THE SECOND ACT
Scene: Entrance garden of the hotel.
In the distance are seen the green slopes of vineyards, a ruined castle, and olive orchards leading up the mountainside.
An old stone wall seven feet high runs across the rear of the stage. This wall is almost covered with vines, showing autumn tints, crowning the crest of the wall and hanging from it in profusion. There is a broad green gate of the Southern Italian type, closed. A white-columned pergola runs obliquely down from the wall on the right. The top of the pergola is an awning formed by a skeleton of green-painted wooden strips thickly covered by entwining lemon branches bearing ripening lemons. Between the columns of the pergola are glimpses of a formal Italian garden: flowers, hedges, and a broad flat marble vase on a slender pedestal, etc. On the left a two-story wing of the hotel meets the wall at the back and runs square across to the left; a lemon grove lies to the left also. The wall of the hotel facing the audience shows open double doors, with windows up-stairs and below, all with lowered awnings. There is a marble bench at the left among shrubberies; an open touring-car upon the right under the awning formed by the overhang of the pergola; a bag of tools, open, on the stage near by, the floor boards of the car removed, the apron lifted.
As the curtain rises, PIKE, in his shirt-sleeves, his hands dirty, and wearing a workman’s long blouse buttoned at neck, is bending over the engine, working and singing, at intervals whistling “The Blue and the Gray.” His hat, duster, and cuffs are on the rear seat of the tonneau.
[Enter HORACE from the garden. He is flushed and angry; controls himself with an effort, trying to speak politely.]
HORACE. Mr. Pike!
PIKE [apparently not hearing him, hammering at a bolt-head with a monkey-wrench and singing].
“One lies down at Appomattox—”
HORACE [sharply]. Mr. Pike! Mr. Pike, I wish a word with you.
PIKE [looks up mildly]. Hum!
[He moves to the other side of the engine, rubbing handle of monkey-wrench across his chin as if puzzled.]
HORACE. I wish to tell you that the surprise of this morning so upset me that I went for a long walk. I have just returned.
PIKE [regarding the machine intently, sings softly].
“One wore clothes of gray—.”
[Then he whistles the air. Throughout this interview he maintains almost constantly an air of absorption in his work and continues to whistle and sing softly.]
HORACE [continuing]. I have been even more upset by what I have just learned from my sister.
PIKE [absently]. Why, that’s too bad.
HORACE. It is too bad—absurdly—monstrously bad! She tells me that she has done you the honor to present you to the family with which we are forming an alliance—to the Earl of Hawcastle—her fiance’s father—