www.shawsociety.org

END

 

SHAW MONOLOGUES

(Appropriate for Auditions)

David Staller, Gingold Theatrical Group

 

 

CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA

CAESAR: If one man in all the world can be found, now or forever, to know that you did wrong, that man will have either to conquer the world as I have, or be crucified by it. [The uproar in the streets again reaches them.] Do you hear? These knockers at your gate are also believers in vengeance and in stabbing. You have slain their leader: it is right that they shall slay you. If you doubt it, ask your four counsellors here. And then in the name of that right [he emphasizes the word with great scorn] shall I not slay them for murdering their Queen, and be slain in my turn by their countrymen as the invader of their fatherland? Can Rome do less then than slay these slayers, too, to show the world how Rome avenges her sons and her honor. And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand. [Fierce uproar. Cleopatra becomes white with terror.] Hearken, you who must not be insulted. Go near enough to catch their words: you will find them bitterer than the tongue of Pothinus. What has held them baffled at the gate all these months? Was it my folly, as you deem it, or your wisdom? In this Egyptian Red Sea of blood, whose hand has held all your heads above the waves? [Turning on Cleopatra.] And yet, when Caesar says to such an one, "Friend, go free," you, clinging for your little life to my sword, dare steal out and stab him in the back? And you, soldiers and gentlemen, and honest servants as you forget that you are, applaud this assassination, and say "Caesar is in the wrong." By the gods, I am tempted to open my hand and let you all sink into the flood.

 

THE DOCTOR’S DILEMMA

MRS. DUBEDAT: I had a great many dreams; but at last they all came down to this. I didn't want to waste myself. I could do nothing myself; but I had a little property and I could help with it. I had even a little beauty: don't think me vain for knowing it. I knew that men of genius always had a terrible struggle with poverty and neglect at first. My dream was to save one of them from that, and bring some charm and happiness into his life. I prayed Heaven would send me one. I firmly believe that Louis was guided to me in answer to my prayer. He was no more like the other men I had met than the Thames Embankment is like our Cornish coasts. He saw everything that I saw, and drew it for me. He understood everything. He came to me like a child. Only fancy, doctor: he never even wanted to marry me: he never thought of the things other men think of! I had to propose it myself. Then he said he had no money. When I told him I had some, he said "Oh, all right," just like a boy. He is still like that, quite unspoiled, a man in his thoughts, a great poet and artist in his dreams, and a child in his ways. I gave him myself and all I had that he might grow to his full height with plenty of sunshine. If I lost faith in him, it would mean the wreck and failure of my life. I should go back to Cornwall and die. I could show you the very cliff I should jump off. You must cure him: you must make him quite well again for me. I know that you can do it and that nobody else can. I implore you not to refuse.

 

THE DOCTOR’S DILEMMA

SIR PATRICK: He's a clever operator, is Walpole, though he's only one of your chloroform surgeons. In my early days, you made your man drunk; and the porters and students held him down; and you had to set your teeth and finish the job fast. Nowadays you work at your ease; and the pain doesn't come until afterwards, when you've taken your cheque and rolled up your bag and left the house. I tell you, Colly, chloroform has done a lot of mischief. It's enabled every fool to be a surgeon. I know your Cutler Walpoles and their like. They've found out that a man's body is full of bits and scraps of old organs he has no mortal use for. Thanks to chloroform, you can cut half a dozen of them out without leaving him any the worse, except for the illness and the guineas it costs him. I knew the Walpoles fifteen years ago. The father used to snip off the ends of people's uvulas for fifty guineas, and paint throats with caustic every day for a year at two guineas a time. His brother-in-law extirpated tonsils for two hundred guineas until he took up women's cases at double the fees. Cutler himself worked hard at anatomy to find something fresh to operate on; and at last he got hold of something he calls the nuciform sac, which he's made quite the fashion. People pay him five hundred guineas to cut it out. They might as well get their hair cut for all the difference it makes; but I suppose they feel important after it. You can't go out to dinner now without your neighbor bragging to you of some useless operation or other.

 

GETTING MARRIED

COLLINS: No, maam; marriage didn't come natural. My wife had to break me into it. It came natural to her: she's what you might call a regular old hen. Always wants to have her family within sight of her. Wouldn't go to bed unless she knew they was all safe at home and the door locked, and the lights out. Always wants her luggage in the carriage with her. Always goes and makes the engine driver promise her to be careful. She's a born wife and mother, maam. That's why my children all ran away from home. I very often felt inclined to run away myself, but when it came to the point I couldn't bear to hurt her feelings. She's a sensitive, affectionate, anxious soul; and she was never brought up to know what freedom is to some people. You see, family life is all the life she knows: she's like a bird born in a cage, that would die if you let it loose in the woods. When I thought how little it was to a man of my easy temper to put up with her, and how deep it would hurt her to think it was because I didn't care for her, I always put off running away till next time; and so in the end I never ran away at all. I daresay it was good for me to be took such care of; but it cut me off from all my old friends something dreadful, maam: especially the women, maam. She never gave them a chance; she didn't indeed. She never understood that married people should take holidays from one another if they are to keep at all fresh. Not that I ever got tired of her, maam; but my! how I used to get tired of home life sometimes. I used to catch myself envying my brother George: I positively did, maam. He married a very fine figure of a woman; but she was that changeable and what you might call susceptible, you would not believe. She didn't seem to have any control over herself when she fell in love. She would mope for a couple of days, crying about nothing; and then she would up and say--no matter who was there to hear her--"I must go to him, George!"; and away she would go from her home and her husband without with-your-leave or by-your-leave. She done it five times to my own knowledge; and then George gave up telling us about it, he got so used to it. Well, what could he do, maam? Three times out of four the men would bring her back the same evening and no harm done. Other times they'd run away from her. What could any man with a heart do but comfort her when she came back crying at the way they dodged her when she threw herself at their heads, pretending they was too noble to accept the sacrifice she was making. George told her again and again that if she'd only stay at home and hold off a bit they'd be at her feet all day long. She got sensible at last and took his advice. George always liked change of company. You may think her odious--many ladies with a domestic turn thought so and said so, maam. But I will say for Mrs. George that the variety of experience made her wonderful interesting. That's where the flighty ones score off the steady ones, maam. Look at my old woman! She's never known any man but me; and she can't properly know me, because she don't know other men to compare me with. Of course she knows her parents in--well, in the way one does know one's parents: not knowing half their lives as you might say, or ever thinking that they was ever young; and she knew her children as children, and never thought of them as independent human beings till they ran away and nigh broke her heart for a week or two. But Mrs. George, she came to know a lot about men of all sorts and ages; for the older she got the younger she liked em; and it certainly made her interesting, and gave her a lot of sense. I have often taken her advice on things when my own poor old woman wouldn't have been a bit of use to me. All you have to do is mesmerize her a bit; and off she goes into a trance, and says the most wonderful things! not things about herself, but as if it was the whole human race giving you a bit of its mind. Oh, wonderful, maam, I assure you. You couldn't think of a game that Mrs. George isn't up to!

