John stands up and acknowledges their salute by touching his forehead with the fingers of the right hand, palm turned inwards.
Exeunt soldiers L. John sits down.]
He does not smile this evening.
He has not smiled.
[Enter R. Zabnool, a conjurer, with brass bowl. He bows. He walks to centre opposite John. He exhibits his bowl.]
Behold. The bowl is empty.
[Zabnool produces a snake.]
Ah, little servant of Death.
[He produces flowers.]
Flowers, master, flowers. All the way from
[He produces birds.]
Birds, master. Birds from Nowhere. Sing, sing to the Shereef. Sing the little empty songs of the land of Nowhere.
[He seats himself on the ground facing John. He puts the bowl on the ground. He places a piece of silk, with queer designs on it over the bowl. He partly draws the silk away with his left hand and puts in his right. He brings out a young crocodile and holds it by the neck.]
Behold, O Shereef; O people, behold; a crocodile.
[He arises and bows to John and wraps up the crocodile in some drapery and walks away. As he goes he addresses his crocodile.]
O eater of lambs, O troubler of the rivers, you sought to evade me in an empty bowl. O thief, O appetite, you sought to evade the Shereef. The Shereef has seen you, O vexer of swimmers, O pig in armour, O . . .
Shabeesh, another conjurer, rushes
Bad man, master; he very, very bad man.
[He pushes Zabnool away roughly, impetus of which carries Zabnool to the wings.]
Very, very bad man, master.
Zabnool has amused us.
He very, very bad man, lily lady. He get crocodile from devil. From devil Poolyana, lily lady. Very, very bad.
He may call on devils if he amuse us,
But Poolyana, my devil. He call on my devil, lily lady. Very, very, very bad. My devil Poolyana.