unveiling the veiled sex. I 
have a daughter now of fourteen summers, the 
child of a late spring by another wife, who is 
dead, alas ! The maid is all that is left me on 
earth ; dear to me above the promises of Paradise. 
Yet the day will come when she will be wed and 
wived. And she will bear the burden of another's J* ^ 

posterity. But mine own race, the blood of my 
fathers, once I am called to rest, where will it be ? 
/ I J O brother, I am like unto a date-palm that groweth 
aslant the pool, and whose fruit hath fallen into the 
waters. 

(Men begin to come out of the Mosque and 
wander off by the two alleys). 



(Dawn is giving place to daylight). 

NASIR. Prayer is over. We must not be found 
together. ^ 

(NASIR retires to the alley itff, and beckons to the 
Two BLACK SLAVES, who join him) 

(Meanwhile, other men are passing HAJJ, who 
begins in a sing-song tone, but has left his 
seat so as to intercept the Sheikh) 

HAJJ. Alms for the love of- 





KASIM. ( Whining). Alms for the love of Allah t 
HAJJ. (to KASIM). Silence, thou dog ! (continuing) 

For the love of Allah, alms. The grave is darkness. 

Charity its lamp. Learn to love poverty. Be good 

and enter Paradise. Alms, for the love of Allah ! 

For the love of Allah, alms ! 



24 KISMET 

(The SHEIKH JAWAN re-appears from the Mosque, 

C pausing on the step*, supported by his Two 
SLAVES. JAWAN conceals his face from HAJJ 
with his scarf.) 

HAJJ. (Rising.) O Sheikh of sheikhs, the Peace 

upon thee. When thou spokest before, the eyes of 

my memory were closed. Now they are open and 

recall thy bounty of other days. 
JAWAN. Dost thou know me, indeed ? 
HAJJ. I see thy soul clear as in crystal. Thou art 

come from afar in search of some one long lost. 

'Tis him thou seekest, thy son. 
JAWAN. ^b 1 This is strange. Shall I reach my 

desire ? I U^- X*~-\ 
HAJJ. Thou shall see thy son this day. 
JAWAN. Even though the curses of my foes stand 

between me and Allah ? (. rjtvyv^C ' 
HAJJ. Thy prayers have kilted their curses. 
JAWAN. Wilt thou swear to that ? 
HAJJ. By Him, the All-seeing, the All-hearing, the 

All-knowing I swear it to thee. 

JAWAN. Will thy ragged saintliness bless me ? Jjr**** 
HAJJ. Allah's blessing upon thee and thy enterprise. 

May thy foes be confounded, and thy hopes 

rounded. 

(A slight pause then JAWAN bursts into un- 
controllable laughter " he, he, he, he, 




JAWAN. O Hajj ! Dost guess what thou hast done ? 

See ! (He withdraws the scarf from his face.) Thou 

hast blest thine enemy. I am he who has sat at 

yon corner in the long ago. 
HAJJ. (Hoarsely). Jawan ! 
JAWAN. Yes, Jawan ! He that stole thy wife and 

stabbed thy squealing brat and fled the city at 

night. 
HAJJ. Jawan, the beggar, thou ? 



KISMET 25 

JAWAN. Jawan, the beggar, no longer Jawan the 

beggar. /Nay, look not so amazed. My wild life .^. "****"*'' 
hath oldened me more than thy tame life thee. /H*' wC/ *^' 1*1*** 



HAJJ. Jawan ! 



JAWAN. Dost thou doubt me ? Hearken, then, and 
learn. Thy wife and I, that night of the nights, we 
rode out into the desert. A band of robbers found 
us. Time and lot made me their leader. Twenty- * 
five years I was their chief. Twenty-five years the 
Caliph made war on me as on a king his equal. 
And I was his equal in power, in prowess, in all 
yea, even though he captured my son, the son of 
thy wife, thy beautiful Gulnar. 

HAJJ. 9 kf t hog-fathered ! Allah ruin thee for 
ever, fv vftfa 

JAWAN (sneeringly), Thou dost forget thy blessings 
of a moment since. (He crosses, ta Nasir and* the 
other slaves.) i 

HAJJ. I blessed thee not. I blessed an unknown. '. 

JAWAN. No, no, me by the Most High, the Glorious 
it me. And 'tis thus through thee, that I shall find 
my son again. Thou hast recalled thy curses. The 
spell is broken at last. 

HAJJ. Thou shalt not live to find him. (He springs 
towards Jawan). 

(The other Two SLAVES draw ugly looking dirks 
and ward off HAJJ.) 

(HAJJ stands impotent and panting " Wah I ") 
JAWAN. Said I not I was King ? Allah send thee a 

long lif<j, Hajj, and a happy. 
HAJJ. Allah send thee the foul fiend and a thousand 

fires. 

JAWAN. Too late, O brother. Thou hast stopped 
Heaven's ears ^vith thy blessings ! Thy curses fall 
on deafness^ -Behold ! A^-poQr return for thy 
bounty 1 (He throws a purse at KA^) Up and 
away! 





26 KISMET 

(The SLAVES turn with JAWAN and move away 
by the alley left, N ASIR preceding them.) 

HAJJ. (Desperately.) Take back thy blood money. 
I'll not swallow my son's blood ! Take it back, O 
thou grey-beard of hell 1 Take it I 

QAWAN has disappeared; his laughter, "He, he, 

he/" is heard dying away in the distance. f , f ^ 
KASIM crawls from his seat toward the purse.) ?* 

HAJJ. Laugh I Laugh to split thy spleen ! But By 
the Decreer, thy day shall set ! For I have found 
thee ! Thou art alive and here, and I too I am 
alive. (Going up to KASIM.) Dost thou hear? 
Dost thou ? I have found him ! He is back 
in Baghdad, he who sat where thou sittest, the 
butcher of my race ! I shall meet him at last hold 
him by the throat, the dog of dogs, and (taking 
KASIM by the throat.) I shall strangle him with 
(choking KASIM.) These two thumbs of mine. 

KASIM. (Choking.) Brother protection ! 

HAJJ. (Still continuing, in his fury.) What though he 
be guarded by slaves with swords naked, and I, 
defenceless- 






KASIM. (Gasping.) Awah ! [ yUw-Uxj 
HAJJ. I shall find a way to him. Buy it, if need be ! 
Buy ? Yehh. (He throws KASIM aside and turns 
to the purse.) And with his gold. His ! It 
smelleth of bloods Every coin a crime, every chink 
a cry for vengeance. Allah, be thou my witness ! 
Only for this do I touch his accursed charity. Only 
for this! ,-,,, f J 

KASIM. Lookl^C* *J 

(Several men come out of the Mosque.) 

HAJJ. (Quickly thrusting the purse in his bosom, 
returns to his stone, beginning his sing-song without 
looking up.) Alms for the love of Allah 1 For 
the love of Allah 

J 





KISMET 27 

KASIM. Alms for the love of Allah ! For the love of 

All < 

HAJJ. (To KASIM.) Silence, thou louse-tap ! 

(NASIR re-enters rapidly) 

NASIR. I've left him for an instant. 
a4oab. The purse. How much is mine ? 

HAJJ. The purse ? 
' NASIR. The purse he threw thee. 
HAJJ. (Innocently) I saw no purse. 
NASIR. Saw no purse ? Thou art jesting. Out with 

it. Share. 
HAJJ. Share ? Purse ? Know I what he threw or 

not? Sit I here to count the droppings of the 

street ? A pretty patron thou didst serve me. Get 

thee gone ! Thou art a rogue, a thief ! 
NASIR. I, a rogue? I, a thief? (To KASIM.) Thou 

sawest him take the purse. (HAJJ secretly drops 

the purse into his water-jug.) I call thee to witness. 
KASIM. I saw him spit on it and turn from it and 

curse it. 
NASIR. (Catching hold of KASIM.) Thou hast it. 

Thou hast taken it for him. 
KASIM. Alas, O brother, not I. 
NASIR. Give it me I Give it me I Tis not thine to 

keep. 

KASIM. Strip every rag from me thou'lt not find it. 
HAJJ. (Gleefully) Strip him 1 Strip him ! 
KASIM. (Turning with fury to HAJJ.) Thou hast it. 
HAJJ. Aye, strip me too. Both of us, so it give 

thee pleasure. Thou shalt behold rare sights. 

Strip us thy slave entreats thee. 

(One of JAW AX'S NEGROES appears from the alley) L-. 
X $ NEGRO. O Nasir.<xvnJL 
f^ HAJJ. (Pointing to the negro) Thy master calls ! 

NASIR. O thou villain ! I go to take my charge back 
t to the inn. But after, as thou lovest life, look to 

thyself and thy safety. 



28 



KISMET 







(He hurries off after the NEGRO.) 

HAJJ. (Shouting after him.) The Peace upon thee ! 
Ha, ha ha ! (He takes the purse out of the water-jug^ 
putting it into his breast. ?)*J$L 'if" 

KASIM. (Laughing obsequiously.) Ha ! Ha 1 Ha ! 
(A slight pause?) 

KASIM. (Crawling\over to HAJJ, cringing.) O my 
master, and what is my share of the spoils ? 

HAJJ. (Imitating KASIM.) " What is my share of the 
spoils ? " By Solomon's seal ring ! This purse 
whether it be from Heaven or from Hell, this hath 
been sent by Fate to me, and me alone. There is 
a purpose in this purse. The scroll of destiny 
unrolleth itself to mine eyes. I see the writing as 
in flames. 

KASIM. The scroll? 

HAJJ. Lookee, all of us have an allotted hour. This 
is mine. Here's the talisman I have prayed for, 
many a year of waiting. The weapon to my 
revenge Gold ! 

KASIM. What wilt thou do ? 

HAJJ. I shall arise from the seat of dejection. 
(Rises.) My days of mourning are over. I shall get 
me to the hammam-bath. ( Walking about.) I These 
rags will I rip from me ; the waters shall wash away 
my weariness. Robes of ease and decency shall 
broaden my breast. No more the whining voice 
and bent brow, and trembling palm of poverty, but 
head back as a fighter of the faith, shoulders free, 
stride bold and commandkig as a king's, yea, as he 
said, even as a king's. NC**^y 

(He walks excitedly up and down and throws 

his beggar's cloak on his stone?) 
2%?lMAM MAHMUD has come out of the Mosque 
and stands amazed on the steps.) 

MAHMUD. O Hajj. Are thy wits fled? What 
means this ? 



KISMET 



29 




HAJJ. I am casting my beggardom from me. ^ 4, 

MAHMUD. Thou ? 

HAJJ. Allah hath opened the Gate of Action to me. 
(Chinking his purse.} With a golden key ! 

MAHMUD. O my son, I fear for thee the chances and 
changes of time. Xjf it*.,*.*^ 4. t 

HAJJ. Hath not the Prophet enjoined blood 
vengeance ? I am resolved, O my father. Voyage 
is victory. Yet ere I go, thou who didst ever 
remember my misery, take this voluntary for the 
poor. (He gives MAHMUD some coin.) 

MAHMUD. May the Protector protect thee against all 
woe, may He forefend thee ever against thy foe. 

KASIM. (Going to HAJJ, still on his knees.) And I 
am I to have naught ? 

jj. Thou? (Pushing him to the stone.) Take thou 
my stone, my ancestral throne ! Wrapped in my 
royal robes, hold it thine own ! As for me, life 
calls. The day is mine to joy ! And when the 
night falleth, Allah allowing, I shall hold mine 
enemy > in the hollow of my hand ! (He strides off ti- 
the left, Jus purse on high, full daylight upon him.) 





30 KISMET 




SCENE II. The Suk (Bazaar Street} of the Tailors. 

A narrow street, arched over, with shops on both sides. 
Arches left and right. A large centre arch at the 
back leads off to other parts of the bazaar. 

(NOTE. Much of the following action and dialogue occurs 
simultaneously, so as to produce a harmonious picture rather 
than separate impressions.) 

In a shop left sits ZAYD, a thin, conceittd man of forty ; he has 
with him a tiny little apprentice, who is here, there and 
everywhere. ./ the shop right (AMRu's shop), a somewhat 
older apprentice is unpacking bales of stuff. 

It is early morning. The life of the street is awakening to the 
business of the day. As the curtain rises the shopkeepers are 
spreading out their wares. A SWEETMEAT-SELLER enters 
through the centre arch. He bows to a shopkeeper and passes 
on, squatting in the right corner, his back to the audience. 
His cry is, "Hoi Hoi Swee-ts." FRUIT-GIRLS enter 
from the right and settle down in the left corner opposite 
him. Their cry is "Omani peaches, Osmani quinces! 
Sultani citrons I Li-mes ! " 

Two BEDOUINS appear and walk solemnly down the street. A 
CHINAMAN enters, followed by a little boy carrying fowls. 
The CHINAMAN goes to the SWEETMEAT-SELLER and points 
to the sweets with his fan. 

^^ 

CHiNAMAtf. (In a squeaky voice.) This I This I This I How 

much 1 >L 

SWEETSELLER. Three daniks. 
CHINAMAN. One! One! One! 
SWEETSELLER. Two. 

CHINAMAN. (Turning away to the left.) One! 
SWEETSELLER. (Rises and goes after him.) One and a half. 

(The CHINAMAN refuses to listen to him.) 

SWEETSELLER. (Sitting down again.) Hell swallow all foreign 

dogs ! 

,- (JAWAN enters at the central arch supported by his Two 
SLAVES and passes down the street.) 



f 




KISMET 

(The CHINAMAN goes to ZAYD'S shop\ 

ZAYD'S APPRENTICE. Allah enlarge thee, O traveller from the 

land of China, 

CHINAMAN. Silk! Silk! Silk I 
ZAYD'S APPRENTICE. Here's Persian r tilk, O my master I Kith, 

soft silk. 
CHINAMAN. (Pulling it about). .Not China silk! China silk! 

This bad I Bad! (He walk* away.) 
ZAYD'S APPRENTICE. (Shoots after him). Out on thee, thou 

cat-faced infidel! 




A BOY with floyirs comes and squats down near the fruit- 
girls. Hisj/fy is : 

Jasmine and violets fine, 
Pomegranate bloom and eglantine." 

AN OLD MAN with a donkey appears laden with jars of olive oil, 
stops at ZAYD'S shop and turns to the apprentice. 

THE OLD MAN (to the apprentice). Here's olive oil for thy 

master. 
BOY. Is the jar full? 

THE OLD MAN. Full as the number of my years. 
Bor. Allah make them a thousand in number. 

THE CAPTAIN OF THE GUARD struts majestically through theSnk. 
<p NASIR, the guide, enters, goes to ZAYD'S shop and bargains for 
a sash ; tries it on, rolling himself into it and out of it as 
ZAYD holds one end of it. 

Two COURTESANS appear in flimsy veils and gorgeous draperies. 
A YOUTH approaches them with a flower he has bought from 
the flower-boy. 

THE FIRST COURTESAN (to the Youth). Fair befall thee, O 

Youth I Art thou from Baghdad 1 Art thou a stranger! 
THE YOUTH. / am yours from wherever I am ; a captive to 

the moon of your faces. 
THE OTHER COURTESAN. Thy glance is bright as the blade of 

a sword. 

THE YOUTH. And thy tongue sharper, no doubt! 
THE PORTER (with an immense bale on his head, to one of the 

Courtesans). Must thou trip my heels, thou stinking armful? 
THE COURTESAN. Out of my -way, thou son of a burnt father. 
AN OLD MAN (to a Young One). Come out of this babel; I 

am sick from eating to much of the world. 



32 KISMET 

THE YOUNG MAN. Nay, I have only begun the feast I am 
^on-hungered. Look at this shop, O,iny father! 

A ^ERCHANT. What -wilt thou buy, O my brother 1 Silks? 
J&xchiefs 1 Girdles t Herts afl the earth gives birth to. 

AN EfctfPTiAN (with a little/girl, to a boy selling beads.) 
What manner of beads are these, O my son ? 

THE BEADSBOY. Beads ffom Damascus ! Beads of polished 
steel! Glatf beads frotjl Rhodes ! Beads clear as crystal from 
the land of China, -whiter than sea-pearls ! 

THE EGYPTIAN lo Jds liltl e girl.) What shall I buy thee, O 
my Pigeon ? TMsfe beads t Or those 1 Speak, O my Lotus I 

A MAN (to one or roe fruit-sellers.) Is thy fruit sweet, O my 
sister t (He WKCS up some fruit.) 

THE FRUIT-SEALER, fray first and taste after. 

A MAN. Tw fruit is ovat-ripe. 

TH FRUIT^SELLER. 'Tirfresh as the dawn-breeze. 

THE MAjf. O my little ^ulip, how should I believe theel 
Dost tmou not belong to the ^^^iversal sisterhood of woman ? 

THE BRUIT-SELLER. All women are not alike; nor are the 
finxrs of the hand alike. \ 

THE' SWEETMEAT-SELLER (crying.) Swee-ts! Swee-tsl No 
alter sweets in Baghdad. No better sweets in Baghdad. They 
fare made by my cousin. Hs pastry-cook at the palace. 
i BUYER. Allah increase thee for a smooth-tongued liar! 

THE SWEETSELLER. Taste my wares and ask my pardon ! 

(And so it goes. G^ies and movement everywhere. The shop- 
keeper's call to the passer-by is, " What dost thou wantt Dost 
thou lack kerchiefs, shawls?" Greetings are heard such as, 
"/ salute thee with my salaam! Allah increase thee, O my 
brother ! A blessed day ! Allah gladden thee with good news / 
The Bestower increase thee ever /" Porters plough their way 
through the crowd calling out, " Have patience, o ye people, 
have patience." Compliments are heard such as, " Thou art 
like the moon on a fourteenth night ! Thy body sways like a 
thirsting gazelle ! Gifpn by the Giver art thou ! Thy beauty 
would make a palapt dance!" And words of anger and 
impatience such ajf tl Begone and none of thine impudence! 
Be off! By Aaah, this is not allowed! May Allah never 
bless theel Nyfriendly welcome to thee! Fie upon thee, ill- 
omened fellew?*' The hubbub reaches its climax as a WATER- 
CARRIER enters, shouting loudly, " Water 1 Water, coo-1 
and clea-r ! " He is stopped by two negro slaves, who buy 
cups of water from him. Then the WATER-CARRIER turns, as 
AMRU, a stout imposing merchant with a huge beard, comes 
down the street and approaches him. AMRU takes a cup. As 
he does so, ZAYD looks up from his shop in surprise and hurries 
out of it.) 




KISMET 33 

W 4 * 

ZAYD. (Surprised.') By mine eyes, Amru ! 
AMRU. (Delighted.} By mine eyes, Zayd ! 

(They embrace, one arm being thrown round the 
shoulder, the other round the side, placing the 
chin first upon the left then upon the right 
collar bone and repeating this several times. 
As they embrace the crowd gradually disperses, 
leaving the street comparatively empty. But 
there is always a sense 0f life in the suk, and 
the hum of the bazaar is heard dimly through- 
out the scene.) 

ZAYD. Welcome and well come and good cheer to 
my friend, the dearly-beloved. So thou art home 
from Egypt ? (He rrrnrnmr hnnir \ frif r*-/fr 

AMRU. Yesternight in the first watch I caused my 
camels to kneel at my door.oAJ Su** H" 

ZAYD. By Allah and his Apostle, it swells my heart 
to hear thy voice once more ? Thou hast tarried 
many moons^fcHas thy business prospered ? 

(The little apprentice has spread out cushions: they 
both sit.) .'j,^- #***} 



AMRU. Fortune hath blessed me indeed. And thou ? 

How is't with thee ? 
ZAYD. Alas ! Traffic has grown dull with the new 

Caliph. 
AMRU. So soon ? He hath been in power but seven 

days they tell me. 
ZAYD. He is very young searce sixteen, and so 

devout ! He was schooled in a monastery in the 

mountains. 'Tis said his harim is empty. Not a 

woman, not as much as a wife. 
AMRU. Not so much as and seven days ! By the 

glories of Paradise to come ! An I were Caliph for 

seven days I 

D 






34 



KISMET 



ZAYD. An I were Caliph for seven hours 1 But they 
say that he is waiting to find the woman of his 
dream, a maid of beauty all in- -all. Be she of 
noblest blood or poorest of the poor, he hath taken 
oath, until Allah reveal the chosen one, he will live 
alone, unwed, un wived. 

(Kettledrums are heard in the distance to the 




(AMRU returns to his shop at the right.) f *> 

(The crowd hurries in from all sides. Men 
and women all kneel, bending low. As the 
CALIPH enters they touch their foreheads to the 
ground.) . 

(Through the cmint arch comes the Caliph's 
procession, turning down and disappearing 
through the arch right. First come Six 
ARCHERS OF THE GUARD with lances. Next 
follow FOUR MEN with KETTLEDRUMS (like 
tom-toms) and a pair of TRUMPETERS : then 
Six ARCHERS with scymitars drawn, walking 
two and two. After that, DIGNITARIES of 
the royal household. Some singly, others in 
twos. These are: the Caliphs slipper-bearer ; 
his cloak-bearer ; his cup-bearer ; his ewer and 
basin-bearer ; his bow-bearer, and his carpet- 
spreader. Next the two head EUNUCHS of his 
harim, both tall blackamoors clothed in 
yellow.) 

(After this, at an interval of five paces, on a 
white mule, the CALIPH himself, robed in the 
black of the Abbaside dynasty. His face is 
very youthful, full of spiritual beauty and 
weary pride. On his left cheek he has a mole. 
By his left side walks ABU BAKR, an old, 
white-bearded man, clothed in green and white, 



KISMET 35 

with a very large turband, holding his master's 
left stirrup!) 

(As the CALIPH reaches the centre of the street, 
an old woman, KABIRAH, throws herself at 
his feet ; the procession halts!) 

KABIRAH. O King of the age justice ! Justice to 
an ancient widow and a sore oppressed ! (She holds 
out a petition.) 

