Piccadilly Circus, London. Flower sellers (women in shawls with baskets) seated round the base of the Eros monument. Among them Liza Doolittle, the only young one. The rest are elderly or middle aged. All, including Liza, are too poorly clad and dirty to be attractive. Liza is a pathetic draggle tailed creature. She offers bunches of violets to the passers-by, like the rest; but there is no business, as the sky is darkening, and people are looking up anxiously at the clouds, loosening the bands of their umbrellas, and hurrying on. The flower sellers are still offering their wares; but no words can be distinguished through the traffic noises.
Liza and her next neighbor, an elderly woman. The audience now has a better look at Liza; but her good looks are not yet discoverable: she is dirty and her ill combed hair is dirty. Her shawl and skirt are old and ugly. Her boots are deplorable, her hat, an old black straw with a band of violets, indescribable. The older woman, though also dirty with London grime, and no better dressed, is slightly more disciplined by experience. She is busy packing her basket and covering it. Liza is listless, discouraged, and miserable.
OLD WOMAN. Now then, Liza: wake up. It’s going to rain something chronic. You going to sit there and get soaked?
LIZA. O Gawd, I avnt sold a bloody thing since five o’clock, I avnt. Whats the good of doing anything in this weather?
OLD WOMAN. Come now: talking like that wont elp. Better get home dry than wet.
The old woman takes up her basket and hurries off.
Thunder, much nearer, after a flash.
Liza looks up, and hastily stirs herself to pack her basket. She finishes by putting her hat into the basket and drawing her shawl over her head. Then she rushes off.
View of Piccadilly Circus again; but it is now raining with the first heavy drops of a summer shower.
People putting up umbrellas, turning up the collars of their coats, and beginning to run. Also hailing taxis and scrambling into them.
Liza, with her basket under arm, makes a rush for it and vanishes.
Another street scene continuing the business of people caught in a heavy shower.
Freddy, a good looking young gentleman, aged 20, is on the kerb, hailing taxi after taxi; but they are all engaged.
FREDDY. Tax! [The cab does not stop]. Tax! [Another failure]. Tax! [Another]. Oh, damn! [He rushes off].
Liza comes running with her shawl over her head and her basket under her arm. She disappears in Freddy’s footsteps.
Under the portico of the church of St. Paul in Covent Garden, London. The portico is on the sidewalk, level with it and sheltering it from the rain. It’s great columns divide the view of it into sections.
General view of it from the market, with the crowd of people sheltering from heavy rain. Mrs. Hill, her daughter, Higgins and all the rest are in position; but they are not distinguishable in this shot.
The church clock chimes the first quarter. The clangor must be fairly loud but not unmusical.
Under the portico looking out as from the church wall through the columns to Covent Garden market. Thus all the shelterers have their backs to the audience except Higgins, who stands in the middle with his back to them listening and making notes, cocking his ears right and left alternately as he listens. There is a babel of conversation but nothing distinguishable.
The figure of Higgins should be on the scale of a close-up. The row of backs behind him should be on that of a longer shot, so as to give him comparative magnitude.
Higgins is not youthful. He is a mature, well-built, impressive, authoritative man of 40 or thereabouts, with a frock coat, a broadbrimmed hat, and an Inverness cape.
It is important that in age and everything else he should be in strong contrast to Freddy, who is 20, slim, goodlooking, and very youthful.
A section of the crowded portico viewed from the market. Close-up to the two central pillars. The space between them must be enough to manoeuvre four principals in front of the sheltering crowd.
An elderly lady (Mrs Eynsford Hill) and her daughter (Clara) are in front glumly watching the rain. The mother is slight, refined and well-bred. The daughter, young and blooming, is more thickly built and comparatively bumptious. Their dress is in good taste but not new and not expensive.
THE DAUGHTER [in the space between the central pillars, close to the one on her left] I'm getting chilled to the bone. What can Freddy be doing all this time?
THE MOTHER [On her daughter's right] Not so long. But he ought to have got us a cab by this.
Freddy rushes in out of the rain from the Southampton Street side, and comes between them closing a dripping umbrella. He is wet around the ankles.
THE DAUGHTER. Well, havnt you got a cab?
FREDDY. Theres not one to be had for love or money.
THE MOTHER. Oh, Freddy, there must be one. You cant have tried.
THE DAUGHTER. It's too tiresome. Do you expect us to go and get one ourselves?
THE MOTHER. You really are very helpless, Freddy. Go again; and dont come back until you have found a cab.
FREDDY. Oh, very well: I'll go, I'll go. [He opens his umbrella and dashes off, but comes into collision with Liza, who is hurrying in for shelter, knocking her basket out of her hands. A blinding flash of lightning, followed instantly by a rattling peal of thunder, orchestrates the incident].
LIZA. Nah then, Freddy: look wh' y' gowin, deah.
FREDDY. Sorry [he rushes off].
LIZA [picking up her scattered flowers and replacing them in the basket] Theres menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right].
THE MOTHER. How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?
LIZA. Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]
THE DAUGHTER. Do nothing of the sort, mother. The idea!
THE MOTHER. Please allow me, Clara. Have you any pennies?
THE DAUGHTER. No. I've nothing smaller than sixpence.
LIZA [hopefully] I can give you change for a tanner, kind lady.
THE MOTHER [to Clara] Give it to me. [Clara parts reluctantly]. Now [to the girl] This is for your flowers.
LIZA. Thank you kindly, lady.
THE DAUGHTER. Make her give you the change. These things are only a penny a bunch.
THE MOTHER. Do hold your tongue, Clara. [To the girl]. You can keep the change.
LIZA. Oh, thank you, lady.
THE MOTHER. Now tell me how you know that young gentleman's name.
LIZA. I didnt.
THE MOTHER. I heard you call him by it. Dont try to deceive me.
LIZA [protesting] Whos trying to deceive you? I called him Freddy or Charlie same as you might yourself if you was talking to a stranger and wished to be pleasant. [She sits down beside her basket].
THE DAUGHTER. Sixpence thrown away! Really, mamma, you might have spared Freddy t h a t. [She retreats in disgust behind the pillar].
An elderly gentleman of the amiable military type rushes into shelter, and closes a dripping umbrella. He is in the same plight as Freddy, very wet about the ankles. He is in evening dress, with a light overcoat. He takes the place left vacant by the daughter.
THE GENTLEMAN. Phew! [He goes to the plinth beside Liza, puts up his foot on it; and stoops to turn down his trouser ends].
THE MOTHER. Oh dear! [She retires sadly and joins her daughter].
LIZA [taking advantage of the military gentleman's proximity to establish friendly relations with him]. Cheer up, Captain; and buy a flower off a poor girl.
THE GENTLEMAN. I'm sorry, I havnt any change.
LIZA. I can give you change, Captain.
THE GENTLEMEN. For a sovereign? Ive nothing less.
LIZA. Garn! Oh do buy a flower off me, Captain. I can change half-a-crown. Take this for tuppence.
