A monologue by Marjorie Benton Cooke.
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from More Modern Monologues. Marjorie Benton Cooke. Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1907.
GIOVANNI: [In a heavy Italian accent] Ah, Signor, how do you do? I am very glad to see you. [Smiling] Yes, Signor, I have come back. I made the trip to Italia, and I made the trip back to New York. Si, I made the money. I got il bottega, il magazino, what you call shop. No, no, I didn’t make the trip to Italia on business. I made the trip for Nicoletta. [He appeals to Howard like a child asking for sympathy] Signor, you are a good friend to Giovanni. Would you like to hear about Nicoletta? Will you sit down? [Pause] It was a long time ago, in Italia. I fell in love with Nicoletta. Ah, Signor, it is very beautiful in my country. Much blue sky, many green trees. Not like New York. No, no, no, very beautiful. But everybody there is very poor. If the head of the family makes two soldi a day, that’s very good. The family eats spaghetti, polenta, but the head of the family doesn’t make two soldi every day, no, no. Everybody is very poor there. So Nicoletta and I, we cannot marry each other. [His face clouds at the mention of Antonio, and his hands knot.] Antonio di Navarro, he is, what do you say? Neighbor, Signor, neighbor with us. And he says everybody in New York gets rich quick, everybody makes money. So I say to Nicoletta, “I, Giovanni, I go to New York, get rich, and send you the money, eh, Carissima?” And she says to me, “Si, si, G’vanni.” So, Signor, I made the trip. It is very different in New York. I can’t speak the language. I don’t get rich quickly, no, just work, work, work, like in my country. Sell the peanuts, sell the bananas, make music with the monkey, work all the time, and save for Nicoletta. And soon, I got the money. I went to Antonio. He made the trip with me to New York, and now he’s going to make the trip back to Italia. He’s my friend, so I go to him. I say, “Here is my money. Tell Nicoletta, Giovanni is waiting.” [A veritable fury sweeps his face.] Antonio di Navarro, he took the money. He made the trip to Italia. He told Nicoletta G’Vanni is dead. He kept the money and took Nicoletta! [He hurries on in a frenzy.] Giovanni? What does he do, Signor? He is in New York, waiting. Every boat that comes to New York for months, I am there, waiting, waiting, and no Nicoletta. So at last, I say, “She is dead.” Then came the word Antonio di Navarro had taken Nicoletta! Ah, Signor, then I worked, worked, worked! Sold the peanuts, sold the bananas, made music with the monkey, and saved until, at last, I got the money. I made the trip to Italia. Two days I watched and waited, and then when Antonio di Navarro went home to Nicoletta, I, Giovanni, I went too. Close behind him.
“Na, na—don’t kill me, Vanni, don’t kill me. He told me you were dead—Antonio told me you were dead—don’t! Don’t!” [He crouches away, sobbing, as if from fear, and then suddenly resuming his own expression, he thunders.]
“Nicoletta—do you love Antonio?”
“Do you love me, Giovanni?”
“Si—si, Vanni, I love you.”
“I hear him coming up the stairs, I wait for him inside the door, and pretty soon Antonio di Navarro comes in!” [Pantomime of swift upward stroke of the stiletto. He looks at the body crumpled at his feet, breathing hard and loud. His eye falls on his listener, and a dazed look follows, then he comes to himself with a shudder.] “Signor, I ask you to excuse me. For one moment, I forgot—I thought I was back there in—” [Shrugs his shoulders, turns to the right and calls] “Nicoletta—Nicoletta! Ah, come out—come here, Carissima.” [Turns to the listener, with a flourish] “Signor, I have the pleasure of introducing you to my wife—to Nicoletta!