 

GETTING MARRIED

HOTCHKISS: How kind of you to say so, General! You're quite right: I am a snob. Why not? The whole strength of England lies in the fact that the enormous majority of the English people are snobs. They insult poverty. They despise vulgarity. The love nobility. They admire exclusiveness. They will not obey a man risen from the ranks. They never trust one of their own class. I agree with them. I share their instincts. In my undergraduate days I was a Republican--a Socialist. I tried hard to feel toward a common man as I do towards a duke. I couldn't. Neither can you. Well, why should we be ashamed of this aspiration towards what is above us? Why don't I say that an honest man's the noblest of work of God? Because I don't think so. If he's not a gentleman, I don't care whether he's honest or not: I shouldn't let his son marry my daughter. And that's the test, mind. That's the test. You feel as I do. You are a snob in fact: I am a snob, not only in fact, but on principle. I shall go down in history, not as the first snob, but as the first avowed champion of English snobbery, and its first martyr in the army. The navy boasts of two such martyrs in Captains Kirby and Wade, who were shot for refusing to fight under Admiral Benbow, a promoted cabin boy. I have always envied them their glory.

 

MAN AND SUPERMAN

TANNER: You, Tavy, are an artist: that is, you have a purpose as absorbing and as unscrupulous as a woman's purpose.... The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. To women he is half vivisector, half vampire. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost secrets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. He persuades women that they may do this for their own purpose whilst he really means them to do it for his. He steals the mother's milk and blackens it to make printers' ink to scoff at her and glorify ideal women with. He pretends to spare her the pangs of child-bearing so that he may have for himself the tenderness of fostering that belong of right to her children. Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a bloodsucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy! For mark you, Tavy, the artist's work is to shew us ourselves as we really are. Our minds are nothing but this knowledge of ourselves; and he who adds a jot to such knowledge creates new mind as surely as any woman creates new men. In the rage of that creation he is as ruthless as the woman, as dangerous to her as she to him, and as horribly fascinating. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? that is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.

 

PYGMALION

DOOLITTLE [to Pickering] I thank you, Governor. [To Higgins, who takes refuge on the piano bench, a little overwhelmed by the proximity of his visitor; for Doolittle has a professional flavor of dust about him]. Well, the truth is, I’ve taken a sort of fancy to you, Governor; and if you want the girl, I’m not so set on having her back home again but what I might be open to an arrangement. Regarded in the light of a young woman, she’s a fine handsome girl. As a daughter she’s not worth her keep; and so I tell you straight. All I ask is my rights as a father; and you’re the last man alive to expect me to let her go for nothing; for I can see you’re one of the straight sort, Governor. Well, what’s a five pound note to you? And what’s Eliza to me? [He returns to his chair and sits down judicially]. …What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I’m one of the undeserving poor: that’s what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he’s up agen middle class morality all the time. If there’s anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “You’re undeserving; so you can’t have it.” But my needs is as great as the most deserving widow’s that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don’t need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don’t eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I’m a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything. Therefore, I ask you, as two gentlemen, not to play that game on me. I’m playing straight with you. I ain’t pretending to be deserving. I’m undeserving; and I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it; and that’s the truth. Will you take advantage of a man’s nature to do him out of the price of his own daughter what he’s brought up and fed and clothed by the sweat of his brow until she’s growed big enough to be interesting to you two gentlemen? Is five pounds unreasonable? I put it to you; and I leave it to you.

 

WIDOWERS’ HOUSES

SARTORIUS— My young friend: these poor people do not know how to live in proper dwellings: they would wreck them in a week. You doubt me: try it for yourself. You are welcome to replace all the missing bannisters, handrails, cistern lids and dusthole tops at your own expense; and you will find them missing again in less than three days burnt, sir, every stick of them. I do not blame the poor creatures: they need fires, and often have no other way of getting them. But I really cannot spend pound after pound in repairs for them to pull down, when I can barely get them to pay me four and sixpence a week for a room, which is the recognized fair London rent. No, gentlemen: when people are very poor, you cannot help them, no matter how much you may sympathize with them. It does them more harm than good in the long run. I prefer to save my money in order to provide additional houses for the homeless, and to lay by a little for Blanche. [He looks at them. They are silent: Trench unconvinced, but talked down; Cokane humanely perplexed. Sartorius bends his brows; comes forward in his chair as ifgathering himself together for a spring; and addresses himself, with impressive significance, to Trench].  And now, Dr Trench, may I ask what your income is derived from! A mortgage on my property. When I, to use your own words, screw, and bully, and drive these people to pay what they have freely undertaken to pay me, I cannot touch one penny of the money they give me until I have first paid you your 700 out of it. What Lickcheese did for me, I do for you. He and I are alike intermediaries: you are the principal. It is because of the risks I run through the poverty of my tenants that you exact interest from me at the monstrous and exorbitant rate of seven per cent, forcing me to exact the uttermost farthing in my turn from the tenants. And yet, Dr Trench, you have not hesitated to speak contemptuously of me because I have applied my industry and forethought to the management of our property.