THE GENTLEMAN. Now dont be troublesome: theres a good girl. [Trying his pockets] I really havnt any change -- Stop: heres three hapence, if thats any use to you [he retreats to the other pillar].
LIZA [disappointed, but thinking three halfpence better than nothing] Thank you, sir.
THE BYSTANDER [to the girl] You be careful: give him a flower for it. Theres a bloke here behind taking down every blessed word youre saying. [All turn to the man who is taking notes].
Under the portico looking out through the columns to Covent Garden market, the crowd turning round to look at Higgins.
The whole width of the portico viewed from the market. The crowd with Liza making a frantic scene in front of them. Pickering in the foreground watching the row. Single figures or pairs detach themselves momentarily to speak to Liza or to one another. Finally Higgins pushes through to her.
LIZA [springing up terrified] I aint done nothing wrong by speaking to the gentleman. Ive a right to sell flowers if I keep off the kerb. [Hysterically] I'm a respectable girl: so help me, I never spoke to him except to ask him to buy a flower off me.
General hubbub, mostly sympathetic to the flower girl, but deprecating her excessive sensibility. Cries of Dont start hollerin. Whos hurting you? Nobody's going to touch you. Whats the good of fussing? Steady on. Easy, easy, etc., come from the elderly staid spectators, who pat her comfortingly. Less patient ones bid her shut her head, or ask her roughly what is wrong with her. A remoter group, not knowing what the matter is, crowd in and increase the noise with question and answer: Whats the row? What she do? Where is he? A tec taking her down. What! him? Yes: him over there: Took money off the gentleman, etc.
LIZA [breaking through them to the gentleman, crying wildly] Oh, sir, dont let him charge me. You dunno what it means to me. Theyll take away my character and drive me on the streets for speaking to gentlemen. They--
THE NOTE TAKER [coming forward on her right, the rest crowding after him] There! there! there! there! whos hurting you, you silly girl? What do you take me for?
THE BYSTANDER. It's all right: hes a gentleman: look at his boots.
Close-up between the two central pillars, viewed from the market.
LIZA [still hysterical] I take my Bible oath I never said a word--
THE NOTE TAKER [overbearing but good-humored] Oh, shut up, shut up. Do I look like a policeman?
LIZA [far from reassured] Then what did you take down my words for? How do I know whether you took me down right? You just shew me what youve wrote about me. [The note taker opens his book and holds it steadily under her nose, though the pressure of the mob trying to read it over his shoulders would upset a weaker man]. Whats that? That aint proper writing. I cant read that.
THE NOTE TAKER. I can. [Reads, reproducing her pronunciation exactly] "Cheer ap, Keptin; n' baw ya flahr orf a pore gel."
LIZA [much distressed] It's because I called him Captain. I meant no harm. [To the gentleman] Oh, sir, dont let him lay a charge agen me for a word like that. You--
THE GENTLEMAN. Charge! I make no charge. [To the note taker] Really, sir, if you are a detective, you need not begin protecting me against molestation by young women until I ask you. Anybody could see that the girl meant no harm.
THE BYSTANDERS GENERALLY [demonstrating against police espionage] Course they could. What business is it of yours? You mind your own affairs. He wants promotion, he does. Taking down people's words! Girl never said a word to him. What harm if she did? Nice thing a girl cant shelter from the rain without being insulted, etc., etc., etc. [She is conducted by the more sympathetic demonstrators back to her plinth, where she resumes her seat and struggles with her emotion.]
THE BYSTANDER. He aint a tec. Hes a blooming busybody: thats what he is. I tell you, look at his be-oots.
THE NOTE TAKER [turning on him genially] And how are all your people down at Selsey?
THE BYSTANDER [suspiciously] Who told you my people come from Selsey?
THE NOTE TAKER. Never you mind. They did. [To the girl] How do you come to be up so far east? You were born in Lisson Grove.
LIZA [appalled] Oh, what harm is there in my leaving Lisson Grove? It wasnt fit for a pig to live in; and I had to pay four-and-six a week. [In tears] Oh, boo—hoo—oo—
THE NOTE TAKER. Live where you like; but stop that noise.
THE GENTLEMAN [to the girl] Come, come! he cant touch you: you have a right to live where you please.
LIZA [subsiding into a brooding melancholy over her basket, and talking very low-spiritedly to herself] I'm a good girl, I am.
THE SARCASTIC BYSTANDER [not attending to her] Do you know where I come from?
THE NOTE TAKER [promptly] Hoxton.
Titterings. Popular interest in the note taker's performance increases.
THE SARCASTIC ONE [amazed] Well, who said I didnt? Bly me! You know everything, you do.
LIZA [still nursing her sense of injury] Aint no call to meddle with me, he aint.
THE BYSTANDER [to her] Of course he aint. Dont you stand it from him. [To the note taker] See here: what call have you to know about people what never offered to meddle with you?
LIZA. Let him say what he likes. I dont want to have no truck with him.
THE BYSTANDER. You take us for dirt under your feet, dont you? Catch you taking liberties with a gentleman!
THE SARCASTIC BYSTANDER. [off the gentleman] Yes: tell him where he come from if you want to go fortune-telling.
THE NOTE TAKER. Cheltenham, Harrow, Cambridge, and India.
THE GENTLEMAN. Quite right.
Great laughter. Reaction in the note taker's favor. Exclamations of He knows all about it. Told him proper. Hear him tell the toff where he come from? etc.
LIZA [resenting the reaction] Hes no gentleman, he aint, to interfere with a poor girl.
Long shot shewing the whole portico crowded with shelterers. They all move off except Liza, Higgins, and Pickering, who are left alone between two of the pillars as before. The sky brightens during the exodus and London is again bathed in sunshine.
Back to close-up between the two central pillars, viewed from the market.
THE DAUGHTER [out of patience, pushing her way rudely to the front and displacing the gentleman, who politely retires to the other side of the pillar] What on earth is Freddy doing? I shall get pneumonia if I stay in this draught any longer.
THE NOTE TAKER [to himself, hastily making a note of her pronunciation of "monia" as "mownia"] Earls Court.
THE DAUGHTER [violently] Will you please keep your impertinent remarks to yourself?
THE NOTE TAKER. Did I say that out loud? I didnt mean to. I beg your pardon. Your mother's Epsom, unmistakably.
THE MOTHER [advancing between her daughter and the note taker] How very curious! I was brought up in Largelady Park, near Epsom.
THE NOTE TAKER [To the daughter] You want a cab, do you?
THE DAUGHTER. Dont dare speak to me.
THE MOTHER. Oh, please, please Clara. [Her daughter repudiates her with an angry shrug and retires haughtily.] We should be so grateful to you, sir, if you found us a cab. [The note taker produces a whistle]. Oh, thank you. [She joins her daughter].
The note taker blows a piercing blast.
THE SARCASTIC BYSTANDER. There! I knowed he was a plain-clothes copper.
THE BYSTANDER. That aint a police whistle: thats a sporting whistle.
