Six and a half years later.
A room in the palace.
Miralda reclines on a heap of cushions,
John beside her.
Bazzalol and Thoothoobaba fan them.
Omar [declaiming to a zither]
Al Shaldomir, Al Shaldomir,
The nightingales that guard thy ways
Cease not to give thee, after God
And after Paradise, all praise.
Thou art the theme of all their lays.
Al Shaldomir, Al Shaldomir. . . .
Go now, Omar.
O lady, I depart.
John, John. I wish you’d marry me.
Miralda, you’re thinking of those old customs again that we left behind us seven years ago. What’s the good of it?
I had a fancy that I wished you would.
What’s the good of it? You know you are my beloved. There are none of those clergymen within hundreds of miles. What’s the good of it?
We could find one, John.
O, yes, I suppose we could, but . . .
Why won’t you?
I told you why.
O, yes, that instinct that you must not marry. That’s not your reason, John.
Yes, it is.
It’s a silly reason. It’s a crazy reason. It’s no reason at all. There’s some other reason.
No, there isn’t. But I feel that in my bones. I don’t know why. You know that I love none else but you. Besides, we’re never going back, and it doesn’t matter. This isn’t Blackheath.
So I must live as your slave.
No, no, Miralda. My dear, you are not my slave. Did not the singer compare our love to the desire of the nightingale for the evening star? All know that you are my queen.
They do not know at home.
Home? Home? How could they know? What have we in common with home? Rows and rows of little houses; and if they hear a nightingale there they write to the papers. And—and if they saw this they’d think they were drunk. Miralda, don’t be absurd. What has set you thinking of home?