Auguste is an employee of the Hotel Monte Gabriel.
Mr. Jimmy Cherry
A painter who has been in Australia painting a mural for the government, Cherry was married just a few days earlier in Venice. He is an Englishman, and when war is declared, he is enthusiastic to fight, but he also goes out of his way to be cordial to the German doctor and Italian commander who will soon be his enemies.
Recently married to an artist, Mrs. Cherry works at a store named Fortnum’s, as she says, ‘‘wearing a smock, and disgracing my family.’’ After hearing the news that Quillery has been executed for speaking out against the Italians, she becomes angry enough to face the same kind of punishment: ‘‘Don’t call me your friend,’’ she tells Captain Locicero, ‘‘because I say what Quillery said—damn you—damn your whole country of mad dogs for having started this horror.’’ Her husband calms her and gets her to apologize before they leave.
Edna is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.
The forty-ish bellboy of the resort, Dumptsy has lived in that area since it was a province of Austria. It was ceded to the Italians at the end of the First World War, and overnight Dumptsy and his family became Italian citizens. Explaining this to Harry, he laughs and says, ‘‘But it doesn’t make much difference who your masters are. When you get used to them, they are all the same.’’ In the last scene, he appears in an Italian army uniform, having been drafted into service.
Bebe is one of the girls in Harry Van’s troupe.
She pronounces her name ‘‘Ear-ray-na,’’ which is one reason that Harry Van does not recognize her as the girl he once knew named Irene. She presents herself as a member of the Russian royal family, the Romanoffs, who were exiled from the country when the Communists took over in 1917. Her story about escaping from Russia changes, depending on whom she is talking to. Sometimes she says that she rode a sled across the ice, pursued by Bolshevik attackers; at another time she is on a raft at sea, rescued by English soldiers. In the end she confesses to Harry that she is not a Romanoff but that her real origin is still left a mystery. Irene likes to give the impression that she is an important personage, as evinced by the way she drops the name of the Maharajah of Rajpipla when she first arrives, referring to him with the familiar name ‘‘Pip.’’
Irene is traveling with Achille Weber. They are not married, and the implication is that she is his mistress. When they are alone, she is quite ruthless and graphic about imaging the carnage that the war will bring. Her description is so gruesome that it tips Weber off to the idea that the young British honeymooners might have ‘‘touched a tender spot.’’
Since she has traveled around the world throughout her life, Irene has no definite nationality, only a passport issued by the League of Nations. After Italy declares war, it no longer recognizes the League of Nations. Captain Locicero is willing to let Irene leave the country without a valid passport, as a companion of Achille Weber, but he refuses to take responsibility for her.
Harry Van says that he recognizes Irene as a member of a traveling Russian troupe who played at a theater in Omaha with him in 1925: he was working in a mind-reading act and the Russian girl came to his room to learn how his act worked and they spent the night together. At first, Irene denies any knowledge of it, but when she has been abandoned by Weber and Harry is leaving, she tells him that she remembers the exact room number they were in that night. He returns to her and says that he will teach her the secret of the mind-reading act and that together they can tour with his dancing girls. She chooses the exotic name ‘‘Namora’’ as her stage name, but the French start bombing Mount Gabriele just as the play ends.
Something of a lieutenant to Harry Van, Shirley is the member of ‘‘Les Blondes’’ that Harry speaks to most often. She is the one who oversteps Harry’s authority to show Beulah how to do the ‘‘Maxie Ford’’ dance step. When Harry decides to stop performing with the troupe, he gives Shirley his singing part, which, along with her natural assertiveness, implies that she will be their leader when he leaves them.
As commander of the Italian headquarters, the captain’s must detain all of the...
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