LIZA [still preoccupied with her wounded feelings] Hes no right to take away my character. My character is the same to me as any lady's.
THE NOTE TAKER. I dont know whether youve noticed it; but the rain stopped about two minutes ago.
THE BYSTANDER. So it has. Why didnt you say so before? and us losing our time listening to your silliness. [He walks off towards the Strand].
THE MOTHER. It's quite fine now, Clara. We can walk to a motor bus. Come. [She gathers her skirts above her ankles and hurries off towards the Strand].
THE DAUGHTER. But the cab-- [her mother is out of hearing]. Oh, how tiresome! [She follows angrily].
All the rest have gone except the note taker, the gentleman, and the flower girl, who sits arranging her basket, and still pitying herself in murmurs.
LIZA. Poor girl! Hard enough for her to live without being worrited and chivied.
THE GENTLEMAN [returning to his former place on the note taker's left] How do you do it, if I may ask?
THE NOTE TAKER. Simply phonetics. The science of speech. Thats my profession: also my hobby. Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby! Y o u can spot an Irishman or a Yorkshireman by his brogue. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.
LIZA. Ought to be ashamed of himself, unmanly coward!
THE GENTLEMAN. But is there a living in that?
THE NOTE TAKER. Oh yes. Quite a fat one. This is an age of upstarts who have to be taught to speak like ladies and gentlemen. Now I can teach them--
LIZA. Let him mind his own business and leave a poor girl--
THE NOTE TAKER [explosively] Woman: cease this detestable boohooing instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship.
LIZA [with feeble defiance] Ive a right to be here if I like, same as you.
THE NOTE TAKER. A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere -- no right to live. Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespear and Milton and The Bible; and dont sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.
Close-up of Liza.
LIZA [quite overwhelmed, and looking up at him in mingled wonder and deprecation without daring to raise her head] Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo!
THE NOTE TAKER [whipping out his book] Heavens! what a sound! [He writes; then holds out the book and reads, reproducing her vowels exactly] Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo!
LIZA [tickled by the performance, and laughing in spite of herself] Garn!
THE NOTE TAKER. You hear this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party. I could even get her a place as lady's maid or shop assistant, which requires better English.
LIZA. What’s that you say?
THE NOTE TAKER [turning crushingly on her] Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf, you disgrace to the noble architecture of these columns, you incarnate insult to the English language: I could pass you off as the Queen of Sheba. [To the Gentleman] Can you believe that?
THE GENTLEMAN. Of course I can. I am myself a student of Indian dialects; and--
THE NOTE TAKER [eagerly] Are you? Do you know Colonel Pickering, the author of Spoken Sanscrit?
THE GENTLEMAN. I a m Colonel Pickering. Who are you?
THE NOTE TAKER. Henry Higgins, author of Higgins's Universal Alphabet.
PICKERING [with enthusiasm] I came from India to meet you.
HIGGINS. I was going to India to meet you.
PICKERING. Where do you live?
HIGGINS. 27A Wimpole Street. Come and see me tomorrow.
PICKERING. I'm at the Carlton. Come and dine with me.
HIGGINS. Right you are.
LIZA [to Pickering, as he passes her] Buy a flower, kind gentleman. I'm short for my lodging.
PICKERING. I really havnt any change. I'm sorry [he goes away].
HIGGINS [shocked at girl's mendacity] Liar. You said you could change half-a-crown.
LIZA [rising in desperation] You ought to be stuffed with nails, you ought. [Flinging the basket at his feet] Take the whole blooming basket for sixpence.
The church clock strikes the second quarter.
BOYS’ VOICES [singing within the church: they are practicing the 102nd Psalm] Hear my prayer O Lord; and let my cry come unto Thee. Hide not Thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble, etc., etc., etc.
HIGGINS [hearing in it the voice of God, rebuking him for his Pharisaic want of charity to the poor girl] A reminder. [He raises his hat solemnly; then throws a handful of money into the basket and follows Pickering].
Under the portico looking out through the two pillars to the roadway with the market beyond (the previous scene from the opposite end).
LIZA [picking up a half-crown] Ah-ow-ooh! [Picking up a couple of florins] Aaah-ow-ooh! [Picking up several coins] Aaaaaah-ow-ooh! [Picking up a half-sovereign] Aaaaaaaaaaaah-ow-ooh!!!
A taxi rolls up and stops.
FREDDY [springing out of the cab] Hallo! [To the girl] Where are the two ladies that were here?
LIZA. They walked to the bus when the rain stopped.
FREDDY. And left me with a cab on my hands. Damnation!
LIZA [with grandeur] Never you mind, young man. I'm going home in a taxi. [She sails off to the cab. The driver puts his hand behind him and holds the door firmly shut against her. Quite understanding his mistrust, she shews him her handful of money.] A taxi fare aint no object to me, Charlie. [He grins and opens the door]. Here. What about the basket?
THE TAXIMAN. Give it here. Tuppence extra.
LIZA. No. I don’t want nobody to see it. [She crushes it into the cab and gets in, continuing the conversation through the window] Goodbye, Freddy.]
FREDDY [dazedly raising his hat] Goodbye.
TAXIMAN. Where to?
LIZA. Bucknam Pellis [Buckingham Palace].
TAXIMAN. What d’ye mean -- Bucknam Pellis?
LIZA. Dont you know where it is? In the Green Park, where the King lives. [To Freddy] Dont let me keep you standing there. Goodbye.
FREDDY. Goodbye. [He goes].
TAXIMAN. Here? What’s all this about Bucknam Pellis? What business have you at Bucknam Pellis?
LIZA. Of course I avnt none. But I wasnt going to let him know that. You drive me home.
TAXIMAN. And wheres home?
LIZA. Angel Court, Drury Lane, next Meiklejohn's oil shop.
TAXIMAN. That sounds more like it, Judy. [He drives off].
The entrance to Angel Court, a narrow little archway between two shops, one of them Meiklejohn's oil shop. When it stops there, Liza gets out, dragging her basket with her.
LIZA. How much?
TAXIMAN [indicating the taximeter] Cant you read? A shilling.
LIZA. A shilling for two minutes!!
TAXIMAN. Two minutes or ten: it’s all the same.
LIZA. I dont call it right.
TAXIMAN. Ever been in a taxi before?
LIZA [with dignity] Hundreds and thousands of times, young man.
TAXIMAN [laughing at her] Good for you, Judy. Keep the shilling, darling, with best love from all at home. Good luck! [He drives off].
LIZA [humiliated] Impidence!
She picks up the basket and trudges up the alley through the archway.
Angel Court in perspective from under the archway. A typical little London alley.
Back view of Liza wearily dragging along with her basket. She disappears into a doorway.
Liza’s lodging. A small room with very old wall paper hanging loose in the damp places. A broken pane in the window is mended with paper. A portrait of a popular actor and a fashion plate of ladies’ dresses, all wildly beyond poor Liza’s means, both torn from newspapers, are pinned up on the wall. A birdcage hangs in the window; but its tenant died long ago: it remains as a memorial only.