CALIPH. ( Waving to ABU BAKR who takes the petition.) 
Come thou to my Diwan this mid -afternoon. None 
shall suffer wrong under this my sovereignty. The 
Judge of Judges be my .witness. The Peace ! 

(KABIRAH withdraws muttering "Heaven increase 
thee ever, King") ^J^ 

(The procession moves on; the people in the street 
remaining crouched and motionless as the 
CALIPH passes them.') 

(A COURT DiGNiy^Aj^.jSg&'iff'ifi KCnt^"^ com.) 
(Six ARCHERS, with scymitars drawn, conclude 
the procession.) 

(Directly the CALIPH'S guard is out of sight there 
is a wild scramble for the royal largesse. The 
rabble then follows the procession.) 

ZAYD. (To AMRU, shouting across to his shop.) 

Didst note the mole on his cheek? Is he not 

beautiful ? 

AMRU. Allah bless him ! And the old man ? 
ZAYD. Abu Bakr, his tutor a far famed grammarian. 

He entered the city with countless camel-loads of 

dictionaries. 'Tis he who ruleth the ruler. 
AMRU. Where's Mansur the old Caliph's favourite ? 

He was wont to ride by his master's side. Hath he 

fallen from power ? ^ 
ZAYD. Nay, he's still Chief of the Guards of the City 

and Wazir of the Police. But at the Palace they 

D 2 




36 KISMET 

begin to whisper (Seeing MANSUR ; in a low voice.) 
The Peace ! Mansur ! 

(MANSUR appears,-' a tall, slim, sinister figure of 
about eight and twenty. His face shows traces 
of beauty ruined by debauchery ; his manner is 
that of an expert in the sensualism of cruelty ; 
his robes are of deep blue and steel. He is 
evidently nursing his rage, and strides along 
ominously. Behind him comes KAFUR, his 
sworder, a snake-like Ethiopian, by whose side 
hobbles a small hunchback scribe, AFIFE, who 
looks more like a pelican than a man.) 

(As MANSUR enters, a BLIND MAN crosses his 

path.) /X &jt< 

THE BLIND MAN. *"Blmd ! Blind ! Buy a blessing 
from the blind ! 



(MANSUR annoyed at the BLIND MAN'S fum- 
bling, strikes him down and passes on. The 
BLIND MAN gets up again, helped by two of 
the courtesans. ZAYD gives him a coin or 
two, and he goes on his way.) f^ 

ZAYD (to AMRU). Didst mark his rage ? He, the 

L favourite of yesterday, to-day must walk second to 
the grammarian. The splitter of lives bow to the 
splitter of syllables. Ha ! Ha ! XT\ 

(HAJJ appears in the centre archway. He is i 
still in rags. He comes down to ZAYD.) 

ZAYD. (Putting him off as he would a beggar.) 
Heaven will provide, O brother. 

(HAJJ crosses to AMRU.) 

AMRU. (In the same tone as ZAYD.) Allah will 

provide. 

HAJJ. Nay, I am no beggar. 
. ZAYD AND AMRU. What art thou then? 

- 



KISMET 37 

HAJJ. I am a religious mendicant. My vow of 
poverty has been accomplished in the hour. I am 
on my way to the hammam to re-enter daily life. 

ZAYD. O father of rags, thou art strangely like to 
a beggar before the Carpenter's Mosque. 

HAJJ. So I have been told. The sooner therefore I 
strip me of his likeness, the better for both of us. 
What hast thou in the manner of cloaks and shirts 
and turband-cloths ? (Jiff dinks the purse ominously?) ^^ 

(ZAYD and AMRU hurry forward, each bringmgli /^*f 
cushion for HAJJ to sit on. ' ^jup**$recuL a X 
big square of stuff before him on which mey 
display their gciods.) 

(HAJJ sits down with great satisfaction.) 

ZAYD. All colours, O my master, b fj^^di****** 

AMRU. All kinds, O my master. 
HAJJ. ( With a delighted smile, pleased at the epithet.) 
Master ! (He chinks his purse.) 



HJJJ 'Tinjunnghtl A mnmnr r l Sliuii me llij 

wases. ^j 

AMRU. ThouTt see mine too, O my lord ? 
HAJJ. (Turning to AMRU, as above.} Lord! Thine 

too, O my my tailor. (Pointing to some veils in 

AMRU'S hands.) What's this ? 
ZAYD. (Spreading out a cloak eagerly.) Thy cloak, O 

my master. 
HAJJ. (To ZAYD putting him off.) A moment. (To 

AMRU.) Face veils ? 

AMRU. (Spreading out a veil.) Aftar the'faahioiT'ef 
Woven air ! 



HAJJ. (Taking up the veil) A veil! Hast thou 

anklets ? 
AMRU. Here are jewels none hath set eyes on in 

Baghdad. (He opens a little casket.) 
ZAYD. (Jealously, calling across.) O my lord, 



38 



KISMET 




AMRU. (To ZAYD, annoyed^ 
HAJJ. (Taking up 
AMRU. Seven 
HAJJ. Thou i 

cloak 

AMRU. (Eagerly-) How much 
HAJJ. jjfgnoring AMRU.) 



ble not my master. 
How much ? 

to ZAYD.) Thy 



t thou oflfer ? 

> is workman- 



HAJJ. (To ZAYD.) 
- ZAYD. 'TisJ. 

m 



Six dinars 
Who's the designer of this ? 



RU. ( Quickly to HAJJ, waving the 
fix. 

(turtiing to AMRU.) 
paid. 

AMRU\ The anklets alone 
ZAYD. V7V HAJJ.) Thou'lt 
HAJJ. NOW much ? 
ZAYD. Twenty-five din 
HAJJ. Twenty-five 1 




a half! 
s and I lose. 



By the life of my 
u wrappest them up in one of thy 
y yielding. (He takes his veils 



turns abruptly to AMRU.) 
Three dinars. 
ZAYD. Twent 
AMRU. Four 
father, I swe 
HAJJ. Four^t 
kerchiefs^ 
AMRU. jJifis beyond 
awqtf.) 

Z (Turning to ZAYD\^ Hast thou veils ? (AMRU 
HAJJ eagerly.) 
, The best in Baghdad. Thou'lt have the 
TteakJ 
HAJJ. I'll see others first. Put it there. (He points 

to the kerchief spread out before him.) Thy veils 1 
AMRU. Hold I Thou shalt have thy veil and kerchief. 

But I swear 

HAJJ. (Turning to AMRU.) Swear not ! (Counts out 
the money.) Pirn 1 Thou hast begun the day too 




KISMET 39 



well. What *iu*f is this ? (He takes if up.) And 
yon trousers and girdle ? (Pointing to some trousers 
and a girdle ZAYD'S apprentice is holding up.) 

(The GUIDE NASIR enters at the back, sees HAJJ 
and watches him unobserved, with cat-like 
glances, leaning against ZAYD'S shop.J ZAYD 
hands HAJJ the trousers and girdle.) 

AMRU. (Shouting). First see this girdle of mine. 
HAJJ. Now which of ye twain hath a turband-cloth 

to my heart ? 

ZAYD. (Unrolling one). O master, 'tis I.. 
AMRU. ( Unrolling another.) O master, 'tis me. 
ZAYD. I ! 

AMRU. Me ! /t/ 

HAJJ. The master asked both. (Pointing to AMRU'S 

cloth, squinting at ZAYD out of the corner of his eye.) ^ 

His cloth far excelleth thine. 
ZAYD. (Furious.) His cloth excel mine? Yon 

meagre tracery crawling along the edge as a dying 

dog to a puddle, that excel my glorious branching 

and bowing of pomegranates ? 
AMRU. Dying dog, indeed 1 Dying dog thyself. 
ZAYD. By Allah, hold thy peace, O brother. 
HAJJ. (To ZAYD inciting tym.) How? Let him call 

thee dog? **M*^{ ' 
^ ZAYD. (Springing up.) Called he me dog? Didst 

thou call me dog, O dog ? 
HL AMRU. (Conciliating him, still on his knees?) Enough, 

O Zayd. Words poison. 
HAJJ. (To KMKU, in a whisper.) What? Kneel to 

a slave, dost thou ? >^ ^ 

AMRU. Yehh ! Thou art right. (Rising and facing 

ZAYD.) Yes, I I call thee dog. 
ZAYD. Thou shall eat thy words. (He crosses to 
L. AMRU.) 

AMRU. And thou thy pomegranates. (They fall to 

blows?) 





40 KISMET 

J 

(HAJJ quickly gathers the clothes he picked 0ut t 
f wraps the large cltfh about them and hurries 
ff by the arc h* teft> NASIR has -watched HAJJ 
and follows him off. THE MERCHANTS AND 
APPRENTICES hurry out of the shops.) 

VARIOU? MEX. Ho, Masters ! Ho, masters ! Help ! 
They're fighting ! They'll have their swords out. 
Ho, Moslems ! Ho Captain ! Help ! 

(Several of the shopmen and passers-by crowd 
round, chattering and screaming, trying to 
separate the two men. Different ones shout : 
" O AMRU ! O Brothers ! Where's the 
Syndic ? O ZAYD ! For the love of Allah ! 
Are ye not sons of Islam both ? " etc.} 

(The CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH hurries in by the 
centre arch. The two men are separated by 
him.) 

CAPTAIN. O Zayd ! O Amru ! Shame upon ye ! 
How now ? Are ye donkey-boys ? 

AMRU. O Captain ! Heaven knoweth we were ever 
the best of friends. 

ZAYD. Ever till this hour. 

CAPTAIN. Who began it ? 

ZAYD. 'Twas my lord here who said (He points 
to HAJJ'S empty cushion ; stops and stares amazed} 
Where is my lord? (He looks about bewildered.) 
Yehh ! Gone ! Gone and the clothes with hiiruy\ 

AMRU. O, the bazaar devil ! 'Twas he that set us on. 

ZAYD. After him. Which way went he ? ft/ 

A MAN. This way. (He points to the arch itft} 

(The crowd, headed by ZAYD, starts to run off to the left.) 

ANOTHER MAN. (Pointing tip to the centre arch.} 
This way ! 

(Thf crowd veers and starts off to the back} 



KISMET 41 

STILL ANOTHER MAN. (Pointing to the right.) This 
way ! (They all swing to the right.) 

(NASIR re-enters from the left arch eagerly!) 

NASIR. (At the top of his voice.) No, that way. I 
know the dog well. 'Tis Hajj the beggar ! 

(General hubbub as ALL run off to the left) 
shouting and gesticulating.) 

SWEETMEAT-SELLER. (Rising and putting his f 

.tray of siffee\pn his head goes slowly down the street, ^. 

T ring.) HM~ Ho ! Swee ts I s .jfir 

1 ^4 V 

[CURTAIN] 





t 

SCENE III. The Courtyard of a poor House. 



In the right wall a large double door leads out to the 
street. An arch, which supports the upper part of 
the house, runs parallel to the wall at the right, 
thus screening the Mirt from the street. At the 
back, a door leads into the inner house. Two 
cages with a bird in each, are hanging on the wall 
right. The left side of the court is taken ^^p by a 
wall about seven feet high, a niche in its centre 
containing a well with ropes, buckets and a large __ 
jar or two. Over the wall can be seen some 
cypresses of a garden. In the shadow of this ..... -.. 
wall, a rose tree grows in a rim of masonry. An 
awning is stretched across the Court. A tom- 
tom stands in one corner. 

The full morning sun over everything. 

MARSINAH, a beautiful girl of fourteen summers 
(which would correspond to a girl of eighteen in the 
west) is seated on some rough matting, in the 




A 



42 KISMET 

centre of the court. She is clad in the simplest 
fashion, like the poorest Arabian women. She is 
busy with some needlework on a large embroidery 
frame, which rests on four legs like a low table. 

^ 

Near her, idly fanning away the flies, sits NARJIS, a 
stout, old Duenna, with a full-blown face. About 
them on the matting lie strands of different coloured 
wools, 

fl/ MARSINAH. (Looking up to the garden wall.) The 

sun grows hot. 
NARJIS. How's thy border? Will it be done by 

noon-prayer ? I promised it the merchant. 
MARSINAH. (Impatiently sighing.) I hear, O Narjis, 

I hear. Hast thou any yellow wool ? 
NARJIS. (Turnl.away from Marsinah to look for it.) 

Yellow? Yellow? Did I not give it thee erst- 
while? 
MARSINAH. (Quickly takes the yellow wool and hides 

it under the folds of her dress.) 'Twas red thou 

gavest me. 
NARJIS. By the life of thy youth, O Marsinah, 'twas 

yellow. (She rises and searches.)^ 
MARSINAH. Look thyself. Thou seest I lack it to 

finish the pattern. 
NARJIS. Alas! (Sighs.) What's to be done ? What's 

to be done ? 



(iSyfe j*Vj ticspondenlty dn the rtmof the well. ) 

MARSINAH. Run to the wool market, O good 
Narjis. 

NARJIS. All the way to the wool market ? 

MARSINAH. 'Tis none so far for one so sprightly as 
thou, O sweet Narjis. Thou didst promise it the 
merchant remember ! 

NARJIS. I could have laid an oath with the All- 
seeing there was yet another strand of yellow. x ' K 

' 



KISMET 43 

MARSINAH. (Tucking away a tell-tale thread!) Couldst 

thou in sooth ? 

>Y NARJIS. Well-a-day ! There's nought for me but to 
go. We must finish the work or the money's lost. 

(She crosses to the large double door and takes 
down a huge iron door key, which hangs on 
the wall beside the door!) 

And O Marsinah ! No looking out of windows or 
peeping over walls. 

MARSINAH. By Lady Fatimah's life of light 1 What 
dost thou suppose ? 

NARJIS. Think of thy father. Thou knowest how 
he fears for thy safety. Was not his first wife 
stolen? His son slaughtered? Art thou not the 
last of his race ? Is not thine own mother in the 
tomb of eternity ? I tell thee, should one folly on 
thy part reach thy father's ears, 'twere the undoing 
of us both. 

MARSINAH. Fear nought, O dear Narjis. T*^/ 

(NARJIS has let herself out and locked the door 
outside!) 

(MARSINAH rises, and listens at the door. Then she 
hurries to the rim of the masonry by the 
gets up on it and peers over the wall. With 
a little cry of delight she exclaims " Waiting / 
Waiting/" Then claps her left palm with 
her right hand twice. She listens, then claps 
again. Some one answers the signal in the 
same manner. She draws her "veil across fyer . 
face instinctively and stands expectant.) ^/ JH 1^1.^111 

(A youth appears over the masonry. In a 
moment he is down and in her arms. By 
his mole he is seen to be the young CALIPH 
ABDALLAH, but he is now dressed in the 
simple clothes of an artisan.) 





44 KISMET 

V ' CALIPH. O my beloved ! At last ! 
/v MARSINAH. Dost thou still love me, O my master. 
CALIPH. Still ? 

(He draws away her veil and kisses her between the eyes., 

All my soul lieth between thine eyes! All my 

longing on thine untouched lips. Still love thee ? 
MARSINAH. How can man love maid who unveileth 

her face as I have to thee?|tkj4^A- 
H CALIPH. How can man not love ? 

MARSINAH. (Veiling herself again.) I am ashamed 
, at my shamelessness. >* * 

CALIPH. Sooner be thou ashamed of mine. 'Twas 

I that climbed the wall, broke in on thee to tear 

the cloud from the new moon. 

(He raises the veil from her face.) 

MARSINAH. I swear were to-day three days agone, 
and thou imploring me now, by thine eyes, I'd not 
betray my secrecy again. 

CALIPH. What ! Is thy love grown faint so soon ? 

MARSINAH. Allah help me, strong so soon. 'II am 
become a thousand times more watchful/ more 
jealous of myself, and all because of thee/ Alas ! 
How must honour like thine judge of fr/ilty like 
mine? *w~*U<f L 

CALIPH (passionately)* Mine no'nour judges as it 
judged the first moment of seeing thee : mat thou art 
my love, that I hold thy little hands in mine, and 
that thou shall be my wife none oth/r before thee. 

(Drawing her towards hiji) 

MARSINAH. (Sinking at his feet) p my loved 
This is a ^eam of thine. Thintaof thy 
TOJat will theV say ? What wilt'thdto tell th 

CALIPH^ (He sHs by her** the grbynd) 
That rsjopked out from mVfather'sVavilio 
blessed evening ami saw thee Deeding thyJittle 





KISMET 

at yon window. That I gazed on 
long long. What more neec 
to kiss her wrists.} 

MARSINAH. ( Withdrp 

wrists ! Hathm^Tace no say 

CALIPH. ThjK^ace ! The Forgiver forgive thee. 
Since LMeheld its light, my nights are sleepless ; my 
dajiB^Durning sands. This stolen moment alone my 
Srade, thy hair my breeze, thy voice my fountain. 

MARSINAH. (Drawing- away.j O my love, leave 
me; forget me utterly. Thy mother will never 
choose me thy bride. Is thy father not far, far 
above my father ? Did'st thou not say he was the 
"Caliph's gardener ? 

CALIPH^ Is the Caliph's gardener such a mighty 
man? 

MARSINAH. Narjis says he is. 

CALIPH. (Secretly annoyed.} Narjis the old woman ? 

MARSINAH. Yea, and she says more. I asked her 
in a light way O very lightly had she e'er heard 
spoken of the gardener's son. And she the fool 
she swears he never had a son ; that his only wife 
is dead these many years; that the garden next 
door hath been leased by a grammarian, the new 
Caliph's tutor; that once even the Caliph himself 
came to walk there in the cool of the day. 

CALIPH. (Curtly?) Narjis is an old gossip. She 
knows not what she chatters. 

MARSINAH. So I told her.^^Bul "sill! Mild"" ttoi 
ith *tiy Y^rki 9 ^ ni1 rf Q "0 V| t ffr "f ig*ance." 

Tliuu I Lilian LU lUUgh, thinking I If ll t unrl fluC 

out a line of a song, till her for 
rag*and she beat me. 

CALIPH. (Furiously.} She beat thee? 

MARSINAH. O 'tis naught. She does so often. 

CALIPH. The sister of Satan ! 

MARSINAH. What would'st thou! She's not my 
mother. 




46 KISMET 

CALIPH. (Tenderly.) O my Marsinah! Has this 
been thy life ? L Mhy mnttifr 

MARSINAH. Three years 'tis now sinceAhe entered 
into the mercy of Allah ! Alas ! Xlhose were 
different days. What I did for myynother I did in 
delight. What I learnt from hejf I learnt with a 
dancing heart. All her songs, Jne plucking of the 
lute she taught me as 'twejp so much laughter. 
In her hour, ere my father tack her to wife, she had 
been the slave of a rich mflfchant. The cunningest 
teachers in Baghdad hjra taught her. When the 
merchant gave her h^ freedom, she was besought 
to sing at all the rare^ feasts. Then Allah took her 
voice and evil nighJB fell upon her. Thus my father 
found her, outcaJi and starving. Such was my 
mother. 

short silence.) 

CALIPH. Thoydid'st not tell me that thou could'st 
play, that tbrou could'st sing ! What fresh perfection 
do I find^fi thee every moment ! 

'Tis all my mother in me. 
CALIPH. X'Tis all thyself in thee. Blessed be He that 
Ted thee in thy splendour of beauty. Thy 
face^is fairer than health; thine eyes are the 
of a gazelle; thy lips a cluster of coral; 
a silver column is thy nHfe : and thy breasts, 
(SgttafcfifcJiyfiJ4jjiai3^r 0, my beloved, when 
will come the hour that I shall hold thee close to my 
heart, while the night hangeth her silver lamp over 
our silence. 

MARSINAH. (Tn a whisper) When Allah willeth 
and Allah will it soon. 

(Their lips meet in a kiss.) f 

CALIPH. (Rises -to MrKttM wii'fi. Muiiivn^*****.) It 

shall be this night. 
MARSINAH. O, sweet my lord, I have told thee 

before, it cannot be. Not at night. Narjis is ever 



KISMET 47 

here, and ofttimes my father. My only freedom is 

a morn like to-day's. 
CALIPH. (Drawing close to her.) Thou shalt have 

other freedom undreamt of by thee. 
MARSINAH. What wilt thou do ? 
CALIPH. Can'st thou trust me ? 
MARSINAH. With all my soul, an thou put not thy 

life in danger. 

CALIPH. Dost thou love me so ? 
MARSINAH. (Hanging far head.) .Sooner would I 

lose thee for ever. if* / V^^vtx-\ 
CALIPH. (After a patise, with a smile she does not 

observe!) Fear naught. 

J .-. T AXTtvj^A-l^A-^ &L~jL*Lfr 4-x^ tmjuao iU^et 3 

eek,} Thotf k- se-U,When the 



evening prayer hath locked the door of the day, 
then will I come to open the eyes of thy heart. 

This joy must yield to deeper joy its power ; 
As bud still rends its veil, to blush as flower. 

MAKSINAH. ( 




Ah me ! How oft the foolish petal': 
Is scattered to the skies by fatal shower. 

CALIPH". (Turning surprised joyously!) Yehh ! 
Can' sV-eap verses too? By Allah! What is this 
Wonder of wonders, that the Giver of all things 




MARSH* AH. (Rises, interrupting him.) Awah 1 



MARSINAH. !*. Fly, O my beloved. 

CALIPH. (Rises!) How can I leave my soul behind 

and not die ? (He goes up to the rim of the well.) 
MARSINAH. Go, I implore thee ! By all that's holy ! 

Here ! (She plucks a rose from the bush, kisses it, 
and hands it to him.) Go ! 

(The CALIPH presses the rose to his lips, then 
slips it into his breast and climbs over the wall!) 




48 KISMET 

CALIPH. (From the top of the wall?) After set of 

sun ! (He disappears over the wall?) 
NARJIS. (Outside?) Marsinah ! Majsinah ! 

(MARSINAH hurries to her work, sits and stitches 
furiously?) 

^V, NARJIS. (entering the courtyard). A gift of good news, 
O my roe. Thy father is coming. 

MARSINAH. My father ? Never yet came he home 
during the day. 