 

PYGMALION

DOOLITTLE: It ain't the lecturing I mind. I'll lecture them blue in the face, I will, and not turn a hair. It's making a gentleman of me that I object to. Who asked him to make a gentleman of me? I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Enry Iggins. Now I am worried; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches me for money. It's a fine thing for you, says my solicitor. Is it? says I. You mean it's a good thing for you, I says. When I was a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in the dust cart, he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut of him as quick as he could. Same with the doctors: used to shove me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, and nothing to pay. Now they finds out that I'm not a healthy man and can't live unless they looks after me twice a day. In the house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it. A year ago I hadn't a relative in the world except one or two that wouldn't speak to me. Now I've fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle class morality. You talk of losing Eliza. Don't you be anxious: I bet she's on my doorstep by this: she that could support herself easy by selling flowers if I wasn't respectable. And the next one to touch me will be you, Enry Iggins. I'll have to learn to speak middle class language from you, instead of speaking proper English. That's where you'll come in; and I daresay that's what you done it for.

 

 

MISALLIANCE

HYPATIA.  Oh, lots.  Thats part of the routine of life here:  the very dullest part of it.  The young man who comes a-courting is as familiar an incident in my life as coffee for breakfast.  Of course, hes too much of a gentleman to misbehave himself; and I'm too much of a lady to let him; and hes shy and sheepish; and I'm correct and self-possessed; and at last, when I can bear it no longer, I either frighten him off, or give him a chance of proposing, just to see how he'll do it, and refuse him because he does it in the same silly way as all the rest.  You dont call that an event in one's life, do you? With you it was different.  I should as soon have expected the North Pole to fall in love with me as you.  You know I'm only a linen-draper's daughter when all's said.  I was afraid of you:  you, a great man! a lord! and older than my father.  And then what a situation it was!  Just think of it!  I was engaged to your son; and you knew nothing about it.  He was afraid to tell you:  he brought you down here because he thought if he could throw us together I could get round you because I was such a ripping girl.  We arranged it all:  he and I.  We got Papa and Mamma and Johnny out of the way splendidly; and then Bentley took himself off, and left us--you and me!--to take a walk through the heather and admire the scenery of Hindhead.  You never dreamt that it was all a plan:  that what made me so nice was the way I was playing up to my destiny as the sweet girl that was to make your boy happy.  And then! and then!  [She rises to dance and clap her hands in her glee].

 

PYGMALION

HIGGINS: There! That's all you get out of Eliza. Ah--ah--ow--oo! No use explaining. As a military man you ought to know that. Give her her orders: that's what she wants. Eliza: you are to live here for the next six months, learning how to speak beautifully, like a lady in a florist's shop. If you're good and do whatever you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, and have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and take rides in taxis. If you're naughty and idle you will sleep in the back kitchen among the black beetles, and be walloped by Mrs. Pearce with a broomstick. At the end of six months you shall go to Buckingham Palace in a carriage, beautifully dressed. If the King finds out you're not a lady, you will be taken by the police to the Tower of London, where your head will be cut off as a warning to other presumptuous flower girls. If you are not found out, you shall have a present of seven-and-sixpence to start life with as a lady in a shop. If you refuse this offer you will be a most ungrateful and wicked girl; and the angels will weep for you. (To Pickering) Now are you satisfied, Pickering? (To Mrs. Pearce) Can I put it more plainly and fairly, Mrs. Pearce?

 

PYGMALION

HIGGINS: Oh, that's what's worrying you, is it? (He thrusts his hands into his pockets, and walks about in his usual manner, rattling the contents of his pockets, as if condescending to a trivial subject out of pure kindness). I shouldn't bother about it if I were you. I should imagine you won't have much difficulty in settling yourself, somewhere or other, though I hadn't quite realized that you were going away. (She looks quickly at him: he does not look at her, but examines the dessert stand on the piano and decides that he will eat an apple). You might marry, you know. (He bites a large piece out of the apple, and munches it noisily). You see, Eliza, all men are not confirmed old bachelors like me and the Colonel. Most men are the marrying sort, poor devils!; and you're not bad-looking; it's quite a pleasure to look at you sometimes--not now, of course, because you're crying and looking as ugly as the very devil; but when you're all right and quite yourself, you're what I should call attractive. That is, to the people in the marrying line, you understand. You go to bed and have a good nice rest; and then get up and look at yourself in the glass; and you won't feel so cheap.

 

 

PYGMALION

LIZA: No I don't. That's not the sort of feeling I want from you. And don't you be too sure of yourself or of me. I could have been a bad girl if I'd liked. I've seen more of some things than you, for all your learning. Girls like me can drag gentlemen down to make love to them easy enough. And they wish each other dead the next minute. (much troubled) I want a little kindness. I know I'm a common ignorant girl, and you a book-learned gentleman; but I'm not dirt under your feet. What I done (correcting herself) what I did was not for the dresses and the taxis: I did it because we were pleasant together and I come--came--to care for you; not to want you to make love to me, and not forgetting the difference between us, but more friendly like.