These are the only visible luxuries: the rest is the irreducible minimum of poverty’s needs: a wretched bed heaped with all sorts of coverings that have any warmth in them, a draped packing case with a basin and jug on it and a little looking class over it, a chair and table, the refuse of some suburban kitchen, and an American alarm clock on a shelf above the unused fireplace.
Liza comes in and dumps her basket on the floor with a sigh of relief. She takes off her shawl and spreads it on the bed. She sits at the table and takes handfuls of money from the pocket of her apron. She balances the silver in one hand, covers it with the other, and jingles it at her ear like a child’s rattle.
Close-up of Liza jingling the money at her ear. Her habitual anxious poor woman’s expression changes very gradually into a happy smile. This fades out into:
Close-up of Liza, still in her dirty make-up, wearing her best hat, with three enormous ostrich feathers. She looks dreadfully ugly in it, but very self-satisfied. This fades out into:
Close-up of Liza in a coronet and diamonds, like Queen Alexandra, but with an expression of extreme hauteur. She is still ridiculous in her dirty make-up. This again fades out into:
Her bedroom again after nightfall. The candle is lighted; and on the table is a big thick cup and a knife, the remains of her supper. (She has treated herself to a cup of cocoa and a “doorstep”). The hat with the three feathers is on the table. She is sitting at the table.
She sweeps the crumbs of the doorstep into her palm with the knife, and throws them into her mouth. She drinks up the last of the cocoa.
She rises and puts the hat away carefully in the packing case. She takes off her skirt and spreads it on the bed. She takes the candle from the chimney board and puts it on the chair within reach of the bed. She sits on the bed and pulls off her boots and stockings. She goes to bed without any further change. She blows out the candle.
The darkness fades into:
Next day at 11 a.m. Higgins's laboratory in Wimpole Street. It is a room on the first floor, looking on the street, and was meant for the drawing-room. The double doors are in the middle of the back wall; and persons entering find in the corner to their right two tall file cabinets at right angles to one another against the walls. In this corner stands a flat writing-table, on which are a phonograph, a laryngoscope, a row of tiny organ pipes with a bellows, a set of lamp chimneys for singing flames with burners attached to a gas plug in the wall by an indiarubber tube, several tuning-forks of different sizes, a life-size image of half a human head, showing in section the vocal organs, and a box containing a supply of wax cylinders for the phonograph.
Further down the room, on the same side, is a fireplace, with a comfortable leather-covered easy-chair at the side of the hearth nearest the door, and a coal-scuttle. There is a clock on the mantelpiece. Between the fireplace and the phonograph table is a stand for newspapers.
On the other side of the central door, to the left of the visitor, is a cabinet of shallow drawers. On it is a telephone and the telephone directory. The corner beyond, and most of the side wall, is occupied by a grand piano, with the keyboard at the end furthest from the door, and a bench for the player extending the full length of the keyboard. On the piano is a dessert dish heaped with fruit and sweets, mostly chocolates.
The middle of the room is clear. Besides the easy-chair, the piano bench, and two chairs at the phonograph table, there is one stray chair. It stands near the fireplace. On the walls, engravings; mostly Piranesis and mezzotint portraits. No paintings.
Pickering is seated at the table, putting down some cards and a tuning-fork which he has been using. Higgins is standing up near him, closing two or three file drawers which are hanging out. He appears in the morning light as a robust, vital, appetizing sort of man of forty or thereabouts, dressed in a professional-looking black frock-coat with a white linen collar and black silk tie. He is of the energetic, scientific type, heartily, even violently interested in everything that can be studied as a scientific subject, and careless about himself and other people, including their feelings. He is, in fact, but for his years and size, rather like a very impetuous baby "taking notice" eagerly and loudly, and requiring almost as much watching to keep him out of unintended mischief. His manner varies from genial bullying when he is in a good humor to stormy petulance when anything goes wrong; but he is so entirely frank and void of malice that he remains likeable even in his least reasonable moments.
HIGGINS [as he shuts the last drawer] Well, I think thats the whole show.
PICKERING. It's really amazing. I havnt taken half of it in, you know.
HIGGINS. Would you like to go over any of it again?
PICKERING [rising and coming to the fireplace, where he plants himself with his back to the fire] No, thank you; not now. I'm quite done up for this morning.
Higgins goes over to the piano and eats candies.
Mrs. Pearce, his housekeeper, comes in. She is middleaged, and very respectable and dignified.
HIGGINS. Whats the matter?
MRS. PEARCE [hesitating, evidently perplexed] A young woman wants to see you, sir.
HIGGINS. A young woman! What does she want?
MRS. PEARCE. Well, sir, she says youll be glad to see her when you know what shes come about. Shes quite a common girl, sir. Very common indeed. I should have sent her away, only I thought perhaps you wanted her to talk into your machines.
HIGGINS [to Pickering] Lets have her up. Shew her up, Mrs. Pearce [he rushes across to his working table and picks out a cylinder to use on the phonograph].
MRS. PEARCE [only half resigned to it] Very well, sir. It's for you to say. [She goes downstairs].
HIGGINS. This is rather a bit of luck. I'll shew you how I make records. We'll set her talking; and I'll take it down first in Bell's visible Speech; then in broad Romic; and then we'll get her on the phonograph so that you can turn her on as often as you like with the written transcript before you.
MRS. PEARCE [returning] This is the young woman, sir.
Liza enters in state. She has a hat with three ostrich feathers, orange, sky-blue, and red. She has a nearly clean apron, and the shoddy coat has been tidied a little. The pathos of this deplorable figure, with its innocent vanity and consequential air, touches Pickering, who has already straightened himself in the presence of Mrs. Pearce. But as to Higgins, the only distinction he makes between men and women is that when he is neither bullying nor exclaiming to the heavens against some featherweight cross, he coaxes women as a child coaxes its nurse when it wants to get anything out of her.
HIGGINS [brusquely, recognizing her with unconcealed disappointment, and at once, babylike, making an intolerable grievance of it] Why, this is the girl I jotted down yesterday when I was sheltering from the rain. [To the girl] Be off with you: I dont want you.
LIZA. Dont you be so saucy. You aint heard what I come for yet. [To Mrs. Pearce, who is waiting at the door for further instruction] Did you tell him I come in a taxi?
MRS. PEARCE. Nonsense, girl! what do you think a gentleman like Mr. Higgins cares what you came in?
LIZA. Oh, we a r e proud! He aint above giving lessons, not him: I heard him say so. Well, I aint come here to ask for any compliment; and if my money's not good enough I can go elsewhere.
HIGGINS. Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down or shall we throw her out of the window?
LIZA [running away in terror to the piano, where she turns at bay] Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-oo! [Wounded and whimpering] I wont be called a baggage when Ive offered to pay like any lady.
Motionless, the two men stare at her from the other side of the room, amazed.
PICKERING [gently] What is it you want, my girl?