NARJIS. Never yet. But to-day he cometh. I saw 
him leaving the hammam-bath, unlike himself in 
robes of splendour, his locks combed, his beard 
trimmed, and (imitating him) striding along as 
proud and calm as a camel ! I hasted ahead 
through the alleys. Had he found thee alone "W 
(There is a knock on the door?) By the Prophet! 
None too soon. ; (Calling out.) I come ! I come ! 
(Goes to the door and calls through it.) Who art 
thou? What seekest thou? (S/ie winks at MAR- 
SINAH and feigns surprise.) Allah ! 'tis my master. 
O Marsinah ! Thy father, as I am awake ! (She 

unlocks the door.) f 

> 

(MARSINAH Has risen ; drawing her veil about 
the back of her head?) 

(HAJJ enters as described, wearing all his stolen 
robes, his beard neatly trimmed, his whole 
being refreshed by the bath. His manner is 
far more self-assured. He carries his 
little bundle of presents for his daughter, 
which he flings to the ground.) 

MARSINAH. Salam, O my father. * I* 
NARJIS. Salam, O my master, v^ <, 
HAJJ. Salam. 

(,fi" jfV; TTufJ i' 1 1' Til in <rtr firm n I j""" 



KISMET 49 

I have lain in the hammam all morninj 

MARS\NAH. May thy bath profit thee, O vyy father. 
WhatSWessed coming is thine ? 

HAJJ. \hou mayst indeed call it ble/sed. For 
verily th\ Dispeller of woe hath turnedrthe murk of 
my night nato a day of light and dehVnt. What say 
ye to this. \He takes out his pursejj Gold ! Gold ! 
Gold ! WhaV a sound it is ! It flm'nks straight into 
the blood and sets the heart a-baating, so the temples 
throb and reason flies from Jne head. Dost thou 
mark it, O Marsn^ah. O Nftrjis, dost thou ? 

MARSINAH. (Clapptyg hermnds.) Yehh ! 

NARJIS. (Suspid(ws.j\ytihe,nce hadst thou this ? 

HAJJ. Whence ? (& brow cloitds?) Whence ? 
From a fool in his foflyV An accursed for whom it 
shall weave the rorjf round his neck. But that's for 
later. (Chinking jnhe purs\^ This for now. (He 
slips the purse in/his breast.) T&& ! Ha ! Ha ! O eyes 
of me ! Ye -^should have \eheld them in the 
hammam tjie bath-keeper and\is slaveboys. How 
they bowed before me one and all. " O my 
master "liere, and "O my loro^ there. And 
such rirj&ngs, and rubbings, and clajtoings, till my 
limbs j?ang aloud with smoothness ! Then they laid 
me a/town on silken sheets, the while censers fumed 
me sweetly from head to heel. And the bath- 
keeper knelt at my feet, and sung to the tom-tom a 
song. (He sings, imitating the playing of a tom-tom 
with his hands.) 

A bowl of wine ! Two bowls of wine ! 
And three more bowls and that makes nine ! 
Te drawj out the ti 



L/ MARSINAH. (Clapping her hands gleefully and rising 

to her knees.) O my father! Thou art magni 

ficent ! 

HAJJ. (Delighted.) ^Magnificent am I ? 








50 

MARSINAH. Yea ! JZven as a prince in one of the 

tales thou tellest 
HAJJ. A Prince 1 (He strokes his mousfachios.) A 

King? 
MARSINAH. A King, in truth, a King I Is he not, O 

Narjis ? 

NARJIS. (Ironically) A King, in very sooth. 
MARSINAH. Never beheld I thee thus. Never till 

this hour. White as milk is this day of mine. 
HAJJ. It shall be whiter still, O my dainty. Give 

me the bundle, O Narjis. Thou shalt bless the day 

indeed, O my rose. ( Opening the bundle) Ah ! 

Now thine eyes glisten. Now ! 
MARSINAH. Thou didst remember me ? 
HAJJ. Remember thee ? What doth thy soul most 

desire in this world ? Speak. C'^o^-**^ 
MARSINAH. Most? (She glances unconsciously up 

over the garden wall^ but looks down again quickly) 
HAJJ. Ah, now thou blushest. What is it ? 
MARSINAH. (Confused) I know not. l,.**^ 
HAJJ. (Imitating). " I know not." O Narjis, was 

ever maid such maid. She knows not. By Allah, 

thou hast guarded her well. She is as simple 

as the hour she was born. " I know not." (He 

fondles MarsinaKs cheek) 
MARSINAH. (Hanging her head). What should I 

know? 

(HAJJ and NARJIS look at each other smiling 
knowingly?) 

HAJJ. Thou shouldest know that thy father loves 
thee 1 (He kisses her on both eyes.) And that he has 
brought thee these. (He produces the anklets from 
the bundle.) \****** ' v/w < (' 

MARSINAH. Anklets ! \She flings off her slippers 
laughing gleefully and puts on the anklets) O Narjis ! 
O Narjis ! At last ! Now ! What girl in our street 
can laugh at me now ? (Rises and circles about the 



KISMET 51 



s 



two.) Look, O Narjis, look ! 

MtibarnVah, ez any. oL-th&n. O my master, 

I kiss thy feet. v i,^hj kneels before HAJJ and bows 

down.) jkfiL 4**<*+A* *- 

HAJJ. (Laying his hand on her head.) Thou art 

content ? 

MARSINAH. (Blissfully) Content? Content? 
HAJJ. Then what sayst thou to a veil ? (He unfolds 

the veil.) 
MARSINAH. (Springs up, then bashfully overcome.} 

For me too ? (HAJJ hands it to her smilingly) 

(In rapture, holding it up ; unconsciously looking up 

to the garden wall) Oh ! would I had had it this 

morn ! 

HAJJ. This morn ! What dost thou mean ? 
MARSINAH. (Realising her self-betrayal) I mean I 

know not. My heart is so happy. La Yayha" ! 

Do I fill thine eyes, O my father ? (She drapes the 

veil about her) 
HAJJ. (Smiling proudly) Fill mine eyes ! Go ! 

Fetch thy lute ! We will have music. This day 

shall be a day of rejoicing. 
MARSINAH. (Going) (. I hear and I obey. (She 

hurries off across the courtyard into the house) \~ 
HAJJ. (Looking after her) \ By Allah ! How she 

glides swimmingly as she wWe a lily floating down 

the Tigris. Blessed indeed is he that taketh her 

to wife. 

NARJIS. Aye, and she's ripe to wed, too. 
HAJJ. Few-teen! The pick of years! I must 

seek her a husband. 
NARJIS. (Huddles up to him.) What sayst thou to 

the basket-weaver's son at tljie corner ? 
HAJJ. The basket-weaver's son ? * O thou hag ! 

(Slaps her cheek with the back of his hand) Why 

not a bean-seller? (SlaJ^rOr a camel-boy? 

(Slap) Yea, or best arid rarest, some blear-eyed 

mangy beggar ? (Slap) 

E 2 




M 



52 KISMET I H 

\J(J^ 

(MARSINAH appears with a lute.) 

HAJJ. (To NARJIS.) Behold her now ! I swear the 
very movement of her limbs maketh melody. 
ARSINAH. What shall I sing thee, O my father? 
(She stands tuning her instrument!) 

HAJJ. How many modes canst thou play in? 

MARSINAH. One-and-twenty. 

HAJJ. One-and-twenty. (To NARJIS.) Are one-and- 
twenty modes for the basket-weaver's son? (He 
slaps NARJIS again. To MARSINAH.) And sing 
how many ? 

MARSINAH. The like number. 

HAJJ. And dance ? How many steps did thy mother 
teach thee ? 

MARSINAH. Far beyond counting. 

HAJJ. (To NARJIS.) Thouhearest! Are they, the 
countless, for the basket-weaver's son? (A final 
slap.) I tell thee, Marsinah is rare as a houri in 
Paradise. Wouldst thou know what secret the 
future hideth for Marsinah ? 

NARJIS. (Rubbing her poor cheek.) What secret, O 
master? tf^AJl n-y V-4- 

HAJJ. Sit thee down here, my flower. And here 
thou, O my cactus. Mark me close, ye bojh./ /- ) 
(MARSINAH sits on the ground by HAJJ.) * 1 

HAJJ. (Drawing the purse from his breast.) ** This 
money in my bosom will I take and buy merchandise 
withal. (Tossing the purse from hand to hand ; his 
-voice in lyrical exaltation). And I will trade and sell ; 
and buy and trade ; till it is doubled and trebled a 
hundred times hundredfold. Then shall I turn from 
toil and trouble, to clothe my Marsinah in a 1UJJU (JT* 
}irnr1n nnroMj ijjJiJ]ifjiirf*ri""nf a queen .on her 
wp jewels of shine and^Jsheen, 
er each "ear, heir "amf^tfiere ; pn her 
of flash and fret ; 

and stuffed within a priceless piece of ambergris. 
MARSINAH. (In wonder.) O my father ! 



KISMET 53 

HAJJ. And the name of thy beauty shall be blown 

abroad, beyond Arabia, through Sind, into China, 

even as far as the islands of Wak. And suitors 

shall ventuie across deserts and sea, by caravel and 

camel, and fall on their knee in suppliance for thee. 
MARSINAH. Yehh ! 
HAJJ. But I thy sire, (leaning on NARJIS lazily as 

thoiigh she were a feather bed.} shall lie back on 

pillows of c.itrich plumes, propping mine elbow 

thus, nor turning to right nor to left. And there 

shall be wail ; ;igs and gnashings of teeth amongst 

thy lovers; tlu while thou, behind many lintels, in 

a court of marble with a roof of molten gold, 

dancest merrily, airily, to the sound of smitten 

MARSINAH. (Laughingjoyfiiflyand clapping her hands.) 

Ya ha ! Ya ha ! 
HAJJ,. (Trimnghantly.) HajJ3>! (Eagerly.) Dance 

now, &~ JavylHjRuB^y^flpw 1 O Narjis, pluck a 

tune urifh thy tnltw" (Hands her the lute.) Up, 

O Marsinah, up ! My tom-tom, O Narjis 1 My 

tom-tom ! 

(MARSINAH springs up. She begins to dance 
slowly, then faster and faster. NARJIS, after 
handing HAJJ his tom-tom, plays and occasion- 
ally sings as well.) 

HAJJ. (Beating the tom-tom, shrilly} Yehh ! Allah ! 
LaYayha"! LaYayha"! So shalt thou dance ! SoJ ^ 
And the kings of the earth shall send their sons ! - . 

La Yayha" ! By thy youth, thou art as a branch 
swaying ! La Yayha* ! But I shall laugh them to / 
scorn, all and one " Ye swine," shall I say 

(MARSINAH stops ; so does NARJIS.) V^ 
HAJJ. Nought. Neighbours. On! (They begin ' 
again.) 





X KISMET 

"Ye swine who are ye to " 

{Another knock.) 

(Outside?) Open in the name of justice. 
HAJJ. (Instinctively looks at his garments?) Wah ! 
Go indoors, O my delight, go ! (He throws the 
bundle to MARSINAH.) 

(MARSINAH, taking the bundle, goes into the 
house wondering.) 

HAJJ. (To NARJIS,) Open 1 Open ! Open ! 
(NARJIS o^ens the house door.) 

(HAJJ sits expectant, tracing figures in the sand 
with his finger-tips) 

(The CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH enters be- 
hind him come ZAYD and AMRU and FOUR 
ARCHERS. THE ARCHERS fling epen the double 
doors to the street and guard them. NASIR 

enters as well.) 
\ v* 

CAPTAIN. Is this the house of Hajj, the beggar ? 

HAJJ. What would ye ? 
( '- ZAYD. I knew 'twas he ! Seize the dog I 
HAJJ. Seize me ? (He rises abruptly.) 
ZAYD. Those are the very garments. 
CAPTAIN. Thou must come before the Wazir 

Mansur. 
HAJJ. (Terrified at the name) Mansur? I paid 

in part I meant to pay in fulL 
f$-"AMRU. Thou liest, O split of tongue. 
HAJJ. Lie? I? (He goes for AMRU.) 

(Two ARCHERS secure HAJJ between them.) 
CAPTAIN. No words ! Off with him. 

(THE ARCHERS march HAJJ to the door) 
NASIR. (Darting forward and grinning into HAJJ*S 

face) Ha! Ha! 
HAJJ. (Stopping as he sees NASIR.) Oh 1 Thou 1 




KISMET 55 

NASIR. (Mockingly imitating HAJJ'S voice.) I saw 

no purse. 
HAJJ. (Spitting in NASIR'S face.) Thou filth ! 

Thou son of filth. 

(He is led off, the other men following!) /l-t*/* 
Ml^J^nVrjt^in^^ 



[CURTAIN] 





SCENE IV. A Hall in the Wazir Afansur's Mansion. 

The room is a large oblong one, with a colonnade running ** *+^& 
along the back, looking out on a colonnaded courtyard* '*+** 
beyond. A large doubk door to the left leads to 
entrance hall. Opposite it, in the right wall, 
niche with a diwan, raised a step or two. The tiles 
and carvings are of the richest. 

MANSUR is seated on the diwan, before him a chess- 

board. 
AFIFE is crouching to the right on the steps, his partner 

in the game. 

KAFUR stands behind them watching. 
MANSUR is in a siillen humour, his mind not on the 

game. 

AFIFE. (Making a move, in a high squeaky voice!) 

Move, O master. 
MANSUR. (Moving a chess-man!) Now match me 

this move, O thou bundle of misery. 
AFIFE. Match it? (He moves!) Thy turn, O my 

master. 

MANSUR. (Moving again!) So I 
AFIFE. Check ! 



56 KISMET 

MANSUR. Check ? Now cursed be Satan the Stoned ! 
What Ifrit is at thine elbow? This is the third 
game thou dost beat me. 
AFIFE. Thy thoughts wander, O my Lord. 
MANSUR. Dost thou wonder they wander, o thou 
misbegotten lump of dough? Wander? They 
AjJkX gallop, they fly ! Even though I myself must 

\ crawl at other men's heels these days. 
/ xlft^ KAFUR. (To MANSUR.) There's yet one more move 

for thee. 

MANSUR. (Studying the board.) One more ? 
KAFUR. So ! (He sweeps the chessboard clear with his 
sword). 

(The dtor opens and an ATTENDANT enters!) 

ATTENDANT. A Chamberlain from the Caliph, O my 

lord. 
MANSUR. Admit him. 

(The ATTENDANT ushers in the CHAMBERLAIN 
from the CALIPH who enters with a sealed 
scroll. He comes up to MANSUR and bows.) 

CHAMBERLAIN. From the Commander of the Faithful 
to his Wazir Mansur. j^J^ 

(KAFUR turnrfaid takes the letter from the CHAM- 
BERLAIN and hands it to MANSUR. MANSUR 
rises and takes the letter ', touches the top of his 
head with it, then breaks the seals and scans 
the contents. His lips contract. After a 
moment's pause he says to the CHAMBERLAIN.) 

MANSUR. Harkening and obedience to the Prince 
of True Believers. 

(The CHAMBERLAIN bows and retires as he 

came.) 

- 

MANSUR. (Springing up with great rage!) Hear! 
Hear 1 (Reading from right to left) " In the name 



KISMET 



57 



of Allah, the Compassionating the Compassionate. 
From Abdallah, Caliph and King of Mankind to 
his Wazir of Police. But after. We find all the 
moneys of our various departments of state, com- 
plete and in account, saving those under thy control. 
Report thou to us accordingly at our diwan this 
day. Though mine uncle the King be dead, 
justice and order have not died with him." (He 
tears the letter to bits, stufif-rtrips itt^-Mt~m<t<?i, 
ctou*4km*mi tyfa ilfam u*/.*j>.) W^h ! 



handiwork, big-turban'd, brinfjM fjnn^rlfn sow ! 
So I'm to end throiigh,^ff^Jt7.who sat in hi 
seat, hard h^jjbn nrrtr'ftTTnr thrortST By all devils 
round hell, I swear this shall never be 
(He strikes at 

ATIFE in fas rag*-) 

KAFUR. What wilt thou do, O my lord ? jp 
[ANSUR. I would I had him between my feet to 

the tongue from his teeth. 

AF\FE. A hundred grammatical tongues will not 
ig back one danik of the moneys thou hast 
squandered. 

MANSER. Justice and order ! (He spits out a piece 
oft\letter.) Pah ! Show me the Wazir of Police 
who nftth crushed with a heavier hand, whose sword 
made tiye execution ground as slippery. Recall ye 
not the merry summer's night when with mine own 
hand, in\en waves of the scymitar, I carved my 
old jester mto as many pieces ? 
AFIFE. TheVd jester ! Ha I Ha 1 'Twas his last 

quirk ! \ 

KAFUR. How \e laughed ! 

^THEY all laugh.} 

MANSUR. Alas forVthe glorious drunken nights of 
passion and powet The feasts of beauty and 
blood ! Awah, awaty awah ! 




58 KISMET 



KAFUR. Were Prince Omar Caliph, never wouldst 

thou have lost thy seat of honour. 
. AFIFE. Higher titles would have been thine. He 

loves thee as a brother. 

KAFUR. He would have created thee Grand Wazir. 
AFIFE. Yea, Grand Wazir of all the kingdom I 
MANSUR^ Were ! Would ! Had ! The Caliph's the 
"Pf* "BflHis letter the thing alive ! The spent moneys 
^0*. Lv*"*^ must be accounted for. 'Tis my death. AwtSfl 

* 



KAFUR. The guards are yet under thy orders. 

MANSUR. For the moment. But to-night 

AFIFE. Use to-day. 

KAFUR. (Pointing to the chessboard.") One move 

and the game is thine. 
MANSUR. (J?ea/ising]!iAFUX.'s intention.) Yehh! Kill 

the Caliph? (Ht rietr in thought) 

(KAFUR and AFIFE nodmndfoli**) him, standing 
on either side of him.) 

' KAFUR. 'Tis he - 
/t* AFIFE. Or thou. 

MANSUR. (Looking from AFIFE to KAFUR.) TJfcMfl 
But how? When? Who? (Turning to AFIFE.) 
Thou? 
rji AFIFE. (Grovelling at MANSUR'S feet.) Alas! I lack 

the strength. 

MANSUR. (Turning to KAFUR.) Thou? 
KAFUR. (Falling on his knees.) Am I not known by 

every servant in the palace ? 

MANSUR. Then where shall I find him ? This fellow 
strong enough, unknown enough, to stab and stab 
tn 




KAFUR. Fear not^Fate hath written the deed in 
the lines of someone's forehead. And when the 
hour comes he will be ready. v* 

ur" 



KISMET 59 

.,MANS 



K- -* ^- J, 

(The door opens and the ATTENDANT enters and f &*** 
bows. Outside voices can be heard.) , ' . , 

MANSUR. What noise is that ? -- 

ATTENDANT. Some merchants in the hall, O my 

lord. They have caught a thief and come for justice. 
MANSUR. Justice do they ? Justice ! By Allah ! 

I'll dispense them justice. Have them enter. (He 

goes back to the diwan and sits.) 

(KAFUR and AFIFE take their wonted positions 
by his side.) 

(The two shopkeepers, A^IRU and ZAYD, enter, 
after them NASIR, the CAPTAIN OF THE 
WATCH and FOUR ARCHERS. A crowd of 
loiterers (six or eight) follow, who kneel or 
stand in the background. AMRU and ZAYD 
approach and kneel. Two NEGRO EUNUCHS 
enter and stand at the back.) 




O eye of uprightness ! 

judgment. 

MANSUR. Speak your grievance. 
AMRU. There came a man to my shop - 
ZAYD. And mine - 
AMRU. And he fanned a quarrel 'twixt me and my 

fondest friend. 
ZAYD. And meantime off he stole with garments of 

both of us. 
MANSUR. Where's the thief? 

(HAJJ is/ brought through the door by Two 
ARCHERS and prostrates himself before 
MANSUR, the ARCHERS retiring) 

HAJJ. ( With great saintliness, on his knees.) O Wazir 
of wazira, O Wisdom of wisdom, O Clemency of 




60 KISMET 

clemencies ! I seek refuge in thy sanctity from 
these my foul-mouthed defamers. A thief I? 
Allah forfend. I am a man of religion and peace. 
They fell to fisticuffs and curses before me, these 
two, till mine ears were stung with their ungodliness 
and mine eyes wounded. So I laid my moneys on 
the carpet of the shop and went my silent ways. 
ZAYD AND AMRU. (Together?) Liar ! 
AMRU. We'd not so much as fixed on a price. 
HAJJ. Wilt thou swear I paid thee no earnest 
money ? 

U. A miserable dinar or two to blind me. 
HAJJ. Blind thee ? What cause had I to blind thee ? 
ZAYD. Thou art a well-known beggar. 
HAJJ. A beggar ? Showed I thee not a swollen 

purse ? 

ZAYD. A stolen purse thou meanest. 
HAJJ. He lies, O my lord. 'Twas given me in 

charity. 

MANSUR. Given thee ? By whom ? 
HAJJ. By one Jawan a highwayman. 
MANSUR. A highwayman do charity? Now Allah 

pardon thee. Tell the truth. 
HAJJ. May doomsday break if I lie. 
MANSUR. How ? A highwayman here in Baghdad ? 
An exile with a price on his neck ? Thou art mad. 
HAJJ. By mine honesty! There stands his guide 

Nasir. Ask him. 

MANSUR. (To NASIR.) O thou ! Is this so ? 

NASIR. (Coming forward and kneeling between HAJJ 

and the merchants?) 'Tis true such an one lodges 

at my Khan, O my lord. But he is come to 

\r^ the city in repentance, to pray at the tombs of 

saints. 

MANSUR. {Furious?) Saints and repentance ! His 
coming spits at the law I {To the CAPTAIN OF THE 
WATCH.) Go with yon fellow. Find the highway- 
man. Take him to the royal diwan this mid-after- 



KISMET 61 

noon. The Caliph shall note how I uphold justice 
and order. 

