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The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith   By: (1855-1934)

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E text prepared by Stephen Bishop

THE NOTORIOUS MRS. EBBSMITH

by

ARTHUR WING PINERO

THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

AGNES LUCAS CLEEVE SYBIL CLEEVE SIR SANDFORD CLEEVE DUKE OF ST. OLPHERTS GERTRUDE THORPE REV. AMOS WINTERFIELD SIR GEORGE BRODRICK DR. KIRKE FORTUNE ANTONIO POPPI NELLA HEPHZIBAH

The Scene is laid in Venice first at the Palazzo Arconati, a lodging house on the Grand Canal; afterwards in an apartment in the Campo S. Bartolomeo.

It is Easter tide, a week passing between the events of the First and Second Acts.

THE FIRST ACT

The Scene is a room in the Palazzo Arconati, on the Grand Canal, Venice. The room itself is beautiful in its decayed grandeur, but the furnishings and hangings are either tawdry and meretricious or avowedly modern. The three windows at the back open on to a narrow covered balcony, or loggia, and through them can be seen the west side of the canal. Between recessed double doors on either side of the room is a fireplace out of use and a marble mantelpiece, but a tiled stove is used for a wood fire. Breakfast things are laid on the table. The sun streams into the room.

[ANTONIO POPPI and NELLA, two Venetian servants, with a touch of the picturesque in their attire, are engaged in clearing the breakfast table.]

NELLA. [Turning her head.] Ascolta! (Listen!)

ANTONIO. Una gondola allo scalo. (A gondala at our steps.)[They open the centre window, go out on to the balcony, and look down below.] La Signora Thorpe. (The Signora Thorpe.)

NELLO. Con suo fratello. (With her brother.)

ANTONIO. [Calling.] Buon di, Signor Winterfield! Iddio la benedica! [Good day, Signor Winterfield! The blessing of God be upon you!]

NELLA. [Calling.] Buon di, Signora! La Madonna Passista! (Good day, Signora! May the Virgin have you in her keeping!)

ANTONIO. [Returning to the room.] Noi siamo in ritardo di tutto questa mattina. (We are behindhand with everything this morning.)

NELLA. [Following him.] E vero. (That is true.)

ANTONIO. [Bustling about.] La stufa! (The stove!)

NELLA. [Throwing wood into the stove.] Che tua sia benedetta per rammentarmelo! Questi Inglesi non si contentono del sole. (Bless you for remembering it. These English are not content with the sun.)

[Leaving only a vase of flowers upon the table, they hurry out with the breakfast things. At the same moment, FORTUNE, a manservant, enters, showing in MRS. THORPE and the REV. AMOS WINTERFIELD. GERTRUDE THORPE is a pretty, frank looking young woman of about seven and twenty. She is in mourning, and has sorrowful eyes and a complexion that is too delicate, but natural cheerfulness and brightness are seen through all. AMOS is about forty big, burly, gruff; he is untidily dressed, and has a pipe in his hand. FORTUNE is carrying a pair of freshly cleaned tan coloured boots upon boot trees.]

GERTRUDE. Now, Fortune, you ought to have told us downstairs that Dr. Kirke is with Mrs. Cleeve.

AMOS. Come away, Gerty. Mrs. Cleeve can't want to be bored with us just now.

FORTUNE. Mrs. Cleeve give 'er ordares she is always to be bored wiz Madame Thorpe and Mr. Winterfield.

AMOS. Ha, Ha!

GERTRUDE. [Smiling.] Fortune!

FORTUNE. Besides, ze doctares vill go in 'alf a minute, you see.

GERTRUDE. Doctors!

AMOS. What, is there another doctor with Dr. Kirke?

FORTUNE. Ze great physician, Sir Brodrick.

GERTRUDE. Sir George Brodrick? Amos!

AMOS. Doesn't Mr. Cleeve feel so well?

FORTUNE. Oh, yes. But Mrs. Cleeve 'appen to read in a newspapare zat Sir George Brodrick vas in Florence for ze Paque ze Eastare. Sir Brodrick vas Mr. Cleeve's doctor in London, Mrs. Cleeve tell me, so'e is acquainted wiz Mr. Cleeve's inside.

AMOS. Ho, ho!

GERTRUDE. Mr. Cleeve's constitution, Fortune.

FORTUNE. Excuse, madame. Zerefore Mrs. Cleeve she telegraph for Sir Brodrick to come to Venise.

AMOS. To consult with Dr. Kirke, I suppose.

FORTUNE. [Listening.] 'Ere is ze doctares.

[DR. KIRKE enters, followed by SIR GEORGE BRODRICK... Continue reading book >>




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