A monologue by Marjorie Benton Cooke
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from More Modern Monologues. Marjorie Benton Cooke. Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1907.
GIOVANNI: Ah, Signor, how do? I am ver’ glad to see you. Si, Signor, I come-a back. I make-a de treep to Italia–I make-a de treep back to New York. . . . Si, I make-a de mon’–I got il bottega–il magazino–what you call–shop. Na, na–not make-a de treep to Italia on bis’ness–I make-a de treep for Nicoletta. Signor, you good fren’ to G’vanni–you like to hear ’bout Nicoletta? You will seet down? It is long time ‘go, in Italia, I make-a de love to Nicoletta. Ah, Signor, it is ver’ beautiful in ma’ countree, moch blue sky, moch green tree. Not like-a New York, na, na, na, ver’ beautiful. But ev’body zere is ver’ poor. Eef il padre di famiglia make-a duo soldi a day–ah–’tis ver’ good. Il famiglia getta spaghetti, polenta, . . . but il padre di famiglia notta make-a duo soldi each day–na, na. Ev’body ver’ poor zere. So Nicoletta an’ me, we cannot marry wiz each ozer. Antonio di Navarro–he ees, what you say? Neighbor? Si, Signor, neighbor wiz us, an’ he say ev’body in New York getta reech queek–ev’body make-a de mon’. So I say to Nicoletta, “I, Giovanni, I go to New York, getta reech, an’ sen’ you de mon’, eh, Carissima? An’ she say to me, “Si, si, G’vanni.” So, Signor, I make-a de treep. Eeet is ver’ different in New York. I canna’ spik-a de tongue. I not getta reech queek–na, jus’ work-work-work, like in ma’ countree. Sell-a de peanut, sell-a de banan’, make-a de music wit’ de monk–work all time, an’ save for Nicoletta. An’ purt’ soon, I gotta de mon’. I go to Antonio–he make-a de treep wit me to New York, an’ now he go to make-a de treep back to Italia. He is ma fren’, so I go to him, I say, “Here is ma mon’, tell Nicoletta, G’vanni is waiting.” Antonio di Navarro, he take-a de mon’; he make-a de treep to Italia; he tell Nicoletta G’Vanni is dead–he keep de mon’ an’ take Nicoletta! Giovanni?–what he do, Signor? He is in New York, waiting. Ev’ry boat zat comes to New York for mont’ I am zere, waiting, waiting, an’ no Nicoletta, so at last’ I say–“She is dead.” Zen come ze word Antonio di Navarro have take Nicoletta! Ah, Signor, Zen I work-a, work-a, work-a! Sell-a de peanut–sell-a de banan’, make-a de music wit’ de monk, an’ save, till, at las’, I got-ta de mon’. I make-a de treep to Italia–two day I watch an’ wait, an’ zen when Antonio di Navarro go home to Nicoletta, I, Giovanni, I go too. Close behin’ him in ze shadow, I go, too. Up ze stair behin’ him, an’ wait outside ze door. Purt’ soon he come out an’ go away, an’ zen Giovanni, he go in. Nicoletta make-a de cry upon de floor. She look at me like one zat hear ze voice of ze blessed Virgin!
“Na, na–don’t keel me, Vanni, don’t keel me. He tell me you are dead–Antonio tell me you are dead–don’t! Don’t!–”
“Nicoletta–you love Antonio?”
“You love me, G’vanni?”
“Si–si, Vanni, I love you.”
I hear heem comin’ up ze stair, I wait for him inside ze door, an’ pur’ soon Antonio di Navarro he come in! Signor, I as’ you to excuse me. For one moment, I forget–I think I am back zere in– Nicoletta–Nicoletta! Ah, come out–come here, Carissima. Signor, I make-a de pleasure to present you to my wife–to Nicoletta!