[In a heavy Italian accent] Ah, Signor, how do?
I am ver' glad to see you. [Smiling] 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.
[He appeals to Howard like a child asking sympathy] Signor, you good
fren' to G'vanni--you like to hear 'bout Nicoletta? You will seet down?
[Pause] 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. [His face clouds at mention of
Antonio and his hands knot.] 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." [A veritable fury sweeps his face.] 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! [He hurries on in
a frenzy.] 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! [Crosses himself
hastily, and goes on]
"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!--" [He crouches away, sobbing,
as if from fear, and then suddenly resuming his own expression, he thunders.]
"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! [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 as' you to excuse me.
For one moment, I forget--I think I am back zere 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 make-a de pleasure to present you to my wife--to Nicoletta!
Credits: Reprinted from More Modern Monologues. Marjorie Benton
Cooke. Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1907.
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