 

PYGMALION

LIZA: Aha! Now I know how to deal with you. What a fool I was not to think of it before! You can't take away the knowledge you gave me. You said I had a finer ear than you. And I can be civil and kind to people, which is more than you can. Aha! That's done you, Henry Higgins, it has. Now I don't care that (snapping her fingers) for your bullying and your big talk. I'll advertize it in the papers that your duchess is only a flower girl that you taught, and that she'll teach anybody to be a duchess just the same in six months for a thousand guineas. Oh, when I think of myself crawling under your feet and being trampled on and called names, when all the time I had only to lift up my finger to be as good as you, I could just kick myself!

 

WIDOWERS’ HOUSES

COKANE— No, my dear boy. No, no. Never. I blush for you—was never so ashamed in my life. You have been taking advantage of that unprotected girl. Her father seems to be a perfect gentleman. I obtained the privilege of his acquaintance; I introduced you; I allowed him to believe that he might leave his daughter in your charge with absolute confidence. And what did I see on our return? What did her father see? Oh, Trench, Trench! No, my dear fellow, no, no. Bad taste, Harry, bad form! She, a perfect lady, a person of the highest breeding, actually in your arms, and you say there was nothing to see! With a waiter there actually ringing a heavy bell to call attention to his presence. [Lecturing him with redoubled severity] Have you no principles, Trench? Have you no religious convictions? Have you no acquaintance with the usages of society? You actually kissed—We not only saw but heard it: the report positively reverberated down the Rhine. Don’t condescend to subterfuge, Trench. You have no delicacy of feeling, Trench—no tact. I never mention it to anyone; but nothing, I am afraid, will ever make a true gentleman of you.

 

WIDOWERS’ HOUSES

LICKCHEESE—Mark my words, gentlemen: he’ll find what a man he’s lost the very first week’s rents the new man’ll bring him. You’ll find the difference yourself, Dr. Trench, if you or your children come into the property. I’ve took money there when no other collector alive would have wrung it out. And this is the thanks I get for it! Why, see here, gentlemen! Look at that bag of money on the table. Hardly a penny of that but there was a hungry child crying for the bread it would have bought. But I got it for him —screwed and worried and bullied it out of them. I— look here, gentlemen: I’m pretty seasoned to the work; but there’s money there that I couldn’t have taken if it hadn’t been for the thought of my own children depending on me for giving him satisfaction. And because I charged him four-and-twenty shillin’ to mend a staircase that three women have been hurt on, and that would have got him prosecuted for manslaughter if it had been let go much longer, he gives me the sack. Wouldn’t listen to a word, though I would have offered to make up the money out of my own pocket aye, and am willing to do it still if you will only put in a word for me. [staring at him, surprised into contemptuous amusement in the midst of his anxiety] Just listen to this! Well, you are an innocent young gentleman. Do you suppose he sacked me because I was too hard? Not a bit on it: it was because I wasn’t hard enough. I never heard him say he was satisfied yet: no, nor he wouldn’t, not if I skinned ‘em alive, I don’t say he’s the worst landlord in London: he couldn’t be worse than some ; but he’s no better than the worst I ever had to do with. And, though I say it, I’m better than the best collector he ever done business with. I’ve screwed more and spent less on his properties than anyone would believe that knows what such properties are. I know my merits, Dr. Trench, and will speak for myself if no one else will.

 

PYGLAMION

LIZA [darkly] My aunt died of influenza: so they said.  But it’s my belief they done the old woman in. Y-e-e-e-es, Lord love you! Why should she die of influenza? She come through diphtheria right enough the year before. I saw her with my own eyes. Fairly blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead; but my father he kept ladling gin down her throat til she came to so sudden that she bit the bowl off the spoon. What call would a woman with that strength in her have to die of influenza? What become of her new straw hat that should have come to me? Somebody pinched it; and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in. … Oh, that’s the new small talk. To do a person in means to kill them.  Them she lived with would have killed her for a hat-pin, let alone a hat. The gin would not have killed her. Not her. Gin was mother’s milk to her. Besides, he’d poured so much down his own throat that he knew the good of it. It never did him no harm what I could see. But then he did not keep it up regular. [Cheerfully] On the burst, as you might say, from time to time. And always more agreeable when he had a drop in. When he was out of work, my mother used to give him fourpence and tell him to go out and not come back until he’d drunk himself cheerful and loving-like. There’s lots of women has to make their husbands drunk to make them fit to live with. [Now quite at her ease] You see, it’s like this. If a man has a bit of a conscience, it always takes him when he’s sober; and then it makes him low-spirited. A drop of booze just takes that off and makes him happy. [To Freddy, who is in convulsions of suppressed laughter] Here! what are you sniggering at?

 

MAJOR BARBARA

BARBARA. That is why I have no class, Dolly: I come straight out of the heart of the whole people. If I were middle-class I should turn my back on my father's business; and we should both live in an artistic drawingroom, with you reading the reviews in one corner, and I in the other at the piano, playing Schumann: both very superior persons, and neither of us a bit of use. Sooner than that, I would sweep out the guncotton shed, or be one of Bodger's barmaids. Do you know what would have happened if you had refused papa's offer?

(CUSINS. I wonder!)

I should have given you up and married the man who accepted it. After all, my dear old mother has more sense than any of you. I felt like her when I saw this place--felt that I must have it--that never, never, never could I let it go; only she thought it was the houses and the kitchen ranges and the linen and china, when it was really all the human souls to be

saved: not weak souls in starved bodies, crying with gratitude or a scrap of bread and treacle, but fullfed, quarrelsome, snobbish, uppish creatures, all standing on their little rights and

dignities, and thinking that my father ought to be greatly obliged to them for making so much money for him--and so he ought. That is where salvation is really wanted. My father shall

never throw it in my teeth again that my converts were bribed with bread. [She is transfigured]. I have got rid of the bribe of bread. I have got rid of the bribe of heaven. Let God's work be

done for its own sake: the work he had to create us to do because it cannot he done by living men and women. When I die, let him be in my debt, not I in his; and let me forgive him as becomes a woman of my rank.