(The CAPTAIN OF THE WATCH moves to the door 
with Two ARCHERS.) 

r HAJJ. (Interrupting) O my lord, a word ! (To 
Ajjd } NASIR.) Tell the Lord Wazir, thou sawest the 

Sheikh throw me a purse. 
NASIR. (Copying HAJJ'S manner in the first scene) 

I ? I saw no purse. 
'HAJJ. (Producing the purse; pleading to him) 

Nasir ! Here it is. 
NASIR. I saw no purse. 
MANSUR. 'Tis well. Off! 

(NASIR goes with the CAPTAIN and ARCHERS.) 

MANSUR. (70 HAJJ.) Asforthee Give me the purse ! 

HAJJ. J^OSfl (He hands the purse to KAFUR, who 
hands it to MANSUR.) 

MANSUR. (Pocketing the purse in his sleeve) Thou 
art a liar and a thief. (75? KAFUR.) The sword and 
the cauldron of oil. (KAFUR bows and motions to 
the NEGROES who go off into the courtyard.) 
' MANSUR. Tby right hand is forfeit to the merchants. 
* HAJJ. (Looking at his hand) My hand ? 

MANSUR. (75? the shopkeepers, smilingly) Two 

fingers to each. I pray you quarrel not over the 

thumb. (AMRU and ZAYD smile politely in response) 

ft, HAJJ. My hand ! My hand ! Thou'lt cut off my 

hand? 

_ MANSUR. Says not Allah in His Holy Koran : " If a 
man steal, cut off his hand " ? 

HAJJ. Alas, O poor hand! Thou couldst have 
served the Wazir of Wazirs, a courtier to his whims, 
a slave to his desires. (The Two EUNUCHS re-enter 
from the court-yard bearing a boiling cauldron) 

MANSUR. Now by the dog, thy father, of what 
service to me were a rogue's hand like thine ? 





62 KISMET 

(The EUNUCHS place the boiling cauldron on 
HAJJ'S wrist.) 

HAJJ. What service? There's not a stronger a 

prompter a bolder in Baghdad ! Ready to plunder 

and pillage, to slash and stab, at thy least command. 
fy( MANSUR. (Starting at the word" stab".) Stab? 
, KAFUR. (To HAJJ.) Cease thy talk, bare thy wrist 

(He unsheathes the sword.) 
HAJJ. (Turns and sees the sword, then says in a 

resigned voice.) There is no majesty nor might save 

in Allah! The Causer of Causes! The Ordainer 

of Fate and Fortune ! 
KAFUR. (About to raise the sword.) Art thou 

prepared ? 
HAJJ. Even as the Fox for the Wolf. Strike I 

(KAFUR raises the sword.) 
MANSUR. Hold! The Fox and the Wolf? What 

story is that ? 
HAJJ. O Wazir of the Age, 'twere too long to recount 

(looking round slyly.) with yon sword in the air. 
MANSUR. Then shall it first sever thy wrist. 
HAJJ. (With an eloqitent gesture.) Who, can tell a 

tale without his two hands ? -*-,-*$>**"> (j? 
MANSUR. Knowest thou many histories ? 
HAJJ. Ask the beggars of my quarter. The teller 

of night-tales they call me one and all. 
MANSUR. Away with the cauldron ! (To KAFUR.) 

Hither with the sword. 

(KAFUR hands MANSUR the sword; the EUNUCHS 
take the cauldron into the courtyard.) 

MANSUR. What is thy name ? 

HAJJ. (Creeps nearer, on his knees.) Hajj, O my lord. 

MANSUR. Thou shalt serve me, O Hajj. Thy wit 

shall shorten the weary watches of my sleeplessness. 

Take this sword, the badge of thy new dignity. 

(He offers him the sword.) 







ISMET 63 



HAJJ. O fountain of grace ! My hand blesses thee 

/for ifcs salvation, my lowly self for its elevation. 

/ (He takes tfie sword and raises it to his forehead.) I 

am thy mameluke,. thy chattel. (He touches the. 

ground with his head.} 

MANSUR. Rise ! Mansur's servants do not kneel. 
HAJJ. (Rising proudly.) Is it thy pleasure that my 

first act should be an act of clemency ? 
MANSUR. Do as thou wilt. 
HAJJ. (Turning ferociously on the shopkeepers.) Then 

down, O ye calamities ! Down, I say, and cry my 

mercy for lying as ye did, ye false-of-faces ! 

(The SHOPKEEPERS sink down in terror. HAJJ 
approaches them flourishing his sword before 
them.) 

HAJJ. Confess ye lied ! Confess ye lied ! 

AMRU and ZAYD. (Scarcely audible?) We lied ! We-. 

lied! 

HAJJ. Louder, by your garlic breaths, louder ! 
AMRU and ZAYD. We lied ! Pardon ! Pardon ! 
HAJJ. Pardon ? So ye send not my lord rich gifts 

of atonement none shall answer for your lives. Up ! 

Turn your faces and show the breadth of your 

shoulder. 

W*" 

(The SHOPKEEPERS rise and hurry out by the 
door> more dead than alive. HAJJ prods their 
backs with his sword as they vanish.) 

HAJJ. (Turning to MANSUR with a flourish!) Is it 
well, O my master ? 

MANSUR. 'Tis a beginning. Go now ! Get thee to , 
thy new quarters. (To /A? ATTEND A^T.) Ho'fagl 1 
See Hajj be lodged and robed fittingly. Garb him 
in <4fcg Persian parments^nfc mir .fan** ifran iga/ji ilL 
Alas, poor fellow! He died most sudden of a 
immer evening. (With a reassuring smile.) Thou 






cL^^- 



64 KISMET 



HAJJ. I*S!fS a tree thy bottrilj liaili ^fllted. May 
the fruit of mv gjadeavour be to thy taste ever. (He 

MANSUR. Thou shalt giy us a smack of thy quality 
after the mid-day mearfT Go ! Whoso loveth me 
let him show honofir to Hajj ! (He waves his 
handkerchief in si&f of dismissal.) 

HAJJ. (Turns gfm with a heroic gesture motions the 
curious asidjd) Room for the Wazir's Jester, O ye 



(The CROWD falls back before him.) 
(The ATTENDANT leads the way to the left.)+ ( 
(HAJJ struts out condiicted by the ATTENDANT.) 

MANSUR. (To KAFUR and AFIFE.) Think ye I've 
pardoned this mountebank to listen to foolish 
fables ? ( With great emphasis.) He is the man. 

KAFUR. What man ? 

MANSUR. The man to kill the Caliph. 

(Through the colonnade at the back HAJJ is seen to 
enter t/ie courtyard from the left and cross over 
to the right, preceded by the ATTENDANT, 
MANSUR'S SERVANTS and Two EUNUCHS, 
bending low, the crowd following. HAJJ turns 
to the hall and seeing MANSUR, bows again to 
him. MANSUR acknowledges his bow with a 
grim smile. HAJJ, delighted, turns, twirling 
his moustachios and with enormous swagger 
moves to the colonnade, right, the ATTENDANT 
(ringing to the new favourite.) 



[CURTAIN] 
End of Act i 



ACT II 







66 BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

NOON 

The MAN enters from his house, seats himselj 
and sings : 

Lo ! Now the blazing banner of the sun 
In noonday sky its victory hath won ; 
And even as on mighty battle plain 
So lieth, stretched and stricken, everyone. 

The WOMAN enters from her house, seats herself 
and sings : 

Lo ! Now in the harim I seek in vain 
The shadowed cool of midnight to regain ; 
Yet though I burn, 'tis not the heaven's eye 
' / That dooms my senses to eternal pain ! 

The MAN 

Wah ! That some wondrous wizard passing by 
Would charm to silence this my misery. v._ 

The WOMAN 

Wah ! Might some mystic spell invade me so 
That all my yearning would for ever die ! 

BOTH 

O Thou, Bestower of all things, bestow 
This benediction on Thy servantslow. 

Thf^^mfefiKR. enters an^^ixsTvmcals the MAN 
to the WOMAN, and the WOMAN to the MAN. 
When he has retired they rise and sing : 

At last thou openest the future's wall, 
Revealing my desire's inmost call, * 
O Fate, thou greatest sorcerer of all ! 

Th''ii ///<'] draw f< ^iJicr /,-'/ an instant. But 
the hour is not yet ripe. So they turn and 
enter their respective houses. They have seen 
each other. 












KISMET 67 



ACT II 

AFTERNOON 
SCENE I. The Hall in the Wazir Mansttr's Mansion. 

The same scene as the last, but richl* embroidered curtains 
have now been drawn betu<f.m the columns to keep 
out the glare of the afternoon sun. This gives tk: 
room a more intimate feeling. Two large cushions 
have been placed on the floor and between them i 
low wine-table with beakers of wine, drinking 
bowls, fruits, sweetmeats, and a bunch of aromatic 
herbs. 



MANSUR is reclining on one cushion. AFIFE and 
KAFUR jrr rrr ffrr frmnrr Two SLAVES stand 
ready to replenish the cups. 

On the cushion to the left is seated HAJJ, in a brilliant 
fantastic Persian robe and a gorgeous turband. He 
sits up very erect, his eyes sparkling, his arms out- 
stretched evidently at the climax of his story. 

HAJJ. " Thereupon, O hearer, the fox saw his foe, 
the wolf, was slain ; and henceforth he abode alone 
\T in the vineyard, secure to the hour of his death." 

But Allah is all-knowing ! 

MANSUR. In sooth, a pleasing tale ! 

(He drains his cup and holds it out to the SLAV!, 
who fills it up again.") 

KAFUH. Good ! Good ! 

AFIFS. (Clapping his hands .) More! More! More. 
MANSUR. (Signing to the slave behind HAJT.) Nay 
first another cup 

v a 



68 KISMET 

HAJJ. (Putting his hand over his cup.) O my Lord, 
pardon me. I am not wont to drink wine. 

MANSUR, Tush ! 'Tis nothing. Thin, red morning 
tipple. This night will we robe us in robes of gold 
and flame-colour and fall to quaffing in earnest ; 
sweet Greek vintage that breeds gladness even to 
madness. (He holds out the cup, which the SLAVE 
fills. Then MANSUR passes it to HAJJ.) May I 
never be afflicted with thy loss/ ^ c*"V *&*!>* 
(HAJJ, bowing to MANSUR, accepts the cu and 
kisses it.) 

HAJJ. The slave to thy wishes revealed or concealed. 

(He drains it and returns it to MANSUR.) 
MANSUR. (Pointedly.) So thou sayest and hast said. 
HAJJ. Put me to the test, O my master. What tale 

dost thou desire ? 

MANSUR. What tale? (Confidentially to HAJJ.) 
_ Harkee, O Hajj. Thou hast wasted thy years. 

Thou canst turn the ear inside out by thy talk. 
X Long ago thy wit should have won thee a wazirdom. 
HAJJ. I ? Wazir ? 
MANSUR. Yehh ! Thou art marked for it by fate. 

Is this not so, O Kafur? 
KAFUR. Thou hast said it. 
^MANSUR. (To HAJJ.) Thou seest? There's no 

escaping honours, O Hajj the Wazir ! O the Wazir 

Hajj! 
HAJJ. (Stroking hit moustachios.) The Wazir Hajj ! 

O my lord, what stair will lead me to so high a 
_> iiiimirrT? 
MANSUR. What stair ? 

(The ATTENDANT enters by the door.ji-^ 

ATTENDANT. 'Tis the hour of the di^ap, O my 

lord. 
MANSUR. The diwan ! 'Tis well. (Rises.) (The 

ATTENDANT leaves.) I go to robe myself. Await 



KISMET 69 

me but a handful of moments, O my friend. When 
I return I shall open a gate undreamt of by thy 
dearest dream. Till then, Allah increase thee, O 
Wazir to be. 

(MANSUR goes off followed by KAFUR, AFIFE, 
and the Two SLAVES.) 

HAJJ. Wazir ! Wazir ! Another cup ! A cup to thee, 
O Wazir Hajj, thou friend of the great, thou of the 
great thyself. (He drinks another cup and struts X 
across the room.) Wazir ! (He approaches the 
diwan.) Yehh ! Why not ? {He seats himself on 
the diwan.) Even such a seat was destined my 
limbs from eternity ! ( With a chuckle.) The 
Wazir Hajj ! f 

(MiSKAH, aslavfrgirl, enters through the curtains 
at the back./ She is, of course, -veiled. She 
looks about cautiously, then glides to HAJJ'S I.. . 
side, and throws herself at his feet.) 

MISKAH. O my master, my mistress bids me come 
kiss the dust of thy slippers. 

HAJJ. Yehh ! Who may be the mistress of so fair 
a messenger ? 

MISKAH. Hush ! If we be heard 'tis death. ^ . 

HAJJ. Speak low then. What is it ? ^f^S 

MISKAH. 'Tis sooner told than mended. At noon- 
tide, lying within the lattice of the harim, my lady 
saw thee cross the courtyard the servants bowing 
to earth before thy valiant stride. 

HAJJ. (Delighted.) Valiant stride ! (He strokes his 
moustachios.) Yehh ! Did she, forsooth ? 

MISKAH. O noble stranger, who art thou ? Whence 
comest thou ? What is the measure of thy staying ? 
Such and more would my mistress know. For from 
noon till now is all her being become one yearning 
question. 

HAJJ. And all my being from now to eternity one 



70 KISM] 

^r ^ 

burning reply. So haste ! Brinj^tis together that 

we may spell a sweet completeness. [Ajw 
MISKAH. Follow me, then. "But by the M^ of thy 

head mark thy path. For we must s*ep over the 

sleeping door-keeper of the harim. x I have plied 

him with drugs. Three blessed hours will he lie 

thus in stupor no longer. After me ! 
HAJJ. Hold ! I cannot leave. Any moment the 

Wazir may return. Might not thy mistress favour 

me with her coming (^Hvsv*0 
MISKAH. Hither ? 
HAJJ. (Pointing to the door.) Thou couldst s 

guard. 
MISKAH. I'll take thy message, O my master? 

her consent means madness . (She disappears through 

the curtains.) Ate 

HAJJ. (Left alone, smiles.) "Madness!" "Valiant 

stride ! " (He sits erect.) " Noble stranger ! " O 

Hajj ! Thou wast not so mistaken in thyself. 

There's a something, a somehow about thee no 

doubt of that ! 



(He draws out his sword using the blade as a 
mirror by which to arrange his moustachios.) 

(The curtains part again MISKAH re-enters.) 

MISKAH. She comes ! (She glides rapidly to the door 
left and sits listening.) 

KUT-AL-KULUB enters, a voluptuous woman of 
the" ripe oriental type she is about eight and 
twenty. Her dress is very rich, over it a 
gorgeous mantle. Her veil is of the thinnest.) 

Kux-AL-K. (Kneeling before him.) Welcome and 

well come to my illustrious lord. 
HAJJ. A thousand blessings on thy white forehead, O 

mistress of my days. 
Kux-AL-K. Allah, forgive me J Only the wildness of 

V 




KISMET 71 

despair could drive me to break the bonds of my 

harim. 

HAJJ. I am earth to thy treading. 
Kux-AL-K. (With a sigh and exaggerated emotion.) 

Now, by my life ! I knew mine eyes beheld a king 

the instant they lighted upon the grace of thy 

being. Help me ! Help me ! I am oppressed 

beyond endurance. 

HAJJ. Who art thou ? One of Mansur's wives ? 
Kux-AL-K. (Springing up, indignantly?) One - ? I 

am the Wife of wives ? A. * 

MTSKAH. 5^ shM .^X^^S* 1 

HAJJ. His first? The great, lady? 
Kux-AL-K. First in fact. - Yet might I be the least 

and lowest a blackamoor kitchen wench were I 

to be ranked by his reckoning. f(i**ZZ* L. > 
HAJJ. Never tell me he ceases adoring thee even for 

the wink of an eye-lid. 

. (Shrilly.) Cease adoring^^He 1 
( Warningly.) S shj* 

with appeal.} Behold 




this arm ! (Sff&J&ffSuces a gorgeous arm from her 
cloak.) Is thjs'arnv^shrivelled ? Shrunk ? 

HAJJ. (Aflfrfiringly.) >^rivclled ? What dog says 
shrivllu ? \ 

Kirp-A'L-K. (Opening her r/ra^^This bosonjuyellow ? 

iMjj. (Overcome.) Yellow, thisneRl (jrfmes ? 

Kux-AL-K. (Turning back} Now tell me, by thine 
nour: callest thou me hump-backed? 



(She drops the cloak and turns round revealing her 
form,provokingly clad in scanty splendour.) --^^ 

HAJJ. O thou copious beauty ! Am I a boy that J 
thou shouldst mock me thus ? ^X 

Kux-AL-K. ( Unveiling her face} Or is my face pock- 
pitted ? My nose crooked ? My mouth crumpled ? 

HAJJ. Allah help me ! What art thou doing to me, 
O cruel one ?X , \^ v 



72 KISMET 

Kto-AL-K. ( With a gliding step as she approaches him 
languorously.) And my gait? ^Making slow 
gesfb^es.) Is my motion like ^.--popinjay's on a 
perch'i, (Coming close to him apd 'sitting on the diwan 
below him.) My glance the- stare of a dead thing? 

HAJJ. O sSm of the ag^ef Dazzle not my sight to 
blindness ! \Strike n^t my senses to frenzy. 

Kux-AL-K. (Keignipg surprise, -veiling her face, and 
turning from h^nT) Woe upon me ! Hath my rage 
disrobed me, 

HAJJ. O ligjarc of Splendour, cloud not thy rays. Shut 
me not in blackest darkness. 

veil a little from her face, 
:h? 



Mt5re 

Kux-AL-K. ( ( 7 Viij1 i flf'ffj fur jw'/iimr/ii'hV^ ) O thou man 
among men ! Why must I obey thy bidding ? (She 
looks down provokingly.) 

HAJJ. (Drawing closed) What is thy name ? ^ 

Kux AL-K. Kut-al-Kulub, the food of hearts. 

HAJJ. In very sooth, thou art the food of hearts. I 
could feast on thy plenty for ever and yet be an- 
hungered still. 

Kux-AL-K. Alas ! Why have I never heard words 
like thine till now ? 

HAJJ. (Coaxing.) Never till now ? 

Kux-AL-K. ( Coyly.) By my head, never ! All day 
and all night I sit alone under my silent dome, in 
the fever of my solitude ; my tears my sole 
consolers. 

HAJJ. Tears ! Thou must let me come to thee and v 
kiss them away. /Txl i 

Kux-AL-K. (Pretending horror.) Art thou mad ? 0{j /. 

HAJJ. Aye, maddened by the insolence of thy beauty. C*~* 

Kux-AL-K. (&ijja&*wi\i '"fuming "from mm, pro- 
Alhhl i Kiif mi? Thnu? Out on 





KISMET 



73 



thee ! 'Tis easily seen thou art loved too much, by 

too many. 
HAJJ. (He follows her, comes close to her, and suddenly 

says in a very businesslike way.) When shall it 
Kux-AL-K. (Dropping all artifice, eagerly.) /This 

evening early with the new risen moon.yr x 
A,t HAJJ. How shall I reach thee 1 f<Wu***fr'**- ) 
Kux-AL-K. Come to this cotirtyard./'My faithful 

slave of the firehole shall await thyroming and lead 

thee by an unknown passage und^r the baths straight 

to the heart of the harim. *^ 
MISKAH. ( Springing up, anxiously.) O mistress 

(She points to the door^ft -\ 

(HAJJ kisses Kux-AL-K. on the lips. She tears 
herself away and hurries off through the 
turtains followed by MISKAH.) 

11s 




(Fftrtging his arms out in ecstacy.] 

(Hearing MANSUR, he quickly resumes the 
position on the floor, in which MANSUR left 



(MANSUR re-enters clad in armour, followed -by 
KAFUR and AFIFE.) 




- 



MANSUR. O Wazir Hajj are thine eyes ready for 

me to open ? 

HAJJ. Ready, O my master. 
MANSUR. Swear that thou wilt never reveal what I 

HAJJ,- I give thee the bond of Allah, to whom belong 

rionour and glory. 
MANSUR. 'Tis well. How prompt art thou to do a 

deed? 

HAJJ. (Kneeling} Order me do, and 'tis done. 
MANSUR. (After a pause.) Kill the Caliph. 
HAJJ. (Thunderstruck.) The Caliph? 
MANSUR. I said what I said. 



74 KISMET 






HAJJ. The Caliph! ii "Vt 

Shed his sacred blood ? 
MANSUR. **d^~HbMMM9 A toy to a tutor? (** 

Prince Omar should be reigning in his stead. 
HAJJ. Prince Omar ! 
MANSUR. eMH He's no parchment-worm ! He's 

a man, a warrior, a king to the core. 
HAJJ. And were Prince Omar Caliph how would 

that help my cause ? 
MANSUR. The hour he's proclaimed Caliph, that 
hour am I Grand Wazir. Once Grand Wazir, there's 
no favour too lofty for thee to climb to. / jjt? 

HAJJ. \akM ! But why choose me for the deed ? 
Me, from all the servants that encircle thee as the 
white of the eye doth the black. 
t,t MANSUR. I wish to honour thee., 
*f HAJJ. (Not without humour?) Honour me less, I 

pray thee. 
MANSUR. Wouldst thou have me nick a fool for such 

work ? I tell thee, thou ar/thyman. 
HAJJ. (Confused.) AwahyTS^ Caliph! To at- 
tempt to approach him>urralnded as he is ever by 
a body-guard of reaity^scymfars ! 
MANSUR. Naught irn rnr^r He holds his diwan after 
i f mid-afternoon prayer, dealing decrees to great and 
V/ small, bidding and forbidding. Didst thou not say 

ertswhile thou knewest how to juggle ? 
HAJJ. Trick on trick ! Oft I play them at my 

corner ! A wizard from Morocco was my teacher. 
MANSUR. The very device ! Even such another 
Moorman shalt thou stand to-day before the Caliph 
\ seeking protection as a stranger. I'll turn it so 
^ \ that he bids thee unfold these tricks of thine?* !)*-. 
'. / thou, by thy skit 1 , draw him step by step from his 
throne, till he pass beyond the circle of safety and* 
stand unguarded, unhctdful by thy side. Then 
C sudden plunge thy dagger. 
\Jfc HAJJ. The guards would cut me down. 



