[A trumpet is blown, without.]
Hearken, the trumpet sounds, the chariot
Away, dear lord, follow the road to light!
SCENE II. [*]
[*] Note that this scene is not intended to be put upon the stage, the effect of the action upon the drama being given at the beginning of Act IV.
The house of Elisha, upon a terraced hillside. A low stone cottage with vine-trellises and flowers; a flight of steps, at the foot of which is NAAMAN’S chariot. He is standing in it; SABALLIDIN beside it. Two soldiers come down the steps.
We have delivered my lord’s greeting and his message.
Yes, and near lost our noses in the doing of it! For the servant
slammed the door in our faces. A most unmannerly reception!
But I take that as a good omen. It is mark of holy men to keep
ill-conditioned servants. Look, the door opens, the prophet is
No, by my head, it’s that notable mark of his master’s holiness,
that same lantern-jawed lout of a servant.
[GEHAZI loiters down the steps and comes to NAAMAN with a slight obeisance.]
My master, the prophet of Israel, sends word to Naaman the
Syrian,—are you he?—“Go wash in Jordan seven times and be healed.”
[GEHAZI turns and goes slowly up the steps.]
What insolence is this? Am I a man
To be put off with surly messengers?
Has not Damascus rivers more renowned
Than this rude, torrent Jordan? Crystal streams,
Abana! Pharpar! flowing smoothly through
A paradise of roses? Might I not
Have bathed in them and been restored at ease?
Come up, Saballidin, and guide me home!
Bethink thee, master, shall we lose our quest
Because a servant is uncouth? The road
That seeks the mountain leads us through the vale.
The prophet’s word is friendly after all;
For had it been some mighty task he set,
Thou wouldst perform it. How much rather then
This easy one? Hast thou not promised her
Who waits for thy return? Wilt thou go back
To her unhealed?
No! not for all my pride!
I’ll make myself most humble for her sake,
And stoop to anything that gives me hope
Of having her. Make haste, Saballidin,
Bring me to Jordan. I will cast myself
Into that river’s turbulent embrace
A hundred times, until I save my life
Or lose it!
[Exeunt. The light fades: musical interlude. The light increases again with ruddy sunset shining on the door of ELISHA’S house. The prophet appears and looks off, shading his eyes with his hand as he descends the steps slowly. Trumpet blows,—NAAMAN’S call;—sound of horses galloping and men shouting. NAAMAN enters joyously, followed by SABALLIDIN and soldiers, with gifts.]