 

CANDIDA

CANDIDA. Never mind that just at present. Now I want you to look  at this other boy here--my boy--spoiled from his cradle. We go  once a fortnight to see his parents. You should come with us,

Eugene, and see the pictures of the hero of that household. James  as a baby! the most wonderful of all babies. James holding his  first school prize, won at the ripe age of eight! James as the

captain of his eleven! James in his first frock coat! James  under all sorts of glorious circumstances! You know how strong he  is (I hope he didn't hurt you)--how clever he is--how happy!  (With deepening gravity.) Ask James's mother and his three  sisters what it cost to save James the trouble of doing anything  but be strong and clever and happy. Ask me what it costs to be  James's mother and three sisters and wife and mother to his  children all in one. Ask Prossy and Maria how troublesome the  house is even when we have no visitors to help us to slice the

onions. Ask the tradesmen who want to worry James and spoil his  beautiful sermons who it is that puts them off. When there is  money to give, he gives it: when there is money to refuse, I  refuse it. I build a castle of comfort and indulgence and love  for him, and stand sentinel always to keep little vulgar cares  out. I make him master here, though he does not know it, and  could not tell you a moment ago how it came to be so. (With sweet  irony.) And when he thought I might go away with you, his only  anxiety was what should become of me! And to tempt me to stay he  offered me (leaning forward to stroke his hair caressingly at  each phrase) his strength for my defence, his industry for my  livelihood, his position for my dignity, his-- (Relenting.) Ah, I

am mixing up your beautiful sentences and spoiling them, am I  not, darling? (She lays her cheek fondly against his.)

 

HEARTBREAK HOUSE

CAPTAIN SHOTOVER. A man's interest in the world is only the overflow from his interest in himself. When you are a child your vessel is not yet full; so you care for nothing but your own affairs. When you grow up, your vessel overflows; and you are a politician, a philosopher, or an explorer and adventurer. In old age the vessel dries up: there is no overflow: you are a child again. I can give you the memories of my ancient wisdom: mere scraps and leavings; but I no longer really care for anything but my own little wants and hobbies. I sit here working out my old ideas as a means of destroying my fellow-creatures. I see my daughters and their men living foolish lives of romance and sentiment and snobbery. I see you, the younger generation, turning from their romance and sentiment and snobbery to money and comfort and hard common sense. I was ten times happier on the bridge in the typhoon, or frozen into Arctic ice for months in darkness, than you or they have ever been. You are looking for a rich husband. At your age I looked for hardship, danger, horror, and death, that I might feel the life in me more intensely. I did not let the fear of death govern my life; and my reward was, I had my life. You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life; and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.

 

SAINT JOAN

CAUCHON.  You mistake me, my lord.  I have no sympathy with her political presumptions.  But as a priest I have gained a knowledge of the minds of the common people; and there you will find yet another most dangerous idea.  I can express it only by such phrases as France for the French, England for the English, Italy for the Italians, Spain for the Spanish, and so forth.  It is sometimes so narrow and bitter in country folk that it surprises me that this country girl can rise above the idea of her village for its villagers.  But she can.  She does.  When she threatens to drive the English from the soil of France she is undoubtedly thinking of the whole extent of country in which French is spoken.  To her the French-speaking people are what the Holy Scriptures describe as a nation.  Call this side of her heresy Nationalism if you will: I can find you no better name for it.  I can only tell you that it is essentially anti-Catholic and anti-Christian; for the Catholic Church knows only one realm, and that is the realm of Christ's kingdom.  Divide that kingdom into nations, and you dethrone Christ.  Dethrone Christ, and who will stand between our throats and the sword?  The world will perish in a welter of war.

 

SAINT JOAN

DUNOIS.  I think that God was on your side; for I have not forgotten how the wind changed, and how our hearts changed when youcame; and by my faith I shall never deny that it was in your sign that we conquered.  But I tell you as a soldier that God is no man's daily drudge, and no maid's either.  If you are worthy of it He will sometimes snatch you out of the jaws of death and set you on your feet again; but that is all: once on your feet you must fight with all your might and all your craft.  For He has to be fair to your enemy too: dont forget that.  Well, He set us on our feet through you at Orleans; and the glory of it has carried us through a few good battles here to the coronation.  But if we presume on it further, and trust to God to do the work we should do ourselves, we shall be defeated; and serve us right!

(JOAN.  But--)

Sh! I have not finished.  Do not think, any of you, that these victories of ours were won without generalship.  King Charles: you have said no word in your proclamations of my part in this campaign; and I make no complaint of that; for the people will run after The Maid and her miracles and not after the Bastard's hard work finding troops for her and feeding them.  But I know exactly how much God did for us through The Maid, and how much He left me to do by my own wits; and I tell you that your little hour of miracles is over, and that from this time on he who plays the war game best will win--if the luck is on his side.

 

MISALLIANCE

GUNNER.  [reassuring her gravely]  Dont you be alarmed, maam.  I know what is due to you as a lady and to myself as a gentleman.  I regard you with respect and affection.  If you had been my mother, as you ought to have been, I should have had more chance.  But you shall have no cause to be ashamed of me.  The strength of a chain is no greater than its weakest link; but the greatness of a poet is the greatness of his greatest moment.  Shakespear used to get drunk.

Frederick the Great ran away from a battle.  But it was what they could rise to, not what they could sink to, that made them great. They werent good always; but they were good on their day.  Well, on my day--on my day, mind you--I'm good for something too.  I know that Ive made a silly exhibition of myself here.  I know I didnt rise to the occasion.  I know that if youd been my mother, youd have been ashamed of me.  I lost my presence of mind:  I was a contemptible coward.  But

[slapping himself on the chest] I'm not the man I was then.  This is my day.  Ive seen the tenth possessor of a foolish face carried out kicking and screaming by a woman.  [To Percival]  You crowed pretty big over me.  You hypnotized me.  But when you were put through the

fire yourself, you were found wanting.  I tell you straight I don’t give a damn for you.

