Shows D

They are indeed eighteenth century. Fioria tells Leona to wear something for the evening that will look well in a gondola. The meaning of her words is not lost, for Leona has already been told what gondolas are used for after nightfall. Later in the day, a young lad comes with a message. Renato will be late for his appointment. He has to take one of his children to the doctor. All Leona's antagonisms are aroused once more as she learns that not only is Renato a father but a married man, and she sends back a message to cancel their evening. Jennifer has had a row with Eddie and is storming off to bury herself in a cinema, and the disappointed Leona is tempted to join her. This leaves Eddie alone with Fioria and, having pointedly got rid of Giovanna, the pair leave together in a gondola. Leona doesn't go to the cinema. She leaves Jennifer there and comes back to the pensione just in time to see Eddie and Fioria leaving. Jealousy and anger swell up in her and Renato arrives just in time to take the brunt of her emotions. He answers her questions: yes, he is married but, in a country which allows no divorce, he and his wife have lived out of lovelock for many years and, in any case, they have too many children and too little money to contemplate splitting up. So he looks outside his home for his happiness. Leona is outraged: in America this would be unthinkable, unrespectable or, at the best, regrettable. Renato has only a simple response to that: does this make it wrong, or just wrong in America? Leona is bewildered: where does she stand? Renato can see what her problem is. She has come to Venice to find the handsome, rich, unmarried hero of her dreams. He does not fill that bill but, dare he say it, he is as good as a no longer young, not very beautiful American lady is going to find in a short stay. Does she want something, or will she wait instead for her ideal man and her dream moment? He wants her, the choice is hers. Does she want him? Leona brings out a handful of notes: they will go to the up-market Harry's Bar. He takes the money but determines that they will spend their time together at a cafe in the Piazza. ACT II Later that evening, a calmer Jennifer waits for Eddie on the balcony of their room and, like a little girl, wishes on the moon while Fioria, on her balcony, hears Eddie returning to his wife and sees Leona returning from a truly happy evening. The next day, the women are in glowing form. Eddie is purging his guilty soul by taking Jennifer out for a special evening, while a sleek Leona waits anxiously for some sort of word from Renato. The moment has come for serious words between the Yeagers and Jennifer finally hears why Eddie insists on going back to America: it is to save their marriage. If he stays in Italy he knows that he will have a serious affair with a Fioria and that will be the beginning of the end. He doesn't want their marriage to go on the rocks. Renato finally arrives just as Leona had begun to give up hope. He has brought her a fine necklace of garnets - her favourite stones. Leona is overjoyed. She has a tangible gift, something material which she can see and touch and understand. At last she can feel the echoings of love inside her and she can even listen to Renato's pleading that she stay in Venice beyond the time allotted for her holiday. Leona gives a party for her Venetian friends in the garden of the pensione and during the party Renato's son comes to find his father with news that the vendor of the necklace is waiting outside for his money. Renato tries to send him away, but a wine-flushed and happy Leona is only too happy to provide the money. When the child brings back some of the notes for Renato as his commission on the sale, Leona's world crumbles. In spite of Renato's insistence that he asked for no commission, she bursts out accusingly at him: if it had to be like that, could he not have kept it secret and left her the illusions he knows perfectly well she needed to keep? He wanted only her money, not her. Sadly, Renato leaves and, when Fioria gently intervenes on Renato's behalf and Jennifer adds her words to Leona's distress, Leona drunkenly takes her anguish out on them both by revealing Eddie and Fioria's evening jaunt of the previous day. When the damage has been done, she is sorry, but it is too late. She was hurt and so she wanted to hurt other people. Fioria has no time for her. Hurt? No one has hurt her. Leona is the one who has hurt herself with her self-centred crying for the moon. So, now she has nothing. The next day the McIlhennys check out. Eddie and Jennifer are not far behind and Fioria is not sorry. The