THE FIRST ACT
SCENE: The terrace of the Hotel Regina Margherita, on the cliff at Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples.
There is a view of the bay and its semi-circular coast-line, dotted with villages; Vesuvius gray in the distance. Across the stage at the rear runs a marble balustrade about three feet high, guarding the edge of the cliff. Upon the left is seen part of one wing of the hotel, entrance to which is afforded by wide-open double doors approached by four or five marble steps with a railing and small stoop. The hotel is of pink and white stucco, and striped awnings shield the windows. Upon the right is a lemon grove and shrubberies. There are two or three small white wicker tea-tables and a number of wicker chairs upon the left, and a square table laid with white cloth on the right.
As the curtain rises mandolins and guitars are heard, and the "Fisherman's Song," the time very rapid and gay, the musicians being unseen.[pg 014]
MARIANO, maître d'hôtel, is discovered laying the table down R.C. with eggs, coffee, and rolls for two. He is a pleasant-faced, elderly man, stout, swarthy, clean shaven; wears dress-clothes, white waist-coat, and black tie. He is annoyed by the music.MARIANO
[calling to the unseen musicians crossly]
[MICHELE enters from the hotel. He is young, clean-shaven except for a dark mustache, wears a white tie, a blue coat, cut like dress-coat, blue trousers with red side stripes, brass buttons; his waistcoat is of striped red and blue.]MICHELE
[speaking over his shoulder]
Par ici, Monsieur Ribiere, pour le maître d'hôtel.
[RIBIERE enters from the hotel.]
[MICHELE immediately withdraws.]
[RIBIERE is a trim, business-like young Frenchman of some distinction of appearance. He wears a well-made English dark "cutaway" walking-suit, a derby hat, and carries a handsome leather writing-case under his arm.][pg 015]RIBIERE
[as he enters]
[bowing and greeting him gayly]
Monsieur Ribiere! J'espère que vous êtes—
[He breaks off, turns on his heel toward the invisible musicians, and shouts.]
[He turns again quickly to RIBIERE.]RIBIERE
[with a warning glance toward hotel]
Let us speak English. There are not so many who understand.MARIANO
I hope Monsieur still occupy the exalt' position of secretar' to Monseigneur the Grand-Duke.RIBIERE
[sits and opens writing-case, answers gravely]
We will not mention the name or rank of my employer.MARIANO
[with gesture and accent of despair]
Again incognito! Every year he come to our hotel for two, three day, but always incognito.
[He finishes setting the table.]
We lose the honor to have it known.RIBIERE
[looking at his watch]
He comes in his automobile from Naples. Everything is to be as on my employer's former visits—strictly incognito. It [pg 016] is understood every one shall address him as Herr von Gröllerhagen—MARIANO
[repeating the name carefully]
Herr von Gröllerhagen—RIBIERE
He wishes to be thought a German.
[Takes a note-book from case.]MARIANO
Such a man!...