 

 

SAINT JOAN

JOAN.  Ah! if, if, if, if!  If ifs and ans were pots and pans there'd be no need of tinkers.  [Rising impetuously]  I tell you, Bastard, your art of war is no use, because your knights are no good for real fighting.  War is only a game to them, like tennis and all their other games: they make rules as to what is fair and what is not fair, and heap armor on themselves and on their poor horses to keep out the arrows; and when they fall they cant get up, and have to wait for their squires to come and lift them to arrange about the ransom with the man that has poked them off their horse.

Cant you see that all the like of that is gone by and done with? What use is armor against gunpowder?  And if it was, do you thinkmen that are fighting for France and for God will stop to bargain about ransoms, as half your knights live by doing?  No: they will fight to win; and they will give up their lives out of their own hand into the hand of God when they go into battle, as I do. Common folks understand this.  They cannot afford armor and cannot pay ransoms; but they followed me half naked into the moat and up the ladder and over the wall.  With them it is my life or thine, and God defend the right!  You may shake your head, Jack; and Bluebeard may twirl his billygoat's beard and cock his nose at me; but remember the day your knights and captains refused to follow me to attack the English at Orleans!  You locked the gates to keep me in; and it was the townsfolk and the common people that followed me, and forced the gate, and shewed you the way to fight in earnest.

 

SAINT JOAN

JOAN.   Where would you all have been now if I had heeded that sort of truth?  There is no help, no counsel, in any of you.  Yes: I am alone on earth: I have always been alone.  My father told my

brothers to drown me if I would not stay to mind his sheep while France was bleeding to death: France might perish if only our lambs were safe.  I thought France would have friends at the court of the king of France; and I find only wolves fighting for pieces of her poor torn body.  I thought God would have friends everywhere, because He is the friend of everyone; and in my innocence I believed that you who now cast me out would be like strong towers to keep harm from me.  But I am wiser now; and nobody is any the worse for being wiser.  Do not think you can frighten me by telling me that I am alone.  France is alone; and God is alone; and what is my loneliness before the loneliness of my country and my God?  I see now that the loneliness of God is His strength what would He be if He listened to your jealous little counsels?  Well, my loneliness shall be my strength too; it is better to be alone with God; His friendship will not fail me, nor His counsel, nor His love.  In His strength I will dare, and dare, and dare, until I die.  I will go out now to the common people, and let the love in their eyes comfort me for the hate in yours.  You will all be glad to see me burnt; but if I go through the fire I shall go through it to their hearts for ever and ever.  And so, God be with me!

 

SAINT JOAN

JOAN.   Yes: they told me you were fools [the word gives great offence], and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust to your charity.  You promised me my life; but you lied [indignant

exclamations].  You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead.  It is not the bread and water I fear: I can live on bread: when have I asked for more?  It is no hardship to drink water if

the water be clean.  Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no affliction.  But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight of the fields and flowers; to chain my feet so that I can never

again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills; to make me breathe foul damp darkness, and keep from me everything that brings me back to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness tempt me to hate Him: all this is worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times.  I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind.  But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the devil, and that mine is of God.

 

 

 

HEARTBREAK HOUSE

LADY UTTERWORD   [sitting down with a flounce on the sofa]. I know what you must feel. Oh, this house, this house! I come back to it after twenty-three years; and it is just the same: the luggage lying on the steps, the servants spoilt and impossible, nobody at home to receive anybody, no regular meals, nobody ever hungry because they are always gnawing bread and butter or munching apples, and, what is worse, the same disorder in ideas, in talk, in feeling. When I was a child I was used to it: I had never known anything better, though I was unhappy, and longed all the time--oh, how I longed!--to be respectable, to be a lady, to live as others did, not to have to think of everything for myself. I married at nineteen to escape from it. My husband is Sir Hastings Utterword, who has been governor of all the crown colonies in succession. I have always been the mistress of Government House. I have been so happy: I had forgotten that people could live like this. I wanted to see my father, my sister, my nephews and nieces (one ought to, you know), and I was looking forward to it. And now the state of the house! the way I'm received! the casual impudence of that woman Guinness, our old nurse! really Hesione might at least have been here: some preparation might have been made for me. You must excuse my going on in this way; but I am really very much hurt and annoyed and disillusioned: and if I had realized it was t be like this, I wouldn't have come. I have a great mind to go away without another word [she is on the point of weeping].

 

MISALLIANCE

LINA.   But your Johnny!  Oh, your Johnny! with his marriage.  He will do the straight thing by me.  He will give me a home, a position.  He tells me I must know that my present position is not one for a nice woman.  This to me, Lina Szczepanowska!  I am an honest woman:  I earn my living.  I am a free woman:  I live in my own house.  I am a woman of the world:  I have thousands of friends: every night crowds of people applaud me, delight in me, buy my picture, pay hard-earned money to see me.  I am strong:  I am skilful: I am brave:  I am independent:  I am unbought:  I am all that a woman ought to be; and in my family there has not been a single drunkard for four generations.  And this Englishman! this linendraper! he dares to ask me to come and live with him in this rrrrrrrabbit hutch, and take my bread from his hand, and ask him for pocket money, and wear soft clothes, and be his woman! his wife!  Sooner than that, I would stoop to the lowest depths of my profession.  I would stuff lions with food and pretend to tame them.  I would deceive honest people's eyes with conjuring tricks instead of real feats of strength and skill.  I would be a clown and set bad examples of conduct to little children.  I would sink yet lower and be an actress or an opera singer, imperiling my soul by the wicked lie of pretending to be somebody else.  All this I would do sooner than take my bread from the hand of a man and make him the master of my body and soul.  And so you may tell your Johnny to buy an Englishwoman:  he shall not buy Lina Szczepanowska; and I will not stay in the house where such dishonor is offered me.  Adieu. [She turns precipitately to go, but is faced in the pavilion doorway by Johnny, who comes in slowly, his hands in his pockets, meditating deeply].