LIZA. I want to be a lady in a flower shop. But they wont take me unless I can talk more genteel. He said he could teach me. Well, here I am ready to pay him -- not asking any favor -- and he treats me zif I was dirt.
HIGGINS [thundering at her] Sit down.
MRS. PEARCE [severely] Sit down, girl. Do as youre told. [She places the stray chair near the hearthrug between Higgins and Pickering, and stands behind it waiting for the girl to sit down].
THE FLOWER GIRL. Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo! [She stands, half rebellious, half bewildered].
PICKERING [very courteous] Wont you sit down? [He places the stray chair near the hearthrug between himself and Higgins].
LIZA [coyly] Dont mind if I do. [She sits down. Pickering returns to the hearthrug].
HIGGINS. Whats your name?
LIZA. Liza Doolittle.
HIGGINS [declaiming gravely]
Eliza, Elizabeth, Betsy and Bess,
They went to the woods to get a bird nes':
PICKERING. They found a nest with four eggs in it:
HIGGINS. They took one apiece, and left three in it.
They laugh heartily at their own fun.
PICKERING. Higgins: I'm interested. What about the ambassador's garden party? I'll say youre the greatest teacher alive if you make that good. I'll bet you all the expenses of the experiment you cant do it. And I'll pay for the lessons.
LIZA. Oh, you are real good. Thank you, Captain.
HIGGINS [tempted, looking at her] It's almost irresistible. Shes so deliciously low -- so horribly dirty--
LIZA [protesting extremely] Ah-ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo-oo!!! I aint dirty: I washed my face and hands afore I come, I did.
HIGGINS. You don’t know what washing means. Never mind. [becoming excited as the idea grows on him] I shall make a duchess of this draggle-tailed guttersnipe.
LIZA [strongly deprecating this view of her] Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo!
HIGGINS [carried away] Yes: in six months -- in three if she has a good ear and a quick tongue -- I'll take her anywhere and pass her off as anything. We'll start today: now! this moment! Take her away and clean her, Mrs. Pearce. Is there a good fire in the kitchen?
MRS. PEARCE [protesting]. Yes; but—
HIGGINS [storming on] Take all her clothes off and burn them. Ring up Whitely or somebody for new ones. Wrap her up in brown paper til they come.
LIZA. Youre no gentleman, youre not, to talk of such things. I'm a good girl, I am; and I know what the like of you are, I do.
HIGGINS. We want none of your slum prudery here, young woman. Youve got to learn to behave like a duchess. Take her away, Mrs. Pearce. If she gives you any trouble, wallop her.
LIZA [rising and squaring herself determinedly] I'm going away. He's off his chump, he is. I dont want no balmies teaching me.
HIGGINS [wounded in his tenderest point by her insensibility to his elocution] Oh, indeed! I'm mad, am I? Very well, Mrs. Pearce: you neednt order the new clothes for her. Throw her out.
LIZA [whimpering] Nah-ow. You got no right to touch me.
MRS. PEARCE. You see now what comes of being saucy. [Indicating the door] This way, please.
LIZA [almost in tears] I didnt want no clothes. I wouldnt have taken them.
HIGGINS [intercepting her on her reluctant way to the door] Youre an ungrateful wicked girl. This is my return for offering to take you out of the gutter and dress you beautifully and make a lady of you.
MRS. PEARCE. Stop, Mr. Higgins. I wont allow it. It's you that are wicked. Go home to your parents, girl; and tell them to take better care of you.
LIZA. I aint got no parents. They told me I was big enough to earn my own living and turned me out.
MRS. PEARCE. Wheres your mother?
LIZA. I aint got no mother. Her that turned me out was my sixth stepmother. But I done without them. And I'm a good girl, I am.
HIGGINS. Very well, then, what on earth is all this fuss about? The girl doesnt belong to anybody -- is no use to anybody but me. [He goes to Mrs. Pearce and begins coaxing]. You can adopt her, Mrs. Pearce: I'm sure a daughter would be a great amusement to you. Now dont make any more fuss. Take her downstairs; and--
MRS. PEARCE. But whats to become of her? Is she to be paid anything? Do be sensible, sir.
HIGGINS. Oh, pay her whatever is necessary: put it down in the housekeeping book. [Impatiently] What on earth will she want with money? She'll have her food and her clothes. She'll only drink if you give her money.
LIZA [turning on him] Oh you a r e a brute. It's a lie: nobody ever saw the sign of liquor on me.
PICKERING [in good-humored remonstrance] Does it occur to you, Higgins, that the girl has some feelings?
HIGGINS [looking critically at her] Oh no, I dont think so. Not any feelings that we need bother about. [Cheerily] Have you, Eliza?
LIZA. I got my feelings same as anyone else.
HIGGINS [to Pickering, reflectively] You see the difficulty?
PICKERING. Eh? What difficulty?
HIGGINS. To get her to talk grammar. The mere pronunciation is easy enough.
LIZA. I dont want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady in a flower shop.
MRS. PEARCE. Will you please keep to the point, Mr. Higgins. I want to know on what terms the girl is to be here. Is she to have any wages? And what is to become of her when youve finished your teaching? You must look ahead a little.
HIGGINS [impatiently] Whats to become of her if I leave her in the gutter? Tell me that, Mrs. Pearce.
MRS. PEARCE. Thats her own business, not yours, Mr. Higgins.
HIGGINS. Well, when Ive done with her, we can throw her back into the gutter; and then it will be her own business again; so thats all right.
LIZA. Oh, youve no feeling heart in you: you dont care for nothing but yourself [she rises and takes the floor resolutely]. Here! Ive had enough of this. I'm going [making for the door]. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you ought.
HIGGINS [snatching a chocolate cream from the piano, his eyes suddenly beginning to twinkle with mischief] Have some chocolates, Eliza.
LIZA [halting, tempted] How do I know what might be in them? Ive heard of girls being drugged by the like of you.
Higgins whips out his penknife; cuts a chocolate in two; puts one half into his mouth and bolts it; and offers her the other half.
HIGGINS. Pledge of good faith, Eliza. I eat one half: you eat the other. [Liza opens her mouth to retort: he pops the half chocolate into it]. You shall have boxes of them, barrels of them, every day. You shall live on them. Eh?
LIZA [who has disposed of the chocolate after being nearly choked by it] I wouldnt have ate it, only I'm too ladylike to take it out of my mouth.
HIGGINS. Listen, Eliza. I think you said you came in a taxi.
LIZA. Well, what if I did? Ive as good a right to take a taxi as anyone else.
HIGGINS. You have, Eliza; and in future you shall have as many taxis as you want. You shall go up and down and round the town in a taxi every day. Think of that, Eliza.
MRS. PEARCE. Mr. Higgins: youre tempting the girl. It's not right. She should think of the future.
HIGGINS. At her age! Nonsense! Time enough to think of the future when you havnt any future to think of. No, Eliza: do as this lady does: think of other people's futures; but never think of your own. Think of chocolates, and taxis, and gold, and diamonds.
