Book Description: presumably Soldati himself, is on holiday in New York with his second wife. He is out shopping at Saks, while his wife is at the hairdresser's. While shopping he meets Count Cagliani, a fellow Italian who has lived in New York for a long time, who, according to the narrator, must be at least eighty years old and is two meters tall. They chat and Cagliani invites the narrator and his wife for dinner. His wife cries off but the narrator goes and finds that Cagliani can recognize precious stones by their taste. After some mumbo-jumbo Cagliani says that the narrator should go to Saorge, a town the narrator has previously visited, where he will find an emerald which will be of importance to him.
The rest of the novel, except for the final few pages, is the dream he has while asleep.