 

ANDROCLES AND THE LION

LAVINIA.   No. I couldn't. That is the strange thing, Captain, that a little pinch of incense should make all that difference. Religion is such a great thing that when I meet really religious people we are friends at once, no matter what name we give to the divine will that made us and moves us. Oh, do you think that I, a woman, would quarrel with you for sacrificing to a woman god like Diana, if Diana meant to you what Christ means to me? No: we should kneel side by side before her altar like two children. But when men who believe neither in my god nor in their own--men who do not know the meaning of the word religion--when these men drag me to the foot of an iron statue that has become the symbol of the terror and darkness through which they walk, of their cruelty and greed, of their hatred of God and their oppression of man-- when they ask me to pledge my soul before the people that this hideous idol is God, and that all this wickedness and falsehood is divine truth, I cannot do it, not if they could put a thousand cruel deaths on me. I tell you, it is physically impossible. Listen, Captain: did you ever try to catch a mouse in your hand? Once there was a dear little mouse that used to come out and play on my table as I was reading. I wanted to take him in my hand and caress him; and sometimes he got among my books so that he could not escape me when I stretched out my hand. And I did stretch out my hand; but it always came back in spite of me. I was not afraid of him in my heart; but my hand refused: it is not in the nature of my hand to touch a mouse. Well, Captain, if I took a pinch of incense in my hand and stretched it out over the altar fire, my hand would come back. My body would be true to my faith even if you could corrupt my mind. And all the time I should believe more in Diana than my persecutors have ever believed in anything. Can you understand that?

 

MISALLIANCE

LORD SUMMERHAYS.    Smash it.  Dont hesitate:  it's an ugly thing. Smash it:  hard.  _[Johnny, with a stifled yell, dashes it in pieces, and then sits down and mops his brow]._  Feel better now?  _[Johnny nods]._  I know only one person alive who could drive me to the point of having either to break china or commit murder; and that person is my son Bentley.  Was it he?  _[Johnny nods again, not yet able to speak]._  As the car stopped I heard a yell which is only too familiar to me.  It generally means that some infuriated person is trying to thrash Bentley.  Nobody has ever succeeded, though almost everybody has tried.  _[He seats himself comfortably close to the writing table, and sets to work to collect the fragments of the punchbowl in the wastepaper basket whilst Johnny, with diminishing difficulty, collects himself]._  Bentley is a problem which I confess I have never been able to solve.  He was born to be a great success at the age of fifty. Most Englishmen of his class seem to be born to be great successes at the age of twenty-four at most.  The domestic problem for me is how to endure Bentley until he is fifty.  The problem for the nation is how to get itsel governed by men whose growth is arrested when they are little more than college lads.  Bentley doesnt really mean to be offensive.  You can always make him cry by telling him you dont like him.  Only, he cries so loud that the experiment should be made in the open air:  in the middle of Salisbury Plain if possible.  He has a hard and penetrating intellect and a remarkable power of looking facts in the face; but unfortunately, being very young, he has no idea of how very little of that sort of thing most of us can stand.  On the other hand, he is frightfully sensitive and even affectionate; so that he probably gets as much as he gives in the way of hurt feelings.

Youll excuse me rambling on like this about my son.

 

HEARTBREAK HOUSE

MANGAN.   Of course you don't understand: what do you know about business? You just listen and learn. Your father's business was a new business; and I don't start new businesses: I let other fellows start them. They put all their money and their friends' money into starting them. They wear out their souls and bodies trying to make a success of them. They're what you call enthusiasts. But the first dead lift of the thing is too much for them; and they haven't enough financial experience. In a year or so they have either to let the whole show go bust, or sell out to a new lot of fellows for a few deferred ordinary shares: that is, if they're lucky enough to get anything at all. As likely as not the very same thing happens to the new lot. They put in more money and a couple of years' more work; and then perhaps they have to sell out to a third lot. If it's really a big thing the third lot will have to sell out too, and leave their work and their money behind them. And that's where the real business man comes in: where I come in. But I'm cleverer than some: I don't mind dropping a little money to start the process. I took your father's measure. I saw that he had a sound idea, and that he would work himself silly for it if he got the chance. I saw that he was a child in business, and was dead certain to outrun his expenses and be in too great a hurry to wait for his market. I knew that the surest way to ruin a man who doesn't know how to handle money is to give him some. I explained my idea to some friends in the city, and they found the money; for I take no risks in ideas, even when they're my own. Your father and the friends that ventured their money with him were no more to me than a heap of squeezed lemons. You've been wasting your gratitude: my kind heart is all rot. I'm sick of it. When I see your father beaming at me with his moist, grateful eyes, regularly wallowing in gratitude, I sometimes feel I must tell him the truth or burst. What stops me is that I know he wouldn't believe me. He'd think it was my modesty, as you did just now. He'd think anything rather than the truth, which is that he's a blamed fool, and I am a man that knows how to take care of himself. [He throws himself back into the big chair with large self approval]. Now what do you think of me, Miss Ellie?