LIZA. No: I dont want no gold and no diamonds. I'm a good girl, I am.
HIGGINS. You shall remain so, Eliza, under the care of Mrs. Pearce. And you shall marry an officer in the Guards, with a beautiful moustache: the son of a marquis, who will disinherit him for marrying you, but will relent when he sees your beauty and goodness--
PICKERING. Excuse me, Higgins; but I really must interfere. Mrs. Pearce is quite right. If this girl is to put herself in your hands for six months for an experiment in teaching, she must understand thoroughly what shes doing.
HIGGINS. How can she? Shes incapable of understanding anything. Besides, do any of us understand what we are doing? If we did, would we ever do it?
PICKERING. Very clever, Higgins; but not sound sense. [To Eliza] Miss Doolittle--
LIZA [overwhelmed] Ah-ah-ow-oo!
HIGGINS. There! Thats 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: thats enough for her. 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 youre good and do whatever youre told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, and have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and take rides in taxis. If youre 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 youre 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?
MRS. PEARCE [patiently] I think youd better let me speak to the girl properly in private. I dont know that I can take charge of her or consent to the arrangement at all. Of course I know you dont mean her any harm; but when you get what you call interested in people's accents, you never think or care what may happen to them or you. Come with me, Eliza.
HIGGINS. Thats all right. Thank you, Mrs. Pearce. Bundle her off to the bath-room.
LIZA [rising reluctantly and suspiciously] Youre a great bully, you are. I wont stay here if I dont like. I wont let nobody wallop me. I never asked to go to Bucknam Pellis, I didnt. I was never in trouble with the police, not me. I'm a good girl--
MRS. PEARCE. Dont answer back, girl. You dont understand the gentleman. Come with me. [She leads the way to the door, and holds it open for Eliza].
LIZA [as she goes out] Well, what I say is right. I wont go near the king, not if I'm going to have my head cut off. If I'd known what I was letting myself in for, I wouldnt have come here. I always been a good girl; and I never offered to say a word to him; and I dont owe him nothing; and I dont care; and I wont be put upon; and I have my feelings the same as anyone else--
Mrs. Pearce shuts the door; and Eliza's plaints are no longer audible.
Liza and Mrs. Pearce on the stairs, Mrs Pearce leading the way upstairs. Liza is still grumbling the last three or four lines of her speech: I always been a good girl, etc., etc.
The landing above. Two doors.
MRS. PEARCE [Opening one of the doors.] I will have to put you here. This will be your bedroom. [They go in].
Inside the room, a good servant’s bedroom, light, clean, and cheerful. The two women enter.
LIZA. O-oh, I couldnt sleep here, missus. It’s too good for the likes of me. I should be afraid to touch anything. I aint a duchess yet, you know.
MRS. PEARCE. You have got to make yourself as clean as the room: then you wont be afraid of it. [She goes to another door]. And you must call me Mrs Pearce, not missus. [She goes through it, Liza following].
A bathroom with a couple of bath gowns hanging up. Mrs. Pearce comes in, followed by Liza.
LIZA. Gawd! whats this? Is this where you wash clothes? Funny sort of copper I call it.
MRS. PEARCE. It is not a copper. This is where we wash ourselves, Eliza, and where I am going to wash you.
LIZA. You expect me to get into that and wet myself all over! Not me. I should catch my death. I knew a woman did it every Saturday night; and she died of it.
MRS. PEARCE. Mr Higgins has the gentlemen’s bathroom downstairs; and he has a bath every morning, in cold water.
LIZA. Ugh! Hes made of iron that man.
MRS. PEARCE. If you are to sit with him and the Colonel and be taught you will have to do the same. They wont like the smell of you if you dont. But you can have the water as hot as you like. There are two taps: hot and cold.
LIZA [weeping] I couldnt. I dursnt. Its not natural: it would kill me. Ive never had a bath in my life : not what youd call a proper one.
MRS. PEARCE. Well, dont you want to be clean and sweet and decent, like a lady? You know you cant be a nice girl inside if youre a dirty slut outside.
MRS. PEARCE. Now stop crying and go back into your room and take off all your clothes. Then wrap yourself in this [Taking down a gown from its peg and handing it to her] and come back to me. I will get the bath ready.
LIZA [all tears] I cant. I wont. I’m not used to it. Ive never taken off all my clothes before. Its not right: its not decent.
MRS. PEARCE. Nonsense, child. Dont you take off all your clothes every night when you go to bed?
LIZA [amazed] No. Why should I? I should catch my death. Of course I take off my skirt.
MRS. PEARCE. Do you mean that you sleep in the underclothes you wear in the daytime?
LIZA. What else have I to sleep in?
MRS. PEARCE. You will never do that again as long as you live here. I will get you a proper nightdress.
LIZA. Do you mean change into cold things and lie awake shivering half the night? You want to kill me, you do.
MRS. PEARCE. I want to change you from a frowzy slut to a clean respectable girl fit to sit with the gentlemen in the study. Are you going to trust me and do what I tell you or be thrown out and sent back to your flower basket?
LIZA. But you dont know what the cold is to me. You dont know how I dread it.
MRS. PEARCE. Your bed wont be cold here: I will put a hot water bottle in it. [Pushing her into the bedroom] Off with you and undress.
LIZA. Oh, if only I’d a known what a dreadful thing it is to be clean I’d never have come. I didnt know when I was well off. I-- [Mrs Pearce pushes her through the door, but leaves it partly open lest her her prisoner should take to flight].
Mrs Pearce puts on a pair of white rubber sleeves, and fills the bath, mixing hot and cold and testing the result with the bath thermometer. She perfumes it with a handful of bath salts and adds a palmful of mustard. She then takes a formidable looking long handled scrubbing brush and soaps it profusely with a ball of scented soap.
Liza comes back with nothing on but the bath gown huddled tightly round her, a piteous spectacle of abject terror.
MRS. PEARCE. Now come along. Take that thing off.
LIZA. Oh I couldnt, Mrs Pearce: I reely couldnt. I never done such a thing.
MRS. PEARCE. Nonsense. Here: step in and tell me whether it’s hot enough for you.
LIZA. Ah-oo! Ah-oo! It’s too hot.
MRS. PEARCE [deftly snatching the gown away and throwing Liza down on her back] It wont hurt you. [She sets to work with the scrubbing brush].
Liza’s screams are heartrending.
The shot fades out in a tempest of yells from Liza and a vigorous lathering by Mrs Pearce.
The laboratory as before.
Higgins and Pickering seated reading.
Mrs Pearce, with her rubber sleeves still on, enters with Japanese clothes hanging on her arm.
HIGGINS. Oh! That you, Mrs. Pearce? What the devil has been going on upstairs? Somebody was screaming the house down.
MRS. PEARCE. That’s all right, sir. It won’t occur again. Might she use some of those Japanese dresses you brought from abroad? Shes perfectly clean now. I really cant put her back into her old things. Its only until the new clothes come.
