Act One: Florence, Italy, Spring 1907
Act One, Scene One: The Bertolini
During dinner, Lucy Honeychurch, a young Englishwoman, and Charlotte Bartlett, her cousin and chaperone, meet the other English guests at their pension, the Bertolini. They include a lady romance novelist, Miss Lavish, and the free thinking Mr. Emerson and his taciturn son, George. Rounding out the guest list is Mr. Beebe, Lucy’s pastor in England, and elderly spinster sisters, the Miss Alans. Mr. Emerson and his son offer to exchange rooms with Lucy and Charlotte so that the women can have a view. The offer is reluctantly but gratefully accepted.
Act One Scene Two: In Santa Croce without a Baedeker
Out on the streets, Miss Lavish introduces the hesitant Lucy to the sights and smells of Italy. Left to wander the church of Santa Croce by herself, Lucy encounters the Emersons. Mr. Emerson encourages Lucy to try to understand and help George out of his depression. Lucy is confused.
Act One Scene Three: The River
In a piazza by the river Arno, Lucy witnesses a traumatic murder and George comes to her rescue. Something has snapped in George’s mind and he puzzles over its meaning. Lucy is intrigued but unsure of her feelings.
Act One Scene Four: Possibilities of a Pleasant Outing
The next morning on the same piazza, Miss Lavish records details of Lucy’s previous day as background for her new novel. Lucy and Charlotte are invited for a drive in the hills the next day by Mr. Eager, the English chaplain in Florence. They accept. Charlotte delivers a letter to Lucy informing them that friends of theirs, the Vyses, are in Rome. They discuss the possibility of going to Rome instead of the drive.
Act One Scene Five: The Reverend Arthur Beebe, The Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr. Emerson, Mr. George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett, and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive Out in Carriages to See a View:
Italians Drive Them.
On a carriage ride in the hills of Fiesole, Mr. Eager and Miss Lavish compete in their knowledge of Italy. Their Italian driver stops to pick up a rather amorous woman whom he claims is his sister. The disbelieving Mr. Eager huffily insists that she get out of the carriage. Mr. Emerson protests but Mr. Eager prevails. The driver shows his displeasure by whipping the horses faster and faster.
When they arrive the group splits up and, while Charlotte and Miss Lavish gossip, Lucy finds herself once again on her own. She inquires of the driver where the other people are and he leads her to a field of violets where to the dismay of Charlotte, George kisses Lucy.
Act One Scene Six: They Return
In Lucy’s room at the pension later that night Lucy and Charlotte argue about George. Lucy is in a muddle. George returns to see Lucy but Charlotte prevents an encounter. She tells Lucy to rest. They leave for Rome in the morning.
Act Two: Summer and fall of the same year. In and around Windy Corner, Lucy’s country home in England.
Act Two Scene One: Medieval
Back in England, Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse, a rather priggish man. Lucy’s mother is pleased but her brother is indifferent. Mr. Beebe brings extraordinary news. The Emersons have leased a house nearby. Lucy tries to control her feelings. Cecil kisses her for the first time with less than passionate results.
Act Two, Scene Two: The Bathe
Lucy’s brother Freddy invites George Emerson and Mr. Beebe to come swimming with him in a nearby pond. While at the pond, they accidentally encounter Mrs. Honeychurch, Cecil, and Lucy who are chagrined. It is Lucy’s first sight of George since Italy and she is confused.
Act Two, Scene Three: The Disaster Within
On a lazy afternoon on the garden terrace of Windy Corner, George has come to play tennis with Freddy and Charlotte has also come for a visit. Cecil reads aloud a passage from a trashy novel he has gotten from the library. It turns out to be Miss Lavish’s novel and its hero and heroine are suspiciously like George and Lucy. George kisses Lucy again and she runs into the house.
Act Two, Scene Four: Lying to George
Inside, Lucy is furious with George and with Charlotte for revealing so many intimate details to Miss Lavish. She orders George out of her life. George resists and Charlotte privately prays for Lucy to follow her heart. Lucy insists that George leave but she also now knows that she cannot marry Cecil either.
Act Two, Scene Five: Lying to Cecil
That night Lucy breaks off her engagement to Cecil who surprisingly rises to the occasion. Lucy is left alone.
Act Two Scene Six:
Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, and Freddy
Mr. Beebe has received a letter from the Miss Alans. They are traveling to Greece. Lucy hopes that her mother will let her go to Greece to escape her troubles. Charlotte enlists Mr. Beebe’s help to encourage Lucy’s mother to let her go. Mrs. Honeychurch reluctantly consents. A parlor song sets a melancholy mood.
Act Two, Scene Seven: Lying to Mr. Emerson
In a carriage, Mrs. Honeychurch objects to Lucy’s plan to run away but Lucy is adamant. While waiting to pick up Charlotte from church, Lucy encounters Mr. Emerson in the rectory. He convinces her that her destiny is with George.
Act Two, Scene Eight: The End of the Middle Ages
On their honeymoon in Florence, Lucy and George realize that Charlotte helped them after all, and gaze rapturously at the view.