KISMET 75 

MANSUR. Once the Caliph killed, the command of 

the guards falls unto me. 
HAJJ. Ask aught else. This I cannot 
MANSUR. (Half aloud as to himself, temptingly?) 

Hajj, the Wazir ! The Wazir Hajj ! 
HAJJ. I cannot kill Allah's messenger. , Cut off my 

hand and let me go. fa+**4jt^ I*.* 
MANSUR. ( g *'riffl4 Let thee go? Now? Thy 

hand to ransom thee with such a secret in thy heart ? 

By the Venger of villainy, thou shall not leave this 

house alive ! 'Tis either my cup companion, or 

(pointing,) down into the vaults of oblivion. 
HAJJ. Was il for this I was raised to favour? 
MANSUR. (Sneeringfy.) For thy beauty mayhap? 
HAJJ. (Clenching his hands.) The Caliph. I cannot! 

I cannot ! 

MANSUR. Thou art a coward. 
HAJJ. Not for myself. Bui I have others in my life. 

Affections that bind me. I have a daughter. 

A*8h4 (He grovels on the ground.) 
MANSUR. ( With a sudden look at KAFUR.) Young ? 

Unmarried ? 

HAJJ. Unmarried. 4fi^f! 
MANSUR. Fair ? 

HAJJ. Fairer than fair. Wilh a voice like a nightin- 
gale's. A thousand songs are hers. When she 

dances the gates of Paradise are opened. L t$~\j**f** 
MANSUR. (Doubtfully.) Sayesl Ihou so. (He mcntes 

signs to AFIFE and KAFUR, unobserved by HAJJ.) 
. ~-ry HAJJ.V' I lell Ihee she is a slice of the moon ! With 
/|Li/* lips tender, and waist slender, and graces countless, 

.ifo tongue can render. 
MANSUR. By Allah ! Thou hast set me afire. I'll 

take her to wife. 
HAJJ. (Overcome.) Thou? The Wazir Mansur 

my Marsinah ? 
MANSUR. Even so. 
HAJJ. (JPfiMj, 'iW dyiMiyg.) Wife ? 



l (fct~~ \ 




KISMET 



V? 




MANSUR. Yea, wife not concubine. My other 
wives will I put away from me. She shall be first 
of them all. 

HAJJ. Thou'lt swear it ? 

MANSUR. Swear it? (He raises his right hand.) The 
Opening Chapter of the Koran be between me and 
thee upon this/ Afife, Kafur, be ye sponsors to our 
cojpsrcTl5e!ore the Most High. (He holds out his 
right palm.) 

HAJJ. (Putting his right palm against Mansui's.) Ye. 
have heard. 

AFIFE AND KAFUR. (Together!) We have heard^ 

MANSUR. So be it. I'll make her mine at sunset. 
The eunuchs of the harim shall bring her hither 
this self-same hour. N^ f^ t *+~*l- \fifa 

HAJJ. Nay, let me go with them. Such tidings shall 
she learn from none save her father:. (He moves to 
the door.) \*4*^ 

MANSUR. Hold ! A^ little question ! How stand we 
as to the Caliph? ! A/A yvs. 

HAJJ. j The Caliph ? v Noy^thou hast sworn to marry 
aughter, by Him the Most High, the One, the 
mnipotent, here do I swear to stab the Caliph to 
death this day. k^/OsA* 

MANSUR. (To the others.) Ye have heard ?( ! 

KAFUR AND AFIFE. (Raising their right hands together) 
Amin I 

MANSUR. (Raising his hand.) Amin 

HAJJ. (Raising his hand.) Amin ! 






timoniously.) my brothers, the 




fame tone) Prayer ! 

( With one accord they all kneel and bend devoutly 
to Meccah.) 

[CURTAIN] 



KISMET 



77 



SCENE II 

Courtyard of a poor House. (The same scene as 
Act I. Scene III.). TJte hot sun of the afternoon 
is kept off by some awnings. The birds in the 
cages hang on the wall. 

MARSINAH is seated on the bench, her lute in her lap. 
She sings : 

I- 

fader my veil 
"lat hid I not? 
low cheeks so pale, 
* DW blushes hot : 
jder fny veil ! 





NARJIS. (Coming out of the htmse with a large 

water-jar and going to the well.} Out upon thee, 

singing away thy day ! An thou help me not in 

the house, I'll take away thy trinkets. 
MARSINAH. Touch me, and my father shall hear of 

it! 
NARJIS. Thy father ! 'Twill be long ere thou seest 

thy father again. 
MARSINAH. I'll not believe it. 
NARJIS. I tell thee this sudden wealth (With a 

gesture of thieving.) came but byway of his fingers. 

They've found him. They've taken him. 

(A knock en the house door.) 
MARSINAH. SfcHhT 'Tishe! 



78 KISMET 

NARJIS. Or the watch come for thy anklets. 
MARSINAH. (Hiding her anklets as she si/s.) 
Narjis ! 

(Another knock.) 

NARJIS. (Hurries to the door calling out.) Here am 

I ! Here am I ! Who knocks ? 
HAJJ. (Outside.) I ! Thy master. Open, O 

Narjis. 
NARJIS. Allah ! 'Tis thy father. (She unlocks the 

house door.) 
MARSINAH. (Springing up.) What said I ? 

(Enter HAJJ. He is, of course, in his brilliant 
Persian gown with his silver sword in his 
**.) f 

HAJJ. Where's Marsinah ? (He enters the court.) ^ 

MARSINAH. (Ovej-come by his appearance) O my *<r 

father ! What fresh magnificence is this ? Did 

they set thee free ? 
HAJJ. (Looking at NARJIS.) What hast thou been 

saying to her ? Calling me thief behind my heels ? 
t NARJIS. Not a word, O my lord. I am thy slave of 

admiration. 
HAJJ. O slippery mouth ! Are thieves clad in 

robes of honour? Are thieves given swords of 

office? 

MARSINAH. By my youth ! 'Tis all silver. 
HAJJ. 'Twill be gold before night. 
MARSINAH. Gold ? 
HAJJ. And before yet another night all jewels and 

gems. 
MARSINAH. Gold ! Jewels ! O Jdng of fathers ! 

Hast thou discovered some enchanted treasure ? ^N 
HAJJ. Yea, a treasure for me and a treasure for thee ! 

My dreams are dreams no longer. They are alive 

as the breath of thy lips. (To NARJIS.) Go/fetch 

me my bundle of magic. 
NARJIS. All the tricks ? 





KISl^ET 79 

HAJJ. All, and the robe 

NARJIS. Hearing and /6bedience. (She goes into the 

house at back) / 
HAJJ. (To MARSINAH.) Thy birds ! 
MARSINAH. My birds? Thou wilt have a care of 

them as ever ?/ (She brings the bird cages to him.) 
HAJJ. Care ? f Care matters not now, O my doe ! /J j 

Thou shalt have braver birds than those ere long. /If ' 

Flocks of white ones and black ones to fly at thy ] 

beck and call. V *' *- 

MARSINAH. White ones> Black ones? 
HAJJ. (Laughing.) Ha ! Ha! My large-eyed 

wonder ! ..Human birds ; slaves ! Slaves ! 
, 6^* MARSINAH. (Amazed.) I slaves ? 

HAJJ. (Squats and looks into MARSINAH'S eyes.) 
^ .^~ Larger and larger ! As many as thy whims cry out 
5^ for. O Marsinah, child of mine ! Allah hath 

poured blessings untold upon thee. Thou art to 

be wed to-night. 
MARSINAH. (Joyfully.) O my father 1 Thou hast 

seen him ! (She glances up at the garden wall.) 
HAJJ. Him? Whom? 
MARSINAH. (Confused) Him ! 
HAJJ. Thy husband ? Seen him ? I am his cup- 
companion, the friend of his bosom, his wazir to 

come. 

MARSINAH. His wazir? 
HAJJ. Indeed, how canst thou guess ? There ! I'll 

play with thee no longer. Know thy full happiness. 

Thou art to be wife to the Wazir Mansur. 
MARSINAH. (Breathless^) Mansur? 
HAJJ. He ! What sayest thou now ! Has thy joy 

stifled thee quite ? 
MARSINAH. (Blankly.) Mansur? (She sinks down, 

staring before her.\ %A Vjto-il-y > 

Yes, say it ! fciy it ! Till thy heart leamelh 
it\To beai to itSymeaSHre I^ManWr 
^^ghtyNaow, mightieX stffl 





80 



KISMET 



ere long! His wife! None above thee, now 
e equal ! 
5INAH. (Faintly, looking up.) O my father, * 

the ground. Wed me not to this man. 
EUjj.V{.&ttr.) Not? Not? 
MARSIN&H. Not to him, O my father. I pray 

Allah'sjpardon, not to him. 
HAJJ. "fts Mansur I speak of the Wazir of Police. 

The favoured of Fortune. Him thou art to wed, 

to be his gteat lady, his wife of wives. 
MARSINAH. A^as, my long grief! Say it not again, 

I entreat 

HAJJ. Say it nol 

MARSINAH. O my^father. Thou'lt not do this to me. 
HAJJ. Not what ? 

MARSINAH. Not giAme to him. Not to him. 
HAJJ. Thou shalt be\is by sundown. 
MARSINAH. Sundown \ Sundown ? This night ? 
HAJJ. How oft must I sky it ! 
MARSINAH. By the Ineffable ! May I be thy 

ransom here and hereafterV But this, this, by the 

warmth twixt my heart anck thine, the sacred bond 

of child and parent, do not \his thing to me, O my 

father and lord, not this 
HAJJ. Art thou raving ? 
MARSINAH. O sweet my father ! V^entle my father 

Father of the true eyes and tender ! Thou didst 

love my mother! Thou wert bV salvation, her 

soul's consolation in the hour of her\need 1 By her 

memory, I conjure thee. 
HAJJ. (Gently.) O Marsinah, my Gazelle, rise 

What sudden fright is thine? Has the might of 

Mansur's name o'erwhelmed thee ? 
MARSINAH. O, 'tis not his name ! 'Tis liot fright 1 

'Tis (Sits up y with sudden horror.) I cannot go to 

him 1 I will not ! 
HAJJ. Will not ? Will not ? Now woe to thee, O 

thou daughter of sin 1 May Allah never bless tb/r t 



KISMET 



81 






Is such rnv recompense for\all the y^ars of 
k nd moiling, of carl^and cave ? Hav^J work 
beggingVkfrom da\n to a\sk, screanyrfd m 
ho\rse for thy^ake ? ^jd dospihou now cry o\it, 
1 not ?\^" Will not!" to me, thine own 
father ? ^g^^CCL 

MARSINAH. (Q0**^ Pardon me,' CLjy* lord. I 

; I cannot. I cannot ! [ t*-^t-* 
T~ Cannot, forsooth ? Cannot ! Art thou all my 
soul holds dear on earth, and come I here to thee 
with the tiding of tidings and thou like the hyena 
snarlest and bitest the hand that feedeth thee ? Why 
canst thou not ? Why wilt thou not ? What is the 
why of thy why ? Speak ! 
MARSINAH, . Awah ! Awah ! Awah ! ( 



HAJJ. 
Awah 



Hr- 
-S*** 



ng her.) 




" Awah ! 

By Allah ! Verily he was a suffering father 
who said : " a son is the lamp fc of a dark house a 
daughter a desolation." f^y^L- ^ 

(NARJIS comes out oftJie house, with a robe and a 

bright kerchief.} 

. 
NARJIS. (Seeing MARSINAH on tJie ground.) What's 

here? 
HAJJ. Comest thou too? A pretty child I have, 

indeed ! A pretty spirit thou hast fostered in her. 
NARJIS. I O my master ?f ^KT*^** 
HAJJ. Thou O hell hag. Look on her ! There she 

lieth grovelling and howling like a kicked dog, so 

the whole quarter will wonder and come rapping on 



the door. And what for ? What for 
honour of honours has fallen upon he 
be wife to the Wazir Mansur. 
NARJIS. Mansur's wife ! By the prop 



Because the 
and she is to 

;t, is this so ? 
ride her.) O 



(She comes to MARSINAH and kneels 
Marsinah ! Hath thy star risen at las 
MARSINAH. O Narjis, I wish not to belhis wife. 




c 



82 




SMET 




HAJJ. (J&fts.) /t wish not ! I cannot ! I will not 1 
Whose wifo"tnen wouldst thou be, O thou misery ? 

MARSINAH. I know not. No one'a^ If our neighbour 
the gardener had a son his wife would I be. 

NARJIS. I've told thee before he hath no son. 

HAJJ. Ha ! The old man, the gardener, a son ? He, 
with a face like a cobbler's apron ? Ha ! Ha ! Thou 
art jesting. 'Tis well. Thou hast fooled me long 
enough. Dry thy tears. Dry thy tears, I tell thee. 

MARSINAH. I am not jesting. Sooner would I die 
than go to the Lord Mansur. 

HAJJ. By my soul sayst thou true ? 

MARSINAH. By thy soul. (She holds up her right hand.) 

HAJJ. (With intense ragt) Now Allah damn the 
mother that bore thee, and the father that begot thee ! 
May thy bones rot and thy body be flung on the ash- 
heaps beyond the gates of the city thou child of 
abomination, thou shame unforgettable ! We shall 
see ! (He goes to the street door and opens it calling.) 
Ho, masters ! Hither ! 

(Two EUNUCHS of the GiiardoftJie Harim enter. 
MARSINAH veils herself) 

HAJJ. (To the Eunuchs) This way ! Lead ye this 
maid to your Lord Mansur ! Her life be on your 
heads. 

(The EUNUCHS cross to MARSINAH and lay 
hands on her.) 

MARSINAH. (Making a final appeal to her father , 

kneeling) O my father. 
HAJJ. (Sternly) Away ! 

A Wrih I --A-Tfth * * 



(She is dragged off by the EUNUCHS.) 

(HAJJ and NARJIS look at each other and nod 
their heads with utmost content.) 

JURTAIN] 





KISMET 83 



SCENE III 

The Caliph's Diwan (Audience Hall). On the lower 
left side, raised by a few steps, stands the Caliph's 
diwan or throne ; below it, to its left, a single gold 
cushion, the seat of honour. At the back and to the 
right a lofty row of arches opens onto a terrace from 
which can be seen the whole city of Baghdad. To 
the right, benches for the dignitaries of the court. 
At the end of the terrace left, behind the Caliph's 
throne, a great tower with a massive door which 
leads down into the prisons. The architecture is of 
the finest Arabian. The view of Baghdad is 
gorgeous and sun-lit. 

The young CALIPH is seen seated on his diwan, magni- 
ficently robed. By his side stands a low table with 
a vase, from which rises the single rose given him ^~ * 
by MARS IN AH. Now and again he takes the rose . 
and smells it. Above him stands the Wazir ABU *"** 
BAKR. Later on, he seats himself to the left of the 
CALIPH, in the place of honour. Behind the throne 
stand ARCHERS with their lances, and on its steps 
the GUARDS with scymitars drawn. 

THREE ELDERLY MEN in Egyptian costume kneel before 
the throne. Behind them stands a mummy-case 
with FOUR BLACK SLAVES. In the background 
kneel female MUSICIANS and DANCERS eight in 
all. 

The CHAMBERLAIN approaches the throne and prostrates 
himself. 

CHAMBERLAIN. O Prince of True Believers, the 
Ambassadors of Egypt stand before thee bearing a 
petition and gifts for thy gracious acceptance. 

GALIPH. Display the gifts. _ 

(22#-GMTfERLAiN takes their petition to the 

CALIPH,- Mttsie strikes up.) 

G 2 





KISMET 

(The AMBASSADORS bow and sit on the bench, 
right. At a signal the SLAVES open the 
mummy-case, and an Almah (a dancer) steps 
out, who does a strange, peacock-like Egyptian 
dance, ending in a seductive posture at the feet 
of the throne. The FOUR SLAVES carry the 
mummy-case off to the right.) 

CALIPH. (Turning to the three Egyptian men.) O 
Wazirs of Cairo, return ye to Egypt and tell our 
viceroy I accept his gifts of these slave-girls and 
will consider his petition. (**&# CHAMPBR- 
LAIN.) g^if rnhf- - f u ~nnnVhi hnrleirrd nil tin 

f iT|fl Mfitf BinMN i T-Tp-ftrVpTxing arK}-Vb fa yi n g. 
i THE. THREE AMBASSADORS. (Bowing low and 

(speaking together.) Allah increase thy glory, O 
Commander of the Faithful. v 

\ 

(Conducted by the CHAMBERLAIN^ who crosses to 
them, they withdraw.) \* 

CALIPH. (To the dancers and musicians .) As for ye, 
O damsels, this hour I grant you freedom and a 
purse often thousand dirhanis to each of you. (To 

an attendant.) Conduct them in all honour from 

i -i _ 

f^^^* 

(The ATTENDANT leads 'the MAIDENS off by f C* J 
the terrace, the Alman following them with a ^~*^ 
final appealing gesture to the CALIPH.,) 

ABU BAKR. (Kneeling before the CALIPH.,) O King of 
the Earth, may thy tutor speak to his charge of 
many years ? 

CALIPH. Speak, O my father. 

ABU BAKR. Of a truth, thou committest a wrong, O 
my lord, in despising thus hourly the gifts of fair 
women. Hath Allah not created thee a man in thy 
manhood ? 

CALIPH. Seest thou this rose? Tis holier to me 



KISMET 85 

than the red rose of the Prophet ! Now by its 
holiness do I swear to thee, to-night shall put an end 
to my singleness. 

ABU BAKR. Thou hast found what thou seekest ? 

CALIPH. The while thou didst ponder over the 
revenues of the kingdom, I took my pleasure in thy 
garden. And lo ! The Bestower sent what I 
prayed for a sweet maid of a thousand wonders. 
After sundown I will ride forth to bring her home 
in full pomp, as she were a princess from a kingdom 
afar. 

ABU BAKR. And who might this Chosen of the 
chosen be, O my lord ? 

CALIPH. Who? (Smelling of the rose.) The /*' 

partner of my dreams, the half of my heart, my *t~ 
first love and my last. (He takes a golden bead and"* 
throws it into a Clip on the table: it rings like a 
gong.) 




CALIPH. Let the diwan begin ! 

(The HERALD bows^ and goes out onto the 
terrace again.) 

BAKR moves to the left of the throne, and 
s on the golden cushion.) ^wtv**** ^* 

HERALD. (Slows his trumpet, then speaks.) Whoso 

I hath authority, let him come to the Caliph's Carpet 
of Justice! ' 

(SLAVES 





.throne!) L 

(Stately music begins.) 

(The CHAMBERLAIN enters with a volume oftM(\N 
law which he brings to the throne, he then " 
retires below the throne to the furthest left 
corner, behind ABU BAKR.) 



^ 







r\ ( 




86 KISMET 

(After him follow Six DIGNITARIES of the 
Household, who bow to the CALIPH, and seat[ 
themselves near the columns leading to th 
terrace.) 

(Crowds gather outside on the terrace behind 
the arches.) 

enter, majeing their 
ng to 

(finally MANSUR arrives, followed by KAFUR 
and AFIFE. MANSUR crosses and bows to 
the CALIPH, remaining before the throne.) 

(FOUR NEGRO ARCHERS follow and place them- 
selves between the columns at the back, drawing 
their scymitars and so forming a barrier to 
keep the crowd from entering the hall.) 

(The music ceases) 

(The CALIPH signs and all the WAZIRS sit) 

MANSUR. O Commander of the Faithful ! Would 
heaven thou hadst not wearied thyself by honouring 
thy slave with a letter. The accountings of my 
treasuries are ready and in full tale. They shall be 
at thy feet to-morrow before noon-prayer. 

CALIPH. It is well. . , 

(MANSUR bows and goes to his'seat right, in front 
of the other WAZIRS). *^ 

(There is a murmur of conversation among the WAZIRS.) 

( The CALIPH throws the bead into the cup a 
second time) 

HERALD. (Blows his trumpet again) Whoso hath 
grievance, let him come to the Caliph's Carpet of 
Justice ! 

CHAMBERLAIN. (At the foot of the throne, left, stepping 
forward and utirolling a roll.) In the name of the 
Judge of Judges, peace and silence. (The crowd 




/I KlSMm 87 

vy 

ceases murmuring.) The first case : Jawan the 
highwayman. By command of the Wazir Mansur. 

MANSUR. (Rising.) O Gracious Sovereign ! The 
mighty Monarch that forewent thee, did banish all 
robbers from Baghdad both by writ and proclama- 
tion. ^.Yet this one is come to flaunt it in the white 
sunlight as though the word of our beloved lord had 
been vain as a rain-shower in the sea. Hence 
ordered I the outlaw before thee. 

(JAWAN approaches from the Jmatup, right, 
supported by Two ARCHERS.) 

CALIPH. Canst thou not walk without aid ? 

JAWAN. (Kneeling and bowing.) O Commander of 
the Faithful, Allah hath smitten my limbs with a 
curse. Thou seest my hours are numbered. I 
came not to Baghdad with evil intent. I came to 
pray for salvation at the tombs of the saints, hoping 
that my gift of alms would somewhat wipe out 
mine offending. 

CALIPH. Thou hast given money to the poor ? 

JAWAN. Send to the high priest of the cathedral- 
mosque. I seek refuge in him and his knowledge 
of my charities. 

CALIPH. By all the laws of the realm thy life is 
forfeit. Yet 'tis written " Better a generous sinner 
than a stingy saint." Go one of you to the high 
priest. (To one of the KAZIS.) Kazi-Shiniaflftfaoti. 
Inquire into this. (To JAWAN.) Aa-thou-sayeat 

, i i i -\/ f* a ^^^^""* > ^' 

-sooth, repeatance- 
kerchief of pardon. 

(One of the WAZIRS/ rises, bows, and goes off 
through the arch right.) 