 

MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION

MRS WARREN.  I mean that youre throwing away all your chances for nothing.  You think that people are what they pretend to be: that the way you were taught at school and college to think right and proper is the way things really are.  But it's not: it's all only a pretence, to keep the cowardly slavish common run of people quiet.  Do you want to find that out, like other women, at forty, when youve thrown yourself away and lost your chances; or wont you take it in good time now from your own mother, that loves you and swears to you that it's truth: gospel truth?  [Urgently] Vivie: the big people, the clever people, the managing people, all know it.  They do as I do, and think what I think.  I know plenty of them.  I know them to speak to, to introduce you to, to make friends of for you.  I dont mean anything wrong: thats what you dont understand: your head is full of ignorant ideas about me.  What do the people that taught you know about life or about people like me?  When did they ever meet me, or speak to me, or let anyone tell them about me? the fools!  Would they ever have done anything for you if I hadnt paid them?  Havnt I told you that I want you to be respectable?  Havnt I brought you up to be respectable?  And how can you keep it up without my money and my influence and Lizzie's friends?  Cant you see that youre cutting your own throat as well as breaking my heart in turning your back on me?
 

MRS WARREN’S PROFESSION

MRS WARREN.  Well, of course, dearie, it's only good manners to be ashamed of it: it's expected from a woman.  Women have to pretend to feel a great deal that they dont feel.  Liz used to be angry with me for plumping out the truth about it.  She used to say that when every woman could learn enough from what was going on in the world before her eyes, there was no need to talk about it to her.  But then Liz was such a perfect lady!  She had the true instinct of it; while I was always a bit of a vulgarian.  I used to be so pleased when you sent me your photos to see that  you were growing up like Liz: youve just her ladylike, determined way.  But I cant stand saying one thing when everyone knows I mean another.  Whats the use in such hypocrisy?  If people arrange the world that way for women, theres no good pretending it's arranged the other way.  No: I never was a bit ashamed really.  I consider I had a right to be proud of how we managed everything so respectably, and never had a word against us, and how the girls were so well taken care of.  Some of them did very well: one of them married an ambassador.  But of course now I darent talk about such things: whatever would they think of us!  [She yawns].  Oh dear!  I do believe I'm getting sleepy after all.  [She stretches herself lazily, thoroughly relieved by her explosion, and placidly ready for her night's rest].

 

MISALLIANCE

PERCIVAL.   Well, but does that matter, do you think?  Patsy fascinates me, no doubt.  I apparently fascinate Patsy.  But, believe me, all that is not worth considering.  One of my three fathers (the priest) has married hundreds of couples:  couples selected by one another, couples selected by the parents, couples forced to marry one another by circumstances of one kind or another; and he assures me that if marriages were made by putting all the men's names into one sack and the women's names into another, and having them taken out by a blindfolded child like lottery numbers, there would be just as high a percentage of happy marriages as we have here in England.  He said Cupid was nothing but the blindfolded child:  pretty idea that, I think!  I shall have as good a chance with Patsy as with anyone else. Mind:  I'm not bigoted about it.  I'm not a doctrinaire:  not the slave of a theory.  You and Lord Summerhays are experienced married men.  If you can tell me of any trustworthy method of selecting a wife, I shall be happy to make use of it.  I await your suggestions. [He looks with polite attention to Lord Summerhays, who, having nothing to say avoids his eye.  He looks to Tarleton, who purses his lips glumly and rattles his money in his pockets without a word]. Apparently neither of you has anything to suggest.  Then Patsy will do as well as another, provided the money is forthcoming.

 

 

Saint Joan

ROBERT. [genially]  It isnt service, Polly.  A friendly talk.  Sit down.  [He hooks the stool from under the table with his instep]. Poulengey, relaxing, comes into the room: places the stool between the table and the window: and sits down ruminatively.  Robert, half sitting on the end of the table, begins the friendly talk. Now listen to me, Polly.  I must talk to you like a father. [Poulengey looks up at him gravely for a moment, but says nothing.] It's about this girl you are interested in.  Now, I have seen her.  I have talked to her.  First, she's mad.  That doesnt

matter.  Second, she's not a farm wench.  She's a bourgeoise.  That matters a good deal.  I know her class exactly.  Her father came here last year to represent his village in a lawsuit: he is one of their notables.  A farmer.  Not a gentleman farmer: he makes money by it, and lives by it.  Still, not a laborer.  Not a mechanic.  He might have a cousin a lawyer, or in the Church.  People of this sort may be of no account socially; but they can give a lot of bother to the authorities.  That is to say, to me.  Now no doubt it seems to you a very simple thing to take this girl away, humbugging her into the belief that you are taking her to the Dauphin.  But if you get her into trouble, you may get me into no end of a mess, as I am her father's lord, and responsible for her protection.  So friends or no friends, Polly, hands off her.

 

MAN AND SUPERMAN

THE DEVIL.   I prefer to be my own master and not the tool of any blundering universal force. I know that beauty is good to look at; that music is good to hear; that love is good to feel; and that they are all good to think about and talk about. I know that to be well exercised in these sensations, emotions, and studies is to be a refined and cultivated being. Whatever they may say of me in churches on earth, I know that it is universally admitted in good society that the prince of Darkness is a gentleman; and that is enough for me. As to your Life Force, which you think irresistible, it is the most resistible thing in the world for a person of any character.  But if you are naturally vulgar and credulous, as all reformers are, it will thrust you first into religion, where you will sprinkle water on babies to save their souls from me; then it will drive you from religion into science, where you will snatch the babies from the water sprinkling and inoculate them with disease to save them from catching it accidentally; then you will take to politics, where you will become the catspaw of corrupt functionaries and the henchman of ambitious humbugs; and the end will be despair and decrepitude, broken nerve and shattered hopes, vain regrets for that worst and silliest of wastes and sacrifices, the waste and sacrifice of the power of enjoyment:  in a word, the punishment of the fool who pursues the better before he has secured the good.  Fare you well, Don Juan. I shall often think of our interesting chats about things in general. I wish you every happiness: Heaven, as I said before, suits some people. But if you should change your mind, do not forget that the gates are always open here to the repentant prodigal. If you feel at any time that warmth of heart, sincere unforced affection, innocent enjoyment, and warm, breathing, palpitating reality--
 

 

Top

END