HIGGINS. Certainly. Anything you like. Is that all?
MRS. PEARCE. No, sir, I’m sorry to have to tell you that the trouble's beginning already. Theres a dustman downstairs, Alfred Doolittle, wants to see you. He says you have his daughter here.
PICKERING. Phew! I say!
HIGGINS. Send the blackguard up.
MRS. PEARCE. Dont give her up to him, sir. I dont like his looks. I’ll take care of the girl, sir.
Mrs Pearce goes out.
PICKERING. He may not be a blackguard, Higgins.
HIGGINS. Nonsense. Of course he’s a blackguard.
PICKERING. Whether he is or not, I'm afraid we shall have some trouble with him.
HIGGINS [confidently] Oh no: I think not. If theres any trouble he shall have it with me, not I with him.
Alfred Doolittle is an elderly but vigorous dustman, clad in the costume of his profession, including a hat with a back brim covering his neck and shoulders. He has well marked and rather interesting features, and seems equally free from fear and conscience. He has a remarkably expressive voice, the result of a habit of giving vent to his feelings without reserve. His present pose is that of wounded honor and stern resolution.
DOOLITTLE [at the door, uncertain which of the two gentlemen is his man] Professor Iggins?
HIGGINS. Here. Good morning. Sit down.
DOOLITTLE. Morning, Governor. [He sits down magisterially] I come about a very serious matter, Governor.
HIGGINS [to Pickering] Brought up in Hounslow. Mother Welsh, I should think. [Doolittle opens his mouth, amazed. Higgins continues] What do you want, Doolittle?
DOOLITTLE [menacingly] I want my daughter: thats what I want. See?
HIGGINS. Of course you do. Youre her father, arnt you? You dont suppose anyone else wants her, do you? I'm glad to see you have some spark of family feeling left. Shes upstairs. Take her away at once.
DOOLITTLE [rising, fearfully taken aback.] What!
HIGGINS. Take her away. Do you suppose I'm going to keep your daughter for you?
DOOLITTLE [remonstrating] Now, now, look here, Governor. Is this reasonable? Is it fairity to take advantage of a man like this? The girl belongs to me. You got her. Where do I come in? [He sits down again].
HIGGINS. Your daughter had the audacity to come to my house and ask me to teach her how to speak properly so that she could get a place in a flower-shop. This gentleman and my housekeeper have been here all the time. [Bullying him] How dare you come here and attempt to blackmail me? You sent her here on purpose.
DOOLITTLE [protesting] No, Governor.
HIGGINS. You must have. How else could you possibly know that she is here?
DOOLITTLE. Dont take a man up like that, Governor.
HIGGINS. The police shall take you up. This is a plant -- a plot to extort money by threats. I shall telephone for the police [he goes resolutely to the telephone and opens the directory].
DOOLITTLE. Have I asked you for a brass farthing? I leave it to the gentleman here: have I said a word about money?
HIGGINS [throwing the book aside and marching down on Doolittle with a poser] What else did you come for?
DOOLITTLE [sweetly] Well, what w o u l d a man come for? Be human, Governor.
HIGGINS. So you came to rescue her from worse than death, eh?
DOOLITTLE [appreciatively: relieved at being so well understood] Just so, Governor. Thats right.
HIGGINS. Well: take her away.
DOOLITTLE. Have I said a word about taking her away? Have I now?
HIGGINS [determinedly] Youre going to take her away, double quick. [He crosses to the hearth and rings the bell].
DOOLITTLE [rising] No, Governor. Dont say that. I'm not the man to stand in my girl's light. Heres a career opening for her, as you might say; and--
Mrs. Pearce opens the door and awaits orders.
HIGGINS. Mrs. Pearce: this is Eliza's father. He has come to take her away. Give her to him. [He goes back to the piano, with an air of washing his hands of the whole affair].
DOOLITTLE. No. This is a misunderstanding. Listen here--
MRS. PEARCE. He cant take her away, Mr. Higgins: how can he? You told me to burn her clothes.
DOOLITTLE. Thats right. I cant carry the girl through the streets like a blooming monkey, can I? I put it to you.
HIGGINS. You have put it to me that you want your daughter. Take your daughter. If she has no clothes go out and buy her some.
DOOLITTLE [desperate] Wheres the clothes she come in? Did I burn them or did your missus here?
MRS. PEARCE. I am the housekeeper, if you please. I have sent for some clothes for your girl. When they come you can take her away. You can wait in the kitchen. This way, please.
Doolittle, much troubled, accompanies her to the door; then hesitates; finally turns confidentially to Higgins.
DOOLITTLE. Listen here, Governor. You and me is men of the world, aint we? HIGGINS. Oh! Men of the world, are we? Youd better go, Mrs. Pearce. MRS. PEARCE. I think so, indeed, sir. [She goes, with dignity]. PICKERING. The floor is yours, Mr. Doolittle.
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, Ive 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, shes a fine handsome girl. As a daughter shes not worth her keep; and so I tell you straight. All I ask is my rights as a father; and youre the last man alive to expect me to let her go for nothing; for I can see youre one of the straight sort, Governor. Well, whats a five pound note to you? And whats Eliza to me? [He returns to his chair and sits down judicially].
PICKERING. I think you ought to know, Doolittle, that Mr. Higgins's intentions are entirely honorable.
DOOLITTLE. Course they are, Governor. If I thought they wasnt, Id ask fifty.
HIGGINS [revolted] Do you mean to say that you would sell your daughter for £50?
DOOLITTLE. Not in a general way I wouldnt; but to oblige a gentleman like you I'd do do a good deal, I do assure you.
PICKERING. Have you no morals, man?
DOOLITTLE [unabashed] Cant afford them, Governor. Neither could you if you was as poor as me. Not that I mean any harm, you know. But if Liza is going to have a bit out of this, why not me too?
HIGGINS [troubled] I dont know what to do, Pickering. There can be no question that as a matter of morals it's a positive crime to give this chap a farthing. And yet I feel a sort of rough justice in his claim.
DOOLITTLE, Thats it, Governor. Thats all I say. A father's heart, as it were.
PICKERING. Well, I know the feeling; but really it seems hardly right--
DOOLITTLE. Dont say that, Governor. Dont look at it that way. What am I, Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I'm one of the undeserving poor: thats what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that hes up agen middle class morality all the time. If theres anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it's always the same story: "Youre undeserving; so you cant 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 dont need less than a deserving man: I need more. I dont 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 aint pretending to be deserving. I'm undeserving; and I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it; and thats the truth. Will you take advantage of a man's nature to do him out of the price of his own daughter what hes brought up and fed and clothed by the sweat of his brow until shes 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.
HIGGINS. Pickering: shall I give him a fiver?
PICKERING. He'll make a bad use of it, I'm afraid.
DOOLITTLE. Not me, Governor, so help me I wont. Dont you be afraid that I'll save it and spare it and live idle on it. There wont be a penny of it left by Monday: I'll have to go to work same as if I'd never had it. It wont pauperize me, you bet. Just one good spree for myself and the missus, giving pleasure to ourselves and employment to others, and satisfaction to you to think it's not been throwed away. You couldnt spend it better.