Thj 



' day 1 
CALIPH. 

thou shalt to prison. 
JAWAN. Prison ? 



out. Till word be brought, 











88 KISMET 

CALIPH. A short penance for thy long list of sins. 

Take him away. 
JAWAN. Allah preserve and prosper His regent on 

earth ! (JAWAN bows to the CALIPH and is led off 

into the prison-tower, y~~^+ 
CALIPH. What is there to follow ? 
CHAMBERLAIN. (Consulting his list.) The case of 

a Moorish juggler. By command of the Wazir 

Mansur. 
MANSUR. (Rising.) O Prince of True Believers. This 

Moorman is a most marvellous wizard. Yet by his 

very excellence has he roused the jealousy of our 

native fellows of his craft, who would drive him out 

of the city. Hence doth he come to kneel to thee 

for protection. 
CALIPH. Baghdad never yet grudged hospitality to 

the stranger of worth. Bring hither the Moor. 
CHAMBERLAIN. The Moor ! 



(An ATTENDANT echoes the Vhamberlaiifs call 
and voices are heard without repeating : " The 
Moor! The Moor /") 

(HAJJ enters from the right through the columns. 
On his shoulders like a pair of scales, he 
balances a pole, the two bird cages at either 
end, his magic cloth in his hand.) 

HAJJ. (Coming forward and kneeling.) O Light of 
Islam here lies thy slave between thy hands ! 

CALIPH. Art thou this famous Moorish magician ? 

HAJJ. O King, I am as famous ^as I am Moorish, as 
Moorish as I am magician\v** Ojy ***'* 

CALIPH. An thou prove thy repute, thou shalt remain 
unmolested within our walls. 

HAJJ. Try me and be thy judgment my doom. 

CALIPH. Allah granteth thee this. Begin. 

(HAJJ bows to the CALIPH, slips off his cloak 
and waves his magic cloth in a circle) 



KISMET 89 

HAJJ. Round is the sky ! 

Round is the eye ! 
Round is nought ! 
Round is wrought ! 

(Throwing the cloth over his shoulder 
mysteriously.) 

By Iblis curst ; 
By devils worst ; 
By every name : ? 
Flame, fire, flame ! ;X 

(He produces a bowl of flaming fire from his 
cloth.) 

CALIPH. (Coming down the steps a little) Allah! 
Good. 

(HAJJ sets the bowl on the floor.) 

i j 

(The CROWD murmurs approval) \ 

HAJJ. ^Pointing to the bird-cages) O King of glorious 
degree and never ending ! Look thou next on 
these two cages; one harbouring a fair bird of 
maiden whiteness ; the other a bird black as the 
royal banner of thy house. Now even as yon 
flame of fire, so doth the flame of longing scorch 
the hearts of these hapless lovers, caged apart. Say 
me then, shall I invoke a kindlier lot upon the 
two, bringing them breast to breast ? 

CALIPH. ( Who during the speech has come down from 
his throne ; eagerly) Is't easily done ? 

HAJJ. Most easily. (He waves his magic cloth with 
his left hand and quickly draws his dagger with his 
Bright) As easily, O my lord, as this ! (He gives 
the CALIPH a violent thrust.) 

CALIPH. (Sinking backwards on the steps of the 
throne?) Awah ! 

ABU BAKR. (Throwing himself between HAJJ and 



V^ 






' 



90 KISMET 

the CALIPH.) O villain ! O hound ! Seize him ! 
Pinion him ! 

(HAJJ is surrounded in an instant by the GUARD. 
Indescribable confusion ensues. The WAZIRS 
start from their seats. The crowd breaks 
through the guards. All shout and try to get 
at HAJJ. Cries such as these are heard: 
" Tear out his eyes ! " " Rip out his heart ! " 
" O son of Satan ! " " Crucify him over the 
city gate ! " " Scorch his eyes to blindness ! " 
" Chop off his accursed fingers ! " " Cut out 
his tongue !" " Into the flames with him !" 
" O dog ! " " O hell hound ! " " O son of 
perdition ! " " Down with him !" " Down ! ") 

ABU BAKR. (Bending over the CALIPH.) How is't 

with thee ? 
CALIPH. (Recovering himself and mounting the throne?) 

Silence ] Silence ! (He throws the bead into the 

CALIPH. Silence! (Comparative silenced) Touch not 
the man. Touch him not, I say. I am safe ! 
Allah hath shielded me by the grace of my coat of 
mail. (He displays it.) 

(Gradually absolute silence is restored.) 

MANSUR. (With unction.) Praise Eternal to the 

Preserver of our King. 
ALL. " Praise to the Preserver ! " " Amin ! " "A 

thousand years to the Caliph ! " " Life forever-te 



(The cup is struck again. All regain their 
respective places .) 

(HAJJ is brought forward, held by FOUR BLACK 
ARCHERS. His whok appearance is dishevelled. f 
He looks deathly pale.) 

( Outside the day begins to wane, 



A" 



KISMET 91 



CALIPH. Why didst thou this ? 



^- 

/ALL. 
( 
^> 



6 HAJJ. (After a moment) I know not. The crime 
was foredoomed me by Fate. {' ** 

CALIPH. Before the whole world, in the place of 
places, in front of my palace, there shall thy soul be 
stripped from thee, shred by shred. Into the 
Prison of Wrath with himr '/^ & I 

HAJJ. Nay, hear me! Hear me! I was tempted 
beyond measure. 

CALIPH. How's this ? Who tempted thee ? 

HAJJ. I have sworn silence. 

CALIPH. By my holy office of Imam, I absolve thee 
of thine oath. Speak. 

HAJJ. (Half looking round at MANSUR.) I cannot. 
* f CALIPH. The key of torture shall soon unlock thy 
lips. 

HAJJ. Torture ! Nay, by the Pardoner, since thou 
dost absolve me, there sits he who tempted me ! 
Wazir Mansur.^**^ 

{In amazement?) " Mansur ? " " The Wazir ? " 
" He ? " " What says he ? " 

CALIPH. Mansur ? 

MANSUR. (Rises, glibly.) The man's be-devilled, O 
my lord. Bewitched by fiends. I know him not. 

HAJJ. Know me not ? I have shared my salt with 
him. He swore to make my daughter his bride, 
would I but end thy days. Kafur, Afife ! Bear ye 
witness ! 

CALIPH. ( With surprise to MANSUR.) How's this ? 
He calls thy men by name ? 

MANSUR. What of that? Mayhap the villain has 
frequented my halls in search of some favour. Nay, 
now I look on him true. I've done the dog a kind- 
ness. He came indeed to offer me his daughter, 
and I accepted of her. Yet not for myself, O King, 
but to serve my scavenger blackamoors. 

HAJJ. ( With a cry of horror, trying to throw himself 
on MANSUR.) Ah i 



. 
/ 




92 KISMET 

(The ARCHERS restrain him, he struggles madly?, 
CALIPH. (Calling out at once?) Silence him ! 

( One of the Archers from behind slips a black 
cloth over HAJJ'S mouth?) 

(The sky is lighted with the blaze of sunset?) 

MANSUR. Yet though the drab be now in my harim, 
by the Koran I swear, O King, even as this day 
ends red so shall she end red this day. 

CALIPH. This matter is too full for the crowded 
course of the Diwan. I shall examine into it 
apart after sundown. No ! (He takes up the rose 
half unconsciously?) Not after sundown. To- 
morrow. (With a significant look?) O Mansur, 
fail thou me not. Thy words -do far from hush my 
doubts in thee. 

MANSUR. Hearkening and obedience. 

CALIPH. Tshall sit in my scarlet of anger. Let the 
executioner be notified. Off with the wretch. Not 
a crust, not a drop to him. No hospitality shall 
bind us. He shall be made a warning to all, the 
blackest death in Islam ! Away ! 

A * (HAJJ is dragged off through the prison-door, 

' * impotent and bound. 

(A general murmur among the crowd'.) 

(%he CALIPH puts down the rose and throws the 
* into the cup.\ 

\ (Silety 

CALIPH. V\\iat case ^ave we' to com 




CHAMBERLAIN (Taking up the list.) The case 
Kabirah, thA widow. \ 

(The lithe old womem of the Bazaar appedrs afyd 
totters forward^ Kneeling before ^the throne?) 

[CURTAIN] 



KISMET 

SCENE IV. The Prison of the Palace. 

The place is dark except for a small barred window 
the right wall, high up. Through this come the 
red rays of the setting sun, which fall on the wall, 
left a brilliant patch creeping slowly higher at, 
higher. 

Under the window in the shadow lies JAWAN, the 
highwayman, an unrecognisable heap. 

A moment of silence. Then the door is unlocked and 
unbolted and creaking loudly, to the rattle ff keys, 
it admits KUTAYT, the Gaoler, a huge, dark-skinned 
man of bmte force. He piishes open the door, 
and crosses to some chains fixed to an angle that 
juts out, left, under the patch of sunlight. 

Outside is heard the shuffle of feet and blows. HAJJ 
appears directly, pushed and driven by the FOUR 
BLACK ARCHERS. His motith is still covered with 
the black bandage. The ARCHERS drag him to the 
wall, left, where KUTAYT stands ready to clap the 
chains on his wrists. 

KUTAYT. (Turning HAJJ round.) What outlandish 
garments have we here? Not Arabian. How? 
(HAJJ gives a muffled reply.) (KUTAYT pulling the 
bandage from his mouth.) How ? 

HAJJ. (Breathless.) Moorish, O my master. 

KUTAYT. Moorish! Hool Hool Wilt thou buy 
straw from me ? 

HAJJ. I have no money. 

KUTAYT. No money ? 

HAJJ. Not a danik. 

KUTAYT. {Shouting.) Nothing ? Shall I waste my 
breath sucking of an empty bottle ? Here with thy 
paws, O misery ! {He claps the chains on HAJJ.) 
YebJa, what a life is mine, crushing lice ! (He 
throws HAJJ down on the ground) Lie there, thou 



it A ^ 



94 KISMET 

vermin. Moorish ! (He spits on HAJJ, then follows 
the others banging the door to behind him, bolting 
and locking it from without.} 

(A moment of silence.") 

HAJJ. (Groaning.') There is no majesty nor might 
save Allah ! Is it this I have come to ? (Rattling 
the chains, he sinks down beating palm on palm in 
despair^) O thou purse ! Thou little purse flung 
me at sunrise ! Thou hast been mine undoing ! 
Thou wast from Satan ! From him, mine enemy. 
O Jawan ! Jawan ! As Allah is my witness, may 
thy soul be cast down into the fires of hell to burn 
and boil to infinity without end. (UuvA*4*r- ^ 9 

(Out of the gloom of the opposite wall comes 
JAWAN'S sharp voice, half mockingly.') 

JAWAN. Who calls me ? Can it be thou, O Hajj ? 
HAJJ. (Amazed.) Allah! (He sits up?) Art thou 
^^ an Ifrit speaking? 

ff JAWAN. No Ifrit, O brother. No spirit of air or fire. 
| L But thy flesh-and-bones enemy, whom thou dost 
I y curse so sweetly. 
^ HAJJ. Jawan thyself here ? 

' JAWAN. Even as thou, O my friend of long ago. 
S HAJJ. (He laughs.') Ha ! Ha ! By Allah ! Thou 
here ! And through me ! For 'twas I who told 
Mansur of thee ! My prayer is answered. We 
shall end side by side. 'Tis well. I die content. 
JAWAN. Why art thou here ? 
HAJJ. For attempting the Caliph's days. 
JAWAN. The Caliph's? Thou? Then art thou 

indeed dead. 
HAJJ. Even^as thou art. 

JAWAN. Nay, I shall be free. I tell thee I shall live, 
live to see my son. YulrirL As clearly as I see 



him now with the eyes of th 
I saw him last with the eyes 



heart. As clearly as 
of the head. (In an 







KISMET 

r 

exalted strain?) There he stood, my Yusu in the 
wold and wild, by my tent, the dust-cloutl of the 
coming foe walling the horizon. I made him kneel 
fefore me and blessed and kissed him. / And as I 
did so an amulet hung forth from my breast. I 
broke it in half a hand of Fatimah. / (He taps his 
chest?) Half I kept for myself, heret The other I 
fixed on the chain round his neck./ By that broken 
half shall I find him again. I know it. 

HAJJ. v (Laughing derisively.} Ha ! Ha ! After 
twenty-five years ? Thou art in thy dotage. 

JAWAN. Allah will give him back to me. I have Cu&1 ****^i* 
irv le gone to Mecca thrice. All my moneys have I 
spent in charity. 

HAJJ. Charity? Will charity quicken my little son, 
whom thou didst slaughter ? Charity restore the 
wife thou didst rob me of? I tell thee thou shalt 
surely die to-morrow. Thy blood and mine shall 
mingle together on the thirsty ground. That is my 
sole consolation, the honey in this my bitterness. 

(The lock is heard to turn and the door is 
unbolted. KUTAYT reappears with a docu- 
ment in his hand?) 

(The sunlight begins to fade.") 

K.UTAYT. (Going to JAWAN, holding out the document.} 
The Commander of the Faithful has lent ear to the 
pleadings of the High Priest. Thou art pardoned 
and released. 

^ JAWAN. Allah prolong the Caliph's days of Glory ! 
- KUTAYT. Canst thou climb the stairs unaided? 

JAWAN. Where are my slaves ? 
'^} KUTAYT. Thy slaves ? -ASjHPlWhen they saw thee 

prisoner they turned ^wtTfled! VfjutSW/A 
JAWAN. Wiroi e'jan "Knaves ! How shall I get me 
from here? (Chinking a purse?) This purse of 
fifty dinars, an thou canst find me a litter. 
{*} KUTAYT. (Obsequiously.) O my lord, there is a 





<J 



96 KISMET 

stretcher above to carry away the dead. Will that 

suffice thy graciousness ? 
JAWAN. Anything, so I need no longer weary thine 

hospitality. He ! He ! He ! 
KUTAYT. (Laughing politely. \ Hoo, Hoo ! Hearing 

is obeying. | +4s* *^ C J 
HAJJ. (Eagerly.) Am I pardoned too? Am I 

free? 
KUTAYT. Ho<?f ""HWf! Pardoned? Free? Wait 

till thy tongue's torn out, thine eyes scorched to 

blindness, thy body nailed to the dome over the 

Gate of Destructipn. Then wilt thou be free 

indeed at last ! Hoo ! Hoo ! 
HAJJ. (Tiigging at his chains.) Allah damn thee for 

thy mocking ! Jjjif yVM/WVC 
KTTTAYT. Hoo? Curse me, O thou? That for thee, 

lho offal i -thotr -steach. (He strikes HAJJ over the 

ntad with the huge door-key. HAJ.I with a cry totters ; 

then sinks on his knees and faints . ) How ? Fainted ? 

Hoo! Hoo! 

Kme=watcr aiitf ftmies anil amOeigiis ! Fainted ! /***CT 

(Turning and bowing obsequiously to JAWAN.) O my 

lord, thy litter shall be with thee on the instant. 

(He goes off and slams the door, bolts and 
locks it.) 

(Silence.) 

HAJJ. (After some groans, slowly returning to con- 
sciousness, in the whining tone of the beggar, not 
realising where he is.) Alms for the love of Allah ! 

For the love of (He awakes slowly to his 

surroundings ; with a cry of horror.) Ah ! I am 
here ! I am here. 'Tis over is it ? Is it over ? 

JAWAN. He ! He ! He ! 'Tis not yet begun. 

HAJJ. 'Tis not? (Coming to the full realisation of 

things.) \ Thou ! Now I know. Thou ! Oh ! 

Tgc-nun jo r fining 1 rVniil I . Red ! ( U 'ith a sudden 

try.) Mansurf Thou fiend of lowest hell ! 





KISMET 



shall 
Mar 




" Even as the day ends 

this day ! " O Marsi 

prison in chains 
^ATWTO. HeMjfrfHe! 
H&JJ. L^ugK! Thou^nst laughj^xfhou the 

begiujjffmg thou th&tnd of my sufferings ! ( Tugging 

arthe chains?) O Allah ! Give me strength. Make 

these strong arms doubly, trebly strong ! Put 

the power of a lifetime into these sinews ; only for 

once, O Allah, that I may snap these maddening 

chains in twain ! 
JAWAN. Never ! Never ! (He laughs j'eeringly.) 

He ! He ! He ! 
HAJJ. Once ! Only once ! (He tugs, he twists, then 

with a wild cry of delight he has broken himself free.) 

Free ! Free ! TTin firrantflr hnfh H r ^ n jg^ "^ -"".. 
JAWAN. ( With terror breathless^J^nK 
HAJJ. (Sitting up,peryajti4tty?)K\. last ! 
JAWAN. (Tremb&Mg?jYf\&.\. what art thou thinking ? 
HAJJ. (Rises.) What what? (He crouches slightly 

and slowly, step by step, like a wild beast, creeps over 

to JAWAN'S corner.) 

JAWAN. No nearer ! I have a knife. 
- HAJJ. A knife hast thou ? 
JAWAN. 'T has served me a thousand times. Luck's 

written on the blade. 
HAJJ. Luck? I take my luck. (With a cry) 

Allah is all great ! (He springs into the dark at 

JAWAN.) 

(A fierce struggle as of two panthers fighting. 
Groans, hisses, heavings and cries. After a 
minute silence. Then HAJJ emerges from the 
dark) 

HAJJ. (Breathless and fervently?) O Allah mine, 
thou hast given me this hour. Behold my sacrifice 
to thee. At last, at last, I am avenged ! Avenged ! 
(Laughing bitterly.) But my Marsinah ! Oh spare 



98 KISMET 

her, O Lord of justice, spare her from Mansur and 
the horror of his harim. (A thought striking him.) 
The harim ! Kut-al-Kulub ! The Wife of wives ! 
Even now she is waiting for me ! If I could reach 
her ! She'd help me to save Marsinah ! She'd 
(He goes to the door pounding on it desperately.) 
Free ! Free ! Free ! (He stops and turns hope- 
lessly.) Madness ! (Looking at JAWAN'S body.) 
They'll find him the moment the litter comes, and 
then ( With sudden inspiration.) The litter ! 
Allah ! Dost Thou open the door of escape ? 
Dost Thou? (Wildly.) Ha! Ha! Ha! If it 
succeed ! If it succeed ! (He goes into the corner to ^ 
the body.) The cloak ! The turband ! The purse ! 
In his sleeve, his breast ? (He comes across the 
chain on his breast.) The chain ! The broken hand 
of Fatimah ! (Imitating JAWAN.) " I shall see my 
son again ! I shall find him ! " Wilt thou ? (He 
takes off the chain.) Wilt thou ? (Putting it over 
his own neck.) Hang thou here on my neck now 
thou broken hand of Fatimah ! I shall find him, so 
Allah will it. I shall ! Ha ! (He finds the purse 
and chinks it.) Fifty dinars ! For the gaoler ! 
Good ! Now off with thy cloak. What ? (He stops 
and listens.) Nothing. Nothing. Keep thine eyes 
cool and clear, O Hajj. Cool and clear. (He 
returns to the body.) So ! So ! Thou shalt play 
the Moorman now, O my king. Dead. Ha ! Ha ! 
Thou art dead, dost thou hear ? And yet, O dead 
one, 'tis thou shalt draw me out of my grave me 
thy slayer ! (He drags the body to where he lay t. - 
fainting when the gaoler went out and covers it with 
his own cloak.) So ! Lie thou there ! Quiet ! 
Budge not, I pray thee. Faint ! (He turns to 
JAWAN'S cloak and turband.) Now for mine own 
beautifying ! (As he picks up the garments he sees the 
knife which he discarded.) The knife ! Luck's 
written on the blade. ( He puts the knife into his 



KISMET 99 

belt?) Luck ! So be it. Luck shall carry me into 
the- street. Luck let me leap from the 
Luck bring me to the harim and to theey't) my 
Marsinah, O my ( The door outside is unlocked.) 

(HAJJ throwing the cloak over himself, hurries 
into JAWAN'S dark corner and lies down 
KUTAYT reappears with a Ian f horn, follower 
by two men with a rough stretcher?) 

KUTAYT. The stretcher, O my lord. 

HAJJ. (Coughing and imitating JAWAN'S voice?) Here! 
(He throws the purse?) 

KUTAYT. (Picking it up and examining it by the light 
of the lanthorn.) Allah bless thy journey. (To the 
men as they lift up HAJJ.) Carefully. Lift the 
Sheikh of sheikhs carefully. (He chinks the purse and 
turns to the dead body?) How ? Still fainted ! Hoo ! 
Hoo ! Look, O my lord (He goes to the body and 
raises up an arm.) Still fainted ! 

HAJJ. (As the litter is lifted up and carried out, 
imitating] AM AX'S laugh.) He! He! He! (He is 
carried through the door?) 

t&4r>m.) Rose^rsrter ! (Kicking 



the body.) Rose water ! Hoo ! Hoo ! 
HAJJ. (From the staircase, without?} He ! He ! He ! 

(KUTAYT turns slowly and follows the litter, 
slamming the door behind him.) 

[CURTAIN] 
End of Act n 



ACT III 



102 BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

NIGHT 
T^MAN enters from his house, seats himself and sings : 

Lo ! Now the night lies on the city's breast, 
And thousand thousand lovers rise from rest 
To seek in truth, what day unveiled in dream: 
The one, the all, the maiden manifest. 

The WOMAN enters from her house, seats herself 

and sings : 

Lo ! Now the heav'n pours down its silver stream 
Into the lattice of my heart's harim ! 
The hour comes, the night of nights is nigh, 
That bindeth soul to soul in bond surpreme. 

r^MAN 

Yehh ! That some flaming dance might glorify 
The moments of my sweet expectancy 1 

The WOMAN 

Yehh ! That some liquid Almah's ebb and flow 
The ocean of my love might amplify I 

BOTH 

O Thou, Bestower of all things, bestow 
This benediction on Thy servants low ! 

