Shows N

"are either idealists or very tired businessmen." Scene 2. In the small bedroom of Constantine's house in Smyrna, Evangeline paces nervously while waiting for him to return from buying her a dress. Outside, a volley of shots is heard: the Turks are sacking the city. When Constantine knocks on the outside door, his frightened servant Feliza lets him in and then flees for safety. Constantine shows Evangeline the dress that he risked his life to bring her, but she finds it unwearable. Hysterically, he runs to the window, to discover that his warehouse has been set on fire. He rushes outside to protect his property. From the window, Evangeline looks on in horror as he is shot and killed by the Turks. Just then, the door flies open, and in strides the fierce, murderous Kassim Mahmud Ben Hadji, who "bristles with weapons but unfortunately for him is "under five feet tall." When he discovers that Evangeline is British, he offers to take her to the British consulate for two piastras or for a tour of the local statuary. Offended that the slave trader finds her unacceptable for slavery, Evangeline offers to pay him two thousand piastras for a two-day camel ride to the nearby slave market. She leads him out. Scene 3 is the open court of a harem in a remote province of Turkey. Like the other concubines, Evangeline is dressed in great Oriental splendour, but she is knitting a sock and is very bored. Ali, the resident eunuch, explains that he speaks English perfectly, because he studied at Oxford (and he met his master at Eton). His employer is currently away as the Turkish delegate to the League of Nations in Geneva, but he has promised to return "when universal peace is restored." When the corpulent Ali asks Evangeline if she has ever been in love, she responds that once in school she had measles. Ali then produces a new addition to the harem, a young American Negress named Haidee Robinson, who wanted to see the world and has done so. When Zuleika, one of the concubines, begins to wail in her monotonous chant, Haidee ridicules her by imitating her wail and then launching into a song of her own. After the song, Evangeline and Haidee exit. No sooner have they gone, than one of the flagstones that pave the court begins to move. The concubines all shriek in horror and race off, as a handsome, young American, Ben Winthrop, pulls himself up from a hole in the ground. Evangeline enters, and Ben explains that the owner of this palace hired him to install a brand new plumbing system. He is quite prepared to rescue her: "I guess we'll have to walk for half a mile through the sewer and there I have a Ford waiting." When Ali suddenly appears, Ben places ten piastras in his hand to buy his silence. Scene 4. The desert. Evangeline and Ben celebrate the joys of being free. In the fashion of stalwart storybook heroes, Ben professes that he will preserve Evangeline's purity: he will place her the following day on the Paris express at Istanbul, and in three days she will be with friends in the French capital. When she complains of a headache and asks him to rub her temples, he offers her two aspirins. He finally agrees to massage her head, but, when she asks him to sing a "lovely languid sort of serenade," he responds with a heartfelt homage to his one truelove: "Plumbing." Giving upon any hope for romance, Evangeline rises from the ground and suggests they be off. Scene 5 is a harem set on the stage of the Folies de Paris. André is hysterical, because Madeleine is late as usual for her entrance during a rehearsal. When she finally appears, she and the girls rehearse their routine. Just then, Reverend Pither and Miss Pratt (of all people) enter with two English girls, who are going to audition as a dance team. Evangeline appears, to André's surprise, and is reunited with Miss Pratt. The chemistry teacher explains that after the school closed, she came to Paris to study at the Sorbonne and one day met Mr. Pither. He asked her to be a matron in his hostel for chorus girls, and then she married him. Evangeline then informs Miss Pratt of all the trouble her advice has caused: Bertha is in Athens, living in sin, "Joyce took up quarters with a painter," Henrietta married "a dear old white slaver"; only Madeleine has become a star, while she, Evangeline, is "just a girl no man wants." Elated that he has at last found an English girl who can travel the Continent unmolested, Pither agrees to escort Evangeline back to Oxford the very next day. She is undecided, when André invites her to stay and join the show. Miss Pratt begs her to redeem the fate of the other girls and return home.