HIGGINS [taking out his pocket book and coming between Doolittle and the piano] This is irresistible. Lets give him ten. [He offers two notes to the dustman].
DOOLITTLE. No, Governor. She wouldnt have the heart to spend ten; and perhaps I shouldnt neither. Ten pounds is a lot of money: it makes a man feel prudent like; and then goodbye to happiness. You give me what I ask you, Governor: not a penny more, and not a penny less.
HIGGINS. [To Doolittle] Five pounds I think you said.
DOOLITTLE. Thank you kindly, Governor.
HIGGINS. Youre sure you wont take ten?
DOOLITTLE. Not now. Another time, Governor.
HIGGINS [handing him a five-pound note] Here you are.
DOOLITTLE. Thank you, Governor. Good morning. [He hurries to the door, anxious to get away with his booty. When he opens it he is confronted with a dainty and exquisitely clean young Japanese lady in a simple blue cotton kimono printed cunningly with small white jasmine blossoms. Mrs. Pearce is with her. He gets out of her way deferentially and apologizes]. Beg pardon, miss.
THE JAPANESE LADY. Garn! Dont you know your own daughter?
Doolittle, Higgins & Pickering exclaiming simultaneously:
DOOLITTLE. Bly me! it's Eliza!
HIGGINS. Whats that! This!
PICKERING. By Jove!
DOOLITTLE [with fatherly pride] Well, I never thought she'd clean up as good looking as that, Governor. Shes a credit to me, aint she? And she'll soon pick up your free-and-easy ways.
LIZA. I'm a good girl, I am; and I wont pick up no free and easy ways.
HIGGINS. Eliza: if you say again that youre a good girl, your father shall take you home.
LIZA. Not him. You dont know my father. All he come here for was to touch you for some money to get drunk on.
DOOLITTLE. Well, what else would I want money for? To put into the plate in church, I suppose. [She puts out her tongue at him. He is so incensed by this that Pickering presently finds it necessary to step between them]. Dont you give me none of your lip; and dont let me hear you giving this gentleman any of it neither, or youll hear from me about it. See?
HIGGINS. Have you any further advice to give her before you go, Doolittle? Your blessing, for instance.
DOOLITTLE. No, Governor: I aint such a mug as to put up my children to all I know myself. Hard enough to hold them in without that. If you want Eliza's mind improved, Governor, you do it yourself with a strap. So long, gentlemen. [He turns to go].
HIGGINS [impressively] Stop. Youll come regularly to see your daughter. It's your duty, you know. My brother is a clergyman; and he could help you in your talks with her.
DOOLITTLE [evasively] Certainly. I'll come, Governor. Not just this week, because I have a job at a distance. But later on you may depend on me. Afternoon, gentlemen. Afternoon, maam. [He takes off his hat to Mrs. Pearce, who disdains the salutation and goes out. He winks at Higgins, thinking him probably a fellow-sufferer from Mrs. Pearce's difficult disposition, and follows her].
LIZA. Dont you believe the old liar. He'd as soon you set a bull-dog on him as a clergyman. You wont see him again in a hurry.
HIGGINS. I dont want to, Eliza. Do you?
LIZA. Not me. I dont want never to see him again, I dont. Aint you going to call me Miss Doolittle any more?
PICKERING. I beg your pardon, Miss Doolittle. It was a slip of the tongue.
LIZA. Oh, I dont mind; only it sounded so genteel. I should just like to take a taxi to the corner of Tottenham Court Road and get out there and tell it to wait for me, just to put the girls in their place a bit. I wouldnt speak to them, you know.
PICKERING. Better wait til we get you something really fashionable.
HIGGINS. Besides, you shouldnt cut your old friends now that you have risen in the world. Thats what we call snobbery.
LIZA. You dont call the like of them my friends now, I should hope. Theyve took it out of me often enough with their ridicule when they had the chance; and now I mean to get a bit of my own back. But if I'm to have fashionable clothes, I'll wait.
MRS. PEARCE [coming back] Now, Eliza. The new things have come for you to try on.
LIZA. Ah-ow-oo-ooh! [She rushes out].
MRS. PEARCE [following her] Oh, dont rush about like that, girl [She shuts the door behind her].
HIGGINS. Pickering: we have taken on a stiff job.
PICKERING [with conviction] Higgins: we have.
The study the following day.
Liza, in her new clothes, and feeling her inside out of step by a lunch, dinner, and breakfast of a kind to which it is unaccustomed, is seated with Higgins and the Colonel, feeling like a hospital out-patient at a first encounter with the doctors.
Higgins, constitutionally unable to sit still, discomposes her still more by striding restlessly about. But for the reassuring presence and quietude of her friend the Colonel she would run for her life, even back to Drury Lane.
HIGGINS. Say your alphabet.
LIZA. I know my alphabet. Do you think I know nothing? I dont need to be taught like a child.
HIGGINS [thundering] Say your alphabet.
PICKERING. Say it, Miss Doolittle. You will understand presently. Do what he tells you; and let him teach you in his own way.
LIZA. Oh well, if you put it like that -- Ahyee, beyee, ceyee, deyee --
HIGGINS [with the roar of a wounded lion] Stop. Listen to this, Pickering. This is what we pay for as elementary education. This unfortunate animal has been locked up for nine years in school at our expense to teach her to speak and read the language of Shakespear and Milton. And the result is Ahyee, beyee, ceyee, deyee. [To Eliza] Say A, B, C, D.
LIZA [almost in tears] But I’m saying it. Ahyee, beyee, ceyee --
HIGGINS. Stop. Say a cup of tea.
LIZA. A cappete-ee.
HIGGINS. Put your tongue forward until it squeezes against the top of your lower teeth. Now say cup.
LIZA. C-c-c -- I cant. C-Cup.
PICKERING. Good. Splendid, Miss Doolittle.
HIGGINS. By Jupiter, she’s done it at the first shot. Pickering: we shall make a duchess of her. [To Liza] Now do you think you could possibly say tea? Not te-yee, mind: if you ever say beyee, ceyee, deyee again you shall be dragged around the room three times by the hair of your head. [Fortissimo] T, T, T, T.
LIZA [weeping] I cant hear no difference cep that it sounds more genteel-like when you say it.
HIGGINS. Well, if you can hear that difference, what the devil are you crying for? Pickering: give her a chocolate.
PICKERING. No, no. Never mind crying a little, Miss Doolittle: you are doing very well; and the lessons wont hurt. I promise you I wont let him drag you round the room by your hair.
HIGGINS. Be off with you to Mrs Pearce and tell her about it. Think about it. Try to do it by yourself: and keep your tongue well forward in your mouth instead of trying to roll it up and swallow it. Another lesson at half-past four this afternoon. Away with you.
Liza, still sobbing, rushes from the room.
Mrs