The DANCER enters and weaves the spell of Destiny 
about the MAN and the WOMAN. They rise and 
approach each other singing : 

The day belongs to man, to woman night: 
And so I give to thee thy lawful right, ) 
And so I claim in thee my lawful right. J 
Sealing our compact of eternal plight, 
O thou, my longing, and my soul's delight ! 

The DANCER smiles in triumph and -Danishes. 

The MAN and the WOMAN embrace and go out hand in 
hand through the Curtains of fate. 

' ' t **"' 
- 




KISMET 103 




ACT 



EVENING 



SCENE I. The Hammam in the Wazir Mansur's 
Harim. 

The scene represents a colonnaded courtyard, the centre of 
which is occupied by a large, marble swimming 
pool. The front part of the scene is under the 
portico of the colonnade. At the back may be seen 
three large arched windows screened from the outer 
world by elaborate traceries. The main entrance is 
an arch or double door, left. A grated trap to the 
right, partly concealed by a rug, leads to a secret 
passage below. There is a couch to the left ; behind 
it stands a brazier of burning incense. 

The court is of the most delicate architecture ; white 
marble with green and azure traceries. 

It is early evening ; the moonlight floods the courtyard 
from the right, and finds its way into the portico, 
from the ceiling of which hang several lamps, 
shedding dim light. 

Kux-AL-KuLUB, in gorgeous robes, lies reclining on the 

couch, a slave holding up a mirror before her. 

Another one is sprinkling perfumes, and a third 

blackening her eyelids. 
Various grorips of women are seen reclining by the pool ; 

some are robing, others combing their hair. 




104 KISMET 

To the right sit FOUR FEMALE MUSICIANS with lutes, 
harps and tambourines. 



Jute within my lap, o'er 
Mysqbbing child of love^tif^cry to tend 
With mother's breast^x^et still as I do give 
Thy yearmh^eroj^m ever without end. Ah 
O sweetest IpwrQmilk of melody ! 
What tjjfXfgii my heaJ'Sgo forth in yielding thee ! 
Thus would I die a thousand deaths, than live 

>zen and barren to innniW*! Ah ! 

(^During the\>ng a YouNGVGi 
tqng garment* enters followed 
She steps to tm^swimmingp 
take\the cloak jtom her and she p 
the wbter.) 

ft 
(MiSKAH enters from the door, ttft, and glides to 

KUT-AL-KULUB'S 




Kux-AL-K. (Turning impatiently.} Thy news ! Yet 

answer me nought but he is come ; he is waiting ; 

he has mistook the secret entrance ! 
MISKAH. O my mistress, would my tongue might 

say yes. Alas ! He's nowhere to be seen. But thy 

slave of the fires is watching for him with burning 

eyes. 

Kux-AL-K. I could have thee whipped for thy words. 
MISKAH. No stranger hath passed the door-keeper, 

nor man nor woman, saving a weeping damsel the 

eunuchs brought this mid-afternoon. 
Kux-AL-K. Damsel ? What damsel ? 
MISKAH. She is destined for thy lord, they say. 

They are guarding her in the first hall of the harim. 
Kux-AL-K. What fresh intruder is this ? Bring hither 

thr^hft 
MISKAH. Hearkening and obedience. 

(She hurries off through the door.} 



KISMET 



105 



\ Anotheyf By the day/i 



(Zov&ing at herself in the mirror?) 
By the day^f my beaujjn! And " 

trim faj^ftjjeri 

thou nolfclone^etl'^ Take liwHfot 
L 



T\e women, near the pool have splashed th$ girl 
in the wafer. She suddenly turns and fulls 
one of tlitm into the pool. There is a loud 
scfrtim and much splashing and laughter?) 



-T-AL-K. ^b^ritated, sits erect on her couch, claps 
her han/s fynd shouts at the /qp of her /voice?) 

noised/If sayj! 
(Clap /her fonds againft Al/h \\ MustX c4ll Iflb 



guari 
on 




^^ )^TJiit 

:, ye sha\aelesp^>nes v !'^Get yeTo*^our couchesA 
and all. ^TKe hour grows late. 

the bath are seen to swinf 
Othj/s 

o -jj - _ <p \*j^?*^ ~ 

oppressed laughter and whisperings^) 




KUT-AL-K. (To the MUSICIANS!} <Go ye as well ! 

( The MUSICIANS rise and follow the others?}? 
(KuT-AL-K sinks down on the couch?) 

(MISKAH re-enters with the Two EUNUCHS, 
conducting MARSINAH, who is veiled.^ \J ^ 

Kux-AL-K. (71? the EUNUCHS.) Leave her with me. 

She shall be safe in my keeping. (The Two 

EUNUCHS bow and retire?) What have we here ? 

(Sarcastically?) Peace.be upon thee, O wonder -ef 

loveliness concealed. 
MARSINAH. And upon thee peace, O my lady, and 

Allah's benediction. 
KUT-AL-K. (Hglf aside to her wom 

unto choking honey.' (Pointedly 








; 



106 KISMET 





then not favour us by revealing the fosntaii 
of sovmuch s^Eetness ? 

(Sfu leans forward toward MARSINAH.) 

MARSINAH. (Unveils and kneels, bowing low.) O 
my lady, I am thy slave. 

Kux-AL-K. (Annoyed by MARSINAH'S beauty.) My 
slave, art thou? My frlovft irnmo not' bifuie mu ' 

w*tb-oa In inn cm IhniH dj, i/u uiikuhkd, diLUki, 

addled and raddled witb tears. .lYUu-Jit linn T "" 
Who sent thee hither ? 

MARSINAH. My father. The Wazir Mansur has 
chosen me to be his wife. 

Kux-AL-K. Wife thou? O thou gotten refuaoM) 
4hmi piolfingij. Thou his wife? A handmaid to 
his wife perchance, or handmaid to the handmaid, 
more likely. 

MARSINAH. 'Tis not of my seeking ! Allah is my 
witness ! I longed not for a harim of glitter and 
gold. Mine was a far different dream. 

Kux-AL-K. (Sarcastically.) Sayst thou so ? 

MARSINAH. O mistress dear, thou art the high 
lady here, thy lord's love of loves. Turn thou thy 
white hand of pleading towards Mansur- forme. 
Win thou my freedom, and thou wilt give life not 
to me alone, who am a nought and a nothing, but 
also to one who is waiting and watching this night, 
waiting and watching in vain. 

Kur-AL-K. 



So thy little heart is caught in the mighty net of 

love. C 7 ^" ?- - r ~ ^ j-j-j-r- ) 

MARSINAH. Why should I answer no ? Thou art a 
woman. To thee I need not hide what I dared not 
confess to my father. YAM I love a youth, to 
the very core of my bosom do I love him ; a youth, 
fair of face, and rich in grace ; 

nobler in all our race. 

L-R. A"pi(jlby.'.vofsg, foraoutli. '" Allll SUielj 




the_ 

" embrace.' 
her gibe 
ARSINAH. He hath kissed me, 'tis true. 

( With a sarcastic laugh?) Ah 
MARSINAH. 6h, but in all honour. This sunset he 
was cpming to beg my father's consent to husband 
me. / 

Was he! Was he ! 



XMARSINAH. By the Hie of my youth, he was. I 

/should be bespoken by now, had not sudden fate 
doomed me to become Mansur's wife. (***wf *~l*oW* 
Kux-AL-K. Wife ! Say thou wife again and I'll have 
thee slippered till thou liest fainting at my feet. 
Wife thou ! nTlllll 111 I n il mil iiliniji nUy nnnthir ! 

iin-^.j-. it u..u ui -nil inlii nij-uuuuMJ ? 

(Calling out?) Ho IM3iBft : 'lli>^ai*lilii 1 BfltfiUf f 
Cw Take her away to the kitchens ! 

(MARSINAH veils, herself?) 

(The Two EUNUCHS return and approach 
MARSINAH, laying hands on her?) 

Kux-AL-K. I'll soon " wife " thee, thou scum of the 
slave market, thou baggage of ill-omen and 
insolent ! ', 

/ MARSINAIJ/ O spare me these cruel hands, O sweet 
ladyyiSpare me, spare me ! 

that moment MANSUR enters through the 
courtyard from the right. He is sullen and 
his manner shows, though only slightly, that 
he has been drinking. He has a cup in his 
hand. KAFUR/b//0/.r him. All the WOMEN 
crouch at MANSUR'S, approach?) 

MANSUR. Hold ! What to do is here ? 
KuT-AL-K. (Rises on her knees and turns to him in 
her most seductive manner?) O my lord thou ? 



* 

f 



108 KISMET 

/*' What blessed fate brings thee at this unwonted 

hour? 

MANSUR. (Ignoring her.) Who is yon woman ? 
KuT-AL-K. A nought ! A slave girl ! An offering 

of ugliness some friend hath sent thee in sport. 

Wilt thou not smile on thy Kut-al-Kulub, O my 

king ? 

MARSINAH. (Crying out.) Ho Mansur ! 
KUT-AL-K. (To the EUNUCHS holding MARSINAH.) 

To the kitchens with her ! And at once ! 
MARSINAH. (Breaking away from the EUNUCHS, she 

kneels before MANSUR, calling out.) To my aid, O 

my lord ; I lay hold upon thy skirt, in this my 

calamity. 

(The EUNUCHS are about to seize her again but 
MANSUR stops them with a gesture?) 

MANSUR. (Coming to her.) Who art thou ? 
/" - MARSINAH. I am Marsinah, the daughter of Hajj 
thy cup-companion. 

MANSUR. Hajj's daughter, art thou? (Sneeringly.') 
Now Allah requite thee that thou art come ! His 
daughter ! Ha ! (To Kux-AL-K.) And ugly to 
boot, sayst thou? Ywfeh! The liar, the son of 
filth 1 Juggle this trick besides, would he ? 'Tis 
well! 

Kux-AL-K. (Sarcastically.) She swears thou hast 
chosen her thy wife. 

MANSUR. Doth she ? 

KuT-AL-K. (Indignantly.) And that, after confessing 
she hath been loved by another. 

BJMii)i..iH Vi'hfr! 

MARSINAH. (To Kux-AL-K.) By Allah, this is not 
allowed ! To betray what I have told thee between 
mine eyes and thine. 

MANSUR. So she has been loved, has she this 
(with a great sneer} maid ! I am to eat broken bread 
from other men's tables 1 Broken bread 1 



KISMET 109 



MARSINAH. (i&fc*.) 'Tis a lie ! My loved one's 
loving is not of the colour of thy loathsome lusting. 
'Tis white as the turband of the Prophet. Nor can 
thy villainous tongue spot its purity. 

MANSUR. Ha ! Ha ! So great a fire in so small an 
oven? ^fchhi He,re will be a pleasing thing to 
rake and quench.! "p+4.<tU fll* <*'% 

MARSINAH. (Kneeling, gleadingj) Oh, as thou art 
powerful, be "mercTfuL* Forgive my fury. My lips 
know not what they say. Thou seest I am alone 
here, helpless as the fly in the tent of the spider. 
Have thou pity on me, so Allah have pity on thee. 

MANSUR. And how can Allah have pity on me before 

I yet have sinned ? Oh, my hidden delight, I beseech 

thee unveil first, that I may learn the hell I am to 

/I/ fall to, through the curse of thy comeliness. Unveil, 

I tell thee. 

MARSINAH. Never ! 

MANSUR. Never ! Thou'lt not ? (He flings away 
his wine-cup} Thus to thy likes ! (He goes up to 
her and seizing her roughly, tears the veil from her 
face} 

MARSINAH. Awah ! (She bows her head in shame, 
her long black hair uncoiling about her} 

MANSUR. By the Creator she is beautiful 
exceedingly ! 

KUT-AL-K. (Biting her lips.) Is she? * ** 

MANSUR. (Turning to Kux-AL-K and thrusting her\ U 
down on the couch} O thou viper, what made thee say 
otherwise ? Jealous, art thou ? Ha ! Ha ! Slttl ! (To 
MARSINAH watching Kux-AL-K.) Thou art love- 
some and lovely, O my blossom, O my palm-bud. 
Thou shalt indeed be my bride this eventide. (He Y ****<** * 
caresses her head} 

MARSINAH. (Rttmg and shrinking away} If I pass 
this night here, I shall kill myself with mine own 
hand. 

MANSUR. Trouble not thy hand! For at dawn, O 



rsf 



110 KISMET 

Marsinah, (He runs his hand down her arm.) 

at dawn thou shall pay for thine insolence with 
gorgeous untold sufferings, such as my soul never yet 
devised. 

(He smacks his lips.) ^ 

(MARSINAH shudders.) X' 
(Kux-AL-K sighs with satisfaction.) * \. ^ * 

MANSUR. (To Kux-AL-K.) Thou art satisSea? ' 

Kux-AL-K. (Smiling.) I am all thine, Onrfy master. * 

MANSUR. 'Tis well! (To the slaves ^ Up! Robe 
my bride ! Hang jewels upon her ! Rob what is 
best from the splendour of my Wife of wives. 
(THREE SLAVE GIRLS and the NEGRESS hurry off 
hastily to the left.) 

Kux-AL-K. (Furious.) My robes ? My jewels? 

MANSUR. (Sardonically.) Saidst thou not " I am all 
thine"? (To MARSINAH.) Go, O my ruby ! Seek 
thy setting, O my bride of blood. (To the slaves.) 
And look you, she doth no harm to her sweet body. 

MARSINAH. (Blanched and staring, is led off through 
the courtyard; suddenly she turns defiantly) Be this 
the end that Allah hath ordained me 'tis well ! 
Yet the Judge of Judges is not unjust. He hath 
power to change our fate between the shutting and 
the opening of an eye. Thy hour will come. Thy 
death will find thee ! 

MANSUR. ( With a gesture to the slaves.) Away ! v. 

MARSINAH. (In a high voice.) And black will it be, 
O Mansur ! Black as thy doomsday record ! (She 
screams as she is dragged off by tfie EUNUCHS.), .i 

MANSUR. (Calling after her^T^Ra. ! Ha ! Ha ! *Thy 
rage but feeds me ! Ha ! /Ha ! There's something 
still in life! Something! By Allah ! This night 
will I make a night among nights ! Ho Kafur ! 
Prepare my bath of scents ! Hot and heating let it 
be ! So that my tired pulses may beat beat ! 
(KAFUR bows and hastens into the courtyard.)^ \t 



KISMET 111 




him.) And call thou the women ! 
forth wilderingJO VbejitkS^seducing 
^\Song, andDenumes, and dahee-tittj 
What though the Caliph reap my head to- 
these last hours shall be locked in my 
breast, mine own ! 

^, t (KAFUR bows and vanishes.^ ' 
K.UT-AL-K. (Kneeling before MANSUR and throwing 
her arms about his knees) Thus do I love my lord. 
MANSUR. (Smiling on her.) Dost thou, in sooth? 
Kux-AL-K. Y<?rm ! Bid me do aught to add to thy 

content, and I'll do it. 
MANSUR. (In a playful tone.) Wilt thou? Wilt thou? J 

KUT AL-K. I swear it. _ / * 

MANSUR. Thou? (He looks down at her, smiling, W* 
then suddenly spits in her face. Turning away/\_ 
with a chuckling sneer.) Thou O bosom of burning ^ . 

desire, go thou and sleep 1 (He hurries off through t\S * 
the courtyard.) 

KuT-AL-K. (Shaking with rage, her hands clenched, 
she groans.) Wfcb ! Dog of hell ! Poison thee I , 
could ! Poison thee ! (She sits on the couch beating L. 
it impotently with her fists.) Poison h Poison ! 
Poison ! 

MISKAH. (Ifurries across to her, trying to soothe her.) 
O dear my mistress ! Doth Destiny not decree all 
things for the best ? If thy lord be lost in the arms 
of Maisinah, wilt thou not be freer for him whom j f > ' 
thy soul desires ? / %VVlr ^ fV ^\ / 

(A gentle tapping is heard.) 

Kux-AL-K. He'll not come ! He'll not come ! 'Tis 
long past the hour ! Fate curses me ever ! 

He'll not come (Louder tapping.) O Miskah ! 

Hark ! (She sits erect and eager pointing to the 
trap. The tapping is repeated?) 'Tis he ! Unbolt. 
(Kux-AL-K reclines on her couch, assuming 
indifference.) 



112 KISMET 

(MiSKAH goes and unbolts the grating, lifting the 

trap.) 
(HAJJ enters, still wrapped in JAWAN'S white cloak.) 

* C 

HAJJ. Peace to thee, O my lady of radiance. I am 

thy slave in very truth. My heart is between thy 

hands, (ffe kneels and bows.) 
Kux-AL-K. Thou ? By the life of mine eyes, I had 

forgot thee quite. Comest thou at this hour ? 
HAJJ. Be not an-angered, O my princess. I have 

faced death sevenfold to venture to thee to-night. 
Kux-AL-K. Hush ! My lord is within the harim. 
HAJJ. (Thinking at once of MARSINAH.) Mansur? 

In the harim? Is he alone? No one with him? 

No woman ? 

Kux-AL-K. Belike so . . . What matters it ? 
HAJJ. Was a maiden brought here a little while 

since ? 

Kux-AL-K. Yes. What of her ? 
HAJJ. Doth Mansur know she's here ? 
Kux-AL-K. (Impatiently.) Whrftis't to thee? The 

moments are slipping away. O my loved one, dost 

thou not love me ? (She smiles on him.) 
HAJJ. (Distracted.) Love thee ? Yea, yea, I love 

thee. (He smiles a vacant smile at her) The 

maiden the maiden is where ? 
Kux-AL-K. What maiden ? 
HAJJ. Marsinah. 
Kux-AL-K. (Suspiciously.) Marsinah? Howcomest 

thou to know her name ? What is 'this wench to 

thee ? Who is she ? 
HAJJ. She is my daughter. 
Kux-AL-K. Thy daughter. 
HAJJ. I have said it. 
Kui-AL-K. Thy daughter !* (She rises, stands on the 

couch, and bursts out, laughing angrily) Ak4 



Ha! Thy daughter! Is such thy love fen me?_ 
Thou must needs send thy daugl 




KISMET 



113 



What 



snippet a cluck unfledc 
-Maftsur to mobe mock tP! me 

A sweet love, a de 
ruin rf 
HAJJ. 
Kux-AL-K.\What? 

night, ser 
HAJJ. (Hope 
Kux-AL-K. Yei^but hea/n is just ! Dawn shall put 

an end to 

HAJJ. (Rising, terfUgd.) Who told thee that ? 
Kux-AL-K. WhqX\He, Mansur. Torture is to 
crown his nigl 



r love ! Allah 



lone? 

her wife of the 
rflf out of my coffers. 



sure. 



HAJJ. ( Wi 

KUT-AL-K. 

death. 
HAJJ. 



(WithMcry.) 



ave her ? 



ery 



Thou wilt save her ? 
definitely) After my 



ThouVust! Thou wilt! O 

" If*- X 

ou wn 
'Kux-AL-K. An she be so wonurous dear to thee, why 

didst thou offer her to him ? 

HAJJ. He swore to make her his wife, ^^c jl C ^ 
Kux-AL-K. (Laughing wildly?) ^rfCis wife 1 Thou 

dost not know 
HAJJ. (DesperateJp^j^Q Kut-al-Kulub, save her, 

save her !x*SIipher into this cloak of mine and let 

her go with me as I came. , .. '"'v 

Kux-AL-K. And I be strangled aft-^r? /c^v;^ '< 
HAJJ. What hast thou to do with another's escape ? 

How shall Mansur know ? 
KUT-AL-K. (Half to herself.) Ha! 'Twere a fit 

revenge on him ! A feast for the bride, and no 

bride to feast ! 
HAJJ. Couldst thou not replace her by some slave 

girl ? Did he in truth see her face ? 
Kux-AL-K. See it ! 'Twas her beauty made hire 

mock me ! 

How? She won him as she was brought 

unadoiiied ? 





,114 KISMET 

KuT-AL-K. Unadorned, tear-stained, a very misery ! 

HAJJ. And thou dost hesitate ? She can enslave his 
senses thus, wretched, ragged ? What then will she 
do with jewels hung in her hair, robes rich and fair, 
hnr bright ay.fi Irnhlffl. ^artipg lova svooypJMpW 
I tell thee she'll steal the heart from his breast ! 
Vchh ! Become queeru in thy stead, and thou be 
lost to his arms for eve/^0 ft * 

KUT-AL-K. ( With sudden rage.) Allah I I'll be 
rid of this damned witch come what may ! 
(Clapping her hands.) Ho! Miskah ! Haste! 
Haste! (To HAJJ.) Thy cloak! Thy cloak I 

(MISKAH hurries to her mistress!) 
(HAJJ hands his cloak to MISKAH.) ; 

KUT-AL-K. Take it ! Throw it over the accursed 
one robing in my chamber. Bring her hither. Lose 
not an instant. 

MISKAH. With obedience. 

(She hurries off with HAJJ'S cloak.]^ Jt 

HAJJ. (Coming to Kux-AL-K and kneeling, with utmost 
gratitude.) By Him who fashioned thee in thy 
splendour, thou art indeed the noblest of thy 
sisterhood. 

Kux-AL-K. (Dryly eyeing him.) Are thy desires 
contented ? 



i ( 






KHAjj. Contented? I kiss the fringe of thy gown, 
the hollow of thy hand, O thou soul of liberality. 
Kux-AL-K. (Looking at him, her mouth twitching?) 

* ' Tiswe11 - ^V*- U 

(MISKAH re-enters with MARSINAH, who is com- 
pletely cloaked.) 

HAJJ. (Rising, moving towards her.) O Marsinah I 
MARSINAH. (Surprised?) O my father . . 

(They embrace.) 





KISMET 115 

Kux-AL-K. (Impatiently!) No words. (To MISKAH.) 
Lead her forth by the secret passage. Out and away 
with her. 

MISKAH. Away ? She's in thy richest robes, unworn 
as yet by thee ! 

Kux-AL-K. (Impatiently!) What matter robes ? (To 
HAJJ.) Whither is she to be taken ? 

HAJJ. I'll go with her. 

