Detailed plot summary - Act Two

Scene One

Massimo visits his father’s old home in Italy. Luigi takes advantage of his kind nature, taking money from him and the clothes from his back. For the first time Luigi expresses an interest in his daughter, Lucia.

Scene Two

Lucia and Hughie discuss going to his brother’s wedding together. Rosinella prevents this and plans to set Lucia up with an Italian man instead.

Scene Three

Bridget encourages Hughie to go out and enjoy himself more. She herself is resigned to a single life and she obviously still mourns for Franco.

Scene Four

Bridget realises how much Hughie loves Lucia. She tells him that he has to tell her but when he attempts to express his feelings for Lucia he loses his nerve.

Scene Five

Hughie gives Lucia a love letter, but Rosinella takes it away. She threatens to keep them apart. Luigi sends for Lucia to return to Italy.

Scene Six

Hughie and Lucia share a drink of ginger before she leaves for Italy. They are unable to express their real emotions.

Scene Seven

Lucia leaves and Rosinella is left bereft. Hughie rushes in to the shop to see Lucia but is too late.

Scene Eight

Rosinella tells Massimo to fire Hughie because he reminds her too much of Lucia. Massimo is reluctant but agrees to talk to him.

Bridget enters and accuses Rosinella of sending Lucia back to Italy to keep her apart from Hughie. The two have a heated argument and Bridget declares that Rosinella will not stand in the way of Hughie and Lucia’s love, like she did with her and Franco.

Rosinella is fiercely protective of Lucia and states She’s like the child I could never have. Bridget then reveals that she too is childless by telling Rosinella that she secretly aborted Franco’s baby. She decided to do so after Rosinella told her that Franco didn’t love her and she was just a wee Scottish tart for him to practise on.

Rosinella is horrified. She falls to her knees and blesses herself.

Hughie explains to Massimo that he wants to leave his job in the shop. He feels he has nothing to offer Lucia. Massimo encourages him to stay and offers him greater prospects within the family business. Still, Hughie declines to stay.

Rosinella and Massimo have a tense conversation. He looks at her very coldly and with no sympathy at all. Rosinella announces that she wants to go to Italy. Massimo is enraged by Rosinella’s selfishness. He argues that Rosinella is only concerned with her own pain and tells her You never think of anyone but yourself. Rosinella pleads for Massimo’s compassion. She longs to be reunited with Lucia, however Massimo believes her love for Lucia to be selfish.

Massimo exits and Hughie enters to find a devastated Rosinella. This is a key scene because it is a turning point for Rosinella. She now understands the negative impact of her actions and apologises to Hughie. She starts to cry and reaches out to Hughie, who comforts her.

Scene Nine

Lucia has a new life of hard work in Italy. She panics about a spider which she presumes is a scorpion. She is clearly uncomfortable with her new surroundings.

Although Luigi jokes around with her, it is clear that she is there to work around the house and support the family. Rosinella arrives and takes her back to Massimo’s house.

Scene Ten

At Massimo’s house Lucia and Hughie are reunited. Rosinella reveals that she, Massimo and Bridget have planned to get them together and that Bridget is now working in the shop. Rosinella worries that Massimo no longer loves her.

Scene Eleven

Rosinella tries to persuade Luigi that Lucia should marry Hughie. Luigi refuses and announces that Lucia is already engaged. He has arranged a marriage for her so that he can access more land.

Scene Twelve

Hughie finally shows the determination to win back Lucia. Rosinella comes up with a plan to rescue her.

Scene Thirteen

On the night of a local feast, a crowd is celebrating outside Luigi’s house.

Looking out of the window, Lucia decides she has had enough of other people controlling her life.

After Lucia moves away from the window, Rosinella and Hughie enter the scene and Hughie puts a ladder up to the window. He shouts to Lucia that he loves her and he has come for her. After some comic confusion, Lucia and Hughie manage to escape to spend the night together. In doing so, Lucia’s reputation will be ruined and she will no longer be able to marry Luigi’s unwanted suitor.

Rosinella fondly watches their escape and blows them a kiss to show her approval. She is then surprised by the appearance of Massimo. They declare their love for each other. They romantically re-enact their own elopement which mirrors that of Hughie and Lucia.

The play ends joyfully as Massimo and Rosinella embrace as fireworks light up the night sky.

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