KUT-AL-K. Wait thou. Let her go first and pass 
beyond the outer gates. 'Tis safer. Whither ? 

HAJJ. (To MISKAH.) Take her to the Mosque of the 
Carpenters to Imam Mahmud. Say I commit her 
to his charge under Allah. Tell him she's my 
daughter, the daughter of Hajj, the beggar. 

Kux-AL-K. (Starts and gives HAJJ a look, which he 
does not see.) Hajj the beggar. 

(MARSINAH and MISKAH leave by the trap.') 

(Directly the twojiave disappeared down the trap, ' , 
Kux-AL-K. goes to the grating and flings it to, 
turning round and facing HAJJ.) jl,~ 

KuT-AL-K. (Hoarsely). Hajj, the beggar I The 
beggar, Hajj. IWph ! Is it to thy like that I have 
offered amorous mercy ? And is it by thy like that 
I have been laughed to scorn ? A beggar ! A beggar 
to sneer at me, to spurn me ! I, of the old blood of 
Egypt l v *. l 

HAJJ. Heaven forbid I should spurn thee, O my love. 

KUT-AL-K. Love ! Love ! Thou ! Thou earnest for 
one purpose alone thy daughter. 'Tis well 1 She 
is saved. But by Allah, not thou ! 

HAJJ. Not ? 

KUT-AL-K. We enter the hammam free. Out we pass 
not unless we pay. 

HAJJ. (With horror) Kut-al-Kulub ! 

KUT-AL-K. The grating is shut ; the latch my secret. 
A blissful night to thee, and a blessed, O my beggar 
of love. (She turns to pass him.]*: .y/^ 



l~yU 



116 KISMET 

HAJJ. (Following and clutching her :) O, Kut-al-Kulub, 
thou'lt not betray me ! Not doom me thus to my 
death ? 

Kux-AL-K. Dost thou touch me, O thou dog ? 

HAJJ. Yes, I touch thee, I hold thee, I clasp thee ! 
(He sinks down before her, clasping her knees in his 
arms.) Hcie on mv tumbling kuceo. mine amis 



about thy white beauty. O Kut-al-Kulub, thOtTTnust 
*.... --. * 

htrteii to me. 

Kux-AL-K. Off with thine arms, thou filth of the 
gutter. ^L \^ 

HAJJ. Never ! Never ! Never 1 
Kux-AL-K. How ? Force me ? Force/? (She 
releases herself, shouting} Ho, Manser ! Ho, 
Mansur ! (She hurries to a gong by the door and beats it 
with her fist.) ^ thr T U " f *" f Ho, Mansur ! 
HAJJ. (Between his teeth.) Now Allah kill all woman-f 
kind. (He turns and crouches in the corner *532Tp 
(MANSUR appears in the courtyard. He is clad 
in a thin robe of yellow, as coming from his 
bath. KAFUK follows him.} 

MANSUR. (Annoyed.) What now? 

Kux-AL-K. ( With supreme scorn.) Behold ! A man 

in thy harim ! ! 

MANSUR. A man ? ( He snatches the sword from 
KAFUR. To KAFUR.) Take her within^* H 

M 
(Kux-AL-K turns and as she goes laughs a low 

laugh, full of the satisfaction of revenge. 
KAFUR follows her.) 

(MANSUR comes down slowly, step by step, sword 
in hand ; he is slightly under the influence of 
drink.) 

(HAJJ lies quite still on his knees, hiding his face 
behind a cushion he has picked up. MANSUR 
raises the sword, ready to run at HAJJ.) 



KISMET 117 

(HAJJ lifts up his head suddenly and faces 
MANSUR.) 

MANSUR. (Starting, amazed.) Hajj ? Am I alive ? 
HAJJ. Only to die ! 

(Taking advantage of 'M.AXSV'tis amazement, he 
throws the cushion at him, warding off 
MANSUR'S blow of the scymitar. But in 
trying to pass MANSUR, he slips and falls on 
his knees sinking backwards. The full moon- 
light shines on HAJJ, revealing the chain he took 
from JAWAN'S body) 

MANSUR. (About to strike, sees the chain, arrests the 
sword and gazes intently) By the Living ! Whence 
comes that amulet on thy breast? That broken 
hand of Fatimah ! Speak ! Nought shall befall 
thee. I swear it by the One, the Eternal ! I mean 
my words. Look ! } 

(He throws the sword from him and reveals the 
other half of the broken hand on a chain on 
his own breast) 

HAJJ. (Amazed) Ah! The Broken hand of 

Fatimah ! Then thou art Yusuf? 
MANSUR. Yes, I am Yusuf. Who art thou ? 
HAJJ. I ? (He steadies himself on his knees ; deliberately 

looking him in the eye) I ? I am thy father. (He 

rises) 

MANSUR. (Doubtfully) Thou ? 
HAJJ. Yes, I am he who hath searched for thee year 

on year, ever since the day the Caliph captured thee, 

O my son. 
MANSUR. (Beginning to believe HAJJ.) YcfflP! Art 

thou he in sooth ? 
HAJJ. Am I he ? Canst thou not recall my tent in 

the wild and wold ? And the enemy's dust-cloud 

walling the horizon ? And my bending over thee 



118 KISMET 

c 

and snapping this talisman in twain, giving thee 

half, keeping half? 

MANSUR. I recall it well. Art thou my father ? 
HAJJ. Look, the pieces fit. (He joins the two chains?) 

The hand is one, as our blood is. Dost thou still 

doubt ? 

MANSUR. Thou ? But thou art Hajj the beggar. 
HAJJ. I have been many things since I lost thee, O 

my Yusuf. 

MANSUR. My mother ! Her name ? 
HAJJ. Gulnar. 
MANSUR. Gulnar yes! That was her name. Thoul 

Fate is a juggler the greatest of them all. 
HAJJ. On thy knees, O true-born son, that I may call 

down blessings upon thee as I did in the years 

long gone. Down ! Down ! 
MANSUR. (Overcome, kneels before HAJJ, bending his 

head,") O my father ! , ^ < : / *-_.. .*.****. - 

(HAJJ smiling in triumph over MANSUR, draws 
his knife stealthily.) 

HAJJ. May Allah send thy soul damnation ! (He 
plunges the knife into MANSUR'S back between the 
shoulder blades. It enters up to the hilt.) 

(MANSUR groaning aloud " Wah " and clutching 
at HAJJ, rises and struggles with him) 

UAJJ. O snake, O son of snake ! I have scotched 
thee ! Thee and thy father both in one day. 

MANSUR. My father! (Groans.) O thou hog of 
hell! 

HAJJ. Yes, thy true father, Jawan, the White Sheikh ! 
He, who defiled Gulnar, as thou wouldst defile 
Marsinah ! Ha ! Ha ! Allah is just ! Scratch, 
wouldst thou? Q then rntj fhnn mimm uf iuf ! 
(Lifting him up) Into the water with thee! 
Vermin must be drowned. 

(Lifting MANSUR bodily, he hurls him into th* 



KISMET 119 

water. MANSUR tries to climb out of the 
tank on the lower side, but HAJJ intercepts 
him, grasps him by the throat, and holds him 
under the wafer. MANSUR clutches HAJJ'S 
arm, but in vain. HAJJ leans over the edge of 
the pool, pushing MANSUR down into the 
water. MANSUR'S hands can be seen clinging 
desperately to HAJJ'S arm.) 

HAJJ. That's for Marsinah ! Marsinah, dost thou 
hear ? How ? Swear by the Koran to wed her, 
and then debauch and torture her ? Ha ! Ha ! 
'Twas not written ! This bath of thine was written 
instead. May it profit thee till doomsday. Drink 
it, dost thou? 'Tis well ! Thou wert even fond of 
wetting thy gullet. (A bubbling noise -u -d splashing!) 
Take thy fill! Ha! Good, is'^ bubble, bubble! 
(A desperate splash. One <f MAJ^^UR'S hands climbs 
higher on HAJJ'S arms.) H'hat? Whistle? The 
devils whistle they oa". Art thou in hell so soon, 

joining thy fat',? .<, tLe {The left hand falls 

lifeless froir jlAjj's arm.) At last ! Silent 
bubbles --oncy two, no more ? Nay, look not 
so lan.e eyed. 'Tis very simple. The springs of 
tli^i;;t: are i.peut.- (A slight pause. With a 
sigh of relief, HAJJ draws his wet arm from the 
water, and kneels with his back to the spectator, his 
right arm raised to heaven fervently) O Allah ! 
Thou hast delivered into my hands the father ! 
Thou hast delivered into my hands the son ! 
Glorified be thy Glory ! O Lord of the three 
Worlds ! Thou, the One, the Eternal ! 

(A sudden confused murmur of voices, distant 
cries and the clash of steel. ! HAJJ turns and 

sits riveted. The noise increases.) 
J 

(The door W burst open, and .several ARCHERS 
of the Caliph enter, some with torches, some 
with scymitars drawn. The CALIPH himself 



/ / 




120 KISMET 

J f allows ', his sword unsheathed, .his cloak 
thrown back revealing a gorgeous silver armour 
and violet robes. NARJIS comes next. KAFUR, 
AFIFE and SERVANTS of MANSUR'S household 
crowd in after the others.') 

CALIPH. Break open the doors ! Find the women ! 
Bring them to me ! 

(Soldiers hurry off in various directions!) 

CALIPH. (Turning to NARJIS) Dost thou still swear 
that Marsinah was brought hither by Mansur's 
eunuchs ? 

NARJIS. Did I not see them drag her away from our 
very door? 



(KuT-AL-K is brought in by the CAPTAIN OF ^. 
THE WATCH ; other WOMEN follow led on by 
the SOLDIERS.) 

KuT-AL-K. (Kneeling.) Mercy, O mercy, O Com- 
mander of the Faithful ! 
CALIPH. Where's Marsinah? 
KuT-AL-K. Marsinah's fled to the Carpenter's Mosque/^- 

'Twas at the entreaties of yon wretch that I 

consented to her escape. (She points to HAJJ 

grovelling in the dark.) 
CALIPH. (Turning and seeing ~H.h]].) The Moorman ! 

l^bl What magic brings thee hither from 

prison ? 
HAJJ. Allah hath freed me so I might render thee 

service. (Taking a torch from a soldier and holding 

it over the bath.) Behold ! 

CALIPH. (Looking down into the water.) Mansur ? 
Kux-AL-K. (Gazing into the fool.') Mansur! 

Awah ! (She sinks down by edge of bath with a 

wail.) 
HAJJ. Mansur. Now, say me, have I not atoned 

for my crime? 



S~\ 




KISMET 



121 



ed of thine can wipe out thy attempt 
Thy death is fixed and unalterable. 
Kill the father of Marsinah ? 
Thou ? But thou art the Moorman ? 
oth ! Twp persons in one, both at thy 



CALIPH. No 

upon my lif 
NARJIS. Watr ! 
CALIPH. 
HAJJ. 

feet. 
CALIPH. So thou art the sire of her whom Allah hath 

revealed unto my heart ? 
HAJJ. (Looking up.} Marsinah? 

pardoned ? 
CALIPH. Pardoned? What religion were mine 

should I pardon the hand thou didst raise against 

my sacred person ? Yet art thou also the father of 

m y chosen bride,,' Sny mn then, wlmi hluill In lliji 
lot? 



Am I then 



CALIPH. Be thou banished ! Banished from Baghdad, 
from my sight, from the sight of thy daughter. 
Banished as one who had never been. -Tu-wuauw 
by dnim he ona with 



g 



O King, be royal 



HAJJ. (Appealingly?) Banished ! 
and show me mercy. 

CALIPH. I have shown thee mercy far beyond justice. 
My word is spoken. Go ! 

HAJJ. (ftwunijr Hr frrmf .fri/ftr jrnmrf.) 'liillB 1L iffi 
majesty nor might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great. (He rises slowly?) Woe is me ! Woe is me. 
/Hi ! WgJi ! Never to see her again, the daughter 
of my bosom. Never again to touch her hand, to 
press my lips upon her eyes. O sons of Adam, 
beget not children I -Hf Him, lllL UilllCl 

l)i [ji I lltnirTniil ! The agony of their los 



ceedeth far the rapture of fatherhood. 
fr ever ! Rend thy robe, O 
breast 1 Thy joy in life is 
tdlft upun Ll'lliU flb Ull IL'5 1 ^ulmiit. Dark is every- 
where. I Ashes ! Ashes ! (He teaches the brazier. 
It has ceased burning some time before. Taking the 




122 KISMET 

as fits from if, he strews them on his head, then turns 
to the door, beating his breast?) Out out, thou cut- 
off moment of time ! TntnibnTi ill llPTTr'nU'Tlnn 
with-thei, O 'tiJUU fofgettem grain -of" the &UIK11J of 
man ! Marsinah is dead to thee, thou dead to 
Marsinah! Awah ! Awah! Awah! {He staggers 
out by the dyer, rending his garment and wailing 
aloud.) 



' 



[Oj 




The street before the Mosque of the Carpenters 
The same scene as at the opening of the play. 

Moonlight. 

The BEGGAR KASIM is seated on HAJJ'S stone, 
just as HAJJ installed him at sunrise. 

Down the alley from the left come cries of moaning 
"Wah! Wah! Wah I " and HAJ j appears, 
breathless, dishevelled and tottering. He 
hurries to the Mosque and knocks frantically 
at the door. 

MAHMUD. (Coming out and standing on the steps.) 

Hajj? 
HAJJ. (Sinking down.) O my father ! I have run 

to thee clinging from wall to wall in my anguish. 

Where's Marsinah? 
MAHMUD. She is safe within. 
HAJJ. Bring her forth I pray thee. We must flee the 

city. The Caliph covets her. 
MAHMUD. What devil possesses thee? Take thy 

daughter from the Caliph ? Rob her of the blessing 

of blessings ? 
HAJJ. I am banished. I mutt neui ULL hu tig,aiu. Jftill 




KISMET 123 

'ry clot in my heart I love 



O Hajj ! Look within thee ! 
child and call it love ? 

MAHMUD. When must thou go from Baghdad ? 

HAJJ. By dawn. 

MAHMUD. Dawn ! To-morrow the caravans set out 
for Meccah. WQC fKrvn n^h^ in rha wnll nf 
Zemzem? Kissld the sacred stone? Encircled 
the holy Kaabah 1 

HATT. (Crestfallen.^N^ 

M AH MUD. By whatlirfit then dost thou call thyself 
Hajj, the Pilgrim T*fa aught hast thou done for thy 
endless days beyond the grave. Thou art no 
Moslem ; no son of Islam. Thou art an infidel. 

HAJJ. ( With a cry of horror,} Ah ! O my father ! 

Infidel! 

(A sound of distant trumpets, kettledrums and 
singing is heard approaching from the left.) 

HAJJ. The Caliph ! Marsinah ! (Pleading) O 

Mahmud, Marsinah ! 
MAHMUD. Conquer thyself. Turn from the world. 

Seek salvation. 
HAJJ. Marsinah ! 
MAHMUD. I tell thee verily this is thine hour appointed, 

thine hour of hours. An thou so much as raise an . iLv^r 



eye to mar thy child's fortune, thy doom shall be y , 
flame and fire. +4fc- . 

HAJ-J. (/nujunji.pr Awahl Awah ! Am ah I /H*^4x* 

-** ^* 

(^f/ Ma/ moment the CALIPH'S CHAMBERLAIN, 
with a wand of office, hurries on from the left 
and crosses to the Mosque) ,/ir- 

CHAMBERLAINX O Imam ! The Commander of the 
Faithful comem to claim the maid Marsinah. 




124 KISMET 

MAHMUD. Hearkening and obedience ! Wi 
enter ? 

^ff^ 

(The CHAMBERLAIN enters the Mosque, MAHMUD 

following him. HAJJ stands irresolute ; with 

hands clenched. But as the music approaches, 

he turns and hides in the shadow of 

a wall. The Wedding Procession enters 

from the left, headed by a group of MALE 

MUSICIANS : SINGERS, about eight in number, 

with a leader in their midst ; THREE MEN 

with huge tambourines ; other's with pipes and 

clarionets. They are singing as they come?) 

Bespread the streets with tapestries, 
H%ng carpets fromVhe balconie\; 
An\ from the roof-tops flower-difct 
RainSaard, and musk7fcnd amber&ris , 
The Caljj>h Moon has risen bright^ 
To seek tHe Star of his cfyig 
Then hail unto this gloriou^night, 
Wrfen-eaith makes ^Jim-thfi^u i LII'J, IkliU, 

{After the Musicians comes the HERALD bearing 
aloft the black banner of the house of Abbas, 
followed by THREE COURT DIGNITARIES 
swinging incense. Next comes the CALIPH, 
followed by ABU BAKR. Behind the CALIPH 
walk Ti?y^ WAZIRS each carrying a five- 
branched candle-stick in the shape of an. out- 
spread hand. After the CALIPH Six BOYS 
with baskets of flowers which they scatter. 
V^REE more DIGNITARIES follow, swinging 
incrnse. Then appears a curtained litter of 
gold borne by Two NEGROES ; on either side of 
it TH\Jfb EUNUCHS with Jim fra,uM ntWfr 
sticks. A second group of MUSICIANS, con- 
sisting of several instrumentalists conclude 
the procession. As soon as the CALIPH 



KISMET 125 

reaches the Mosque doors, the procession halts ; 
the music ceases and the doors are flung open). 

(MARSINAH appears on the steps in a flood of 
light, beautifully attired and veiled. MAHMUD 
and the CHAMBERLAIN follow her.} 

CALIPH. (Taking a step forward} The Peace upon 
thee ! 

MARSINAH. (Looking up.) Thou ? But thou art 

the gardener's son ! How is this splendour possible ? 

CALIPH. O my Marsinah ! All I have told thee is 
truth save one Ithing. I am not what I let thee 
believe. 

MARSINAH. Not the gardener's son ? 

CALIPH. Not the gardener's son. 

MARSINAH. Greater ? A merchant ? 

CALIPH. Alas even greater. 

MARSINAH. A Kazi ? 

CALIPH. Yet more. 

MARSINAH. A Prince 1 

CALIPH. Higher still. 

MARSINAH. (Close to him.) Still ? Who art thou 

then ? Thou art not not the Highest ? * * * -/trt_u* 

CALIPH. The Pardoner pardon me I am ' A^U 

MARSINAH. (In awe.} The Caliph. (Sinks to her 
knees} h, what a boldness hath been mine ! How 
can I sinA deep enough before thee ? 

CALIPH. Kneel ? Thou ? Wouldst thou double my 
shame by pegging forgiveness ? Have I lost all 
thy love ? 

MARSINAH. O\ny lord, how dare I love thee after 
this? 

CALIPH. Even asM! love thee. By the Grace of the 
Uniter of heart and heart, who hath brought thee to 
me, and me to theauoining us one and inseparable, 
from this day to theSday when shall come the Des- 
troyer of delights, me Shatterer of palaces, the 
Ender of all things eartNy till Death 1 




126 KISMET 

MARSINAH. (Rises.) Is this a dream ? 

CALIPH. 

All things are dreams till Allah sayeth " Be " I 
When soul finds soul, as I -Beloved, thee 1 

MARSINAH. 

My life is thine unto the latest hour, 
Nor shall Death rob my love's eternity. 

(The CALIPH touches his forehead and his heart, 
then motions MARSINAH to the litter.) 

MARSINAH bows before him, kissing her finger- 
tips and raising them to her brow ; then 
crosses him. She is assisted 1 into the litter by 
ABU BAKR.) 

(The Procession moves off to the right, the 
combined groups of MUSICIANS playing and 
singing.) 

ALL. 

SeaXhigh the maid and bridal throne, 
To rul^this night of nights alone ; 
Whilst kneels to her divinity, 
The mightieHof monarchs prone. 
Then draw the\urtain sweet with spice, 
On Lord of LorosVnd Pearl of Price 
He crowned by herV^rginity, 
She by his manhood's Paradise. 
And Allah the Uniter bles^sy 
Their love with joyance limitless I 

(MAHMUD locks the door of the Mosque) 

(HAJJ has risen as MARSINAH goes to the litter, V 
drawn by an irresistible desire to approach 
her. But MAHMUD'S eye is upon him and he 
hesitates. As the curtains of the litter shut 




KISMET 127 

ever his child, he stands transfixed, a figure of 
grief against the gorgeousness behind him.) 

(The procession is gone but he does not move.) 

(MAHMUD watches him closely from the door-step 
of the Mosque. The song dies away in the 
distance.) 

MAHMUD. O Hajj ! Thou hast learnt to renounce. 

Allah hath opened to thee the path of Pardon ! 

Set forth at sunrise without fear. 
HAJJ. (In an exalted strain raising his right hand) 

To Meccah ! To Meccah ! 
MAHMUD. And the peace upon thee now and for 

ever. 
HAJJ. And on thee, O Mahmud, peace and blessing. 

(MAHMUD goes slowly up the street to the left and 

disappears) 
HAJJ. (Stands a moment alone in the moonlight, then 

almost like a child he says.) I am tired. 

(He turns to his old stone, upon which, to his 
great surprise, he finds KASIM sitting?) 

HAJJ. By my head! What dog art thou? Out of 

my seat ! 

KASIM. Thou didst give it me at dawn. 
HAJJ. And I take it again at dark ! That is Fate ! 

Tu>^^rfiplT r may W 

Caliph * (KASIM rises and, dropping the beggar's 
cloak HAJJ gave him at sunrise, goes off by the alley, 
left. HAJJ takes it and wraps himself in it once 
more, then sits down on his seat with a loud sigh of 

relief^ Fi miULJ ilinn I ThrrrV -f m n li In 

it. A taste of having lived ! And I have lived 
to^ay. Mine enemies dead, Marsinah wed, 
Meccah to-morrow, (He yawns prodigiously^) My"* 




128 



KISMET 




say is said. So 
He who begettetl; 
Tide 

Ijohamniedjhis^rophet chojew^ amongst 
Mankind Peace and 

(A gentle snore; another snore, louder ; another ) 



[SLOW CURTAIN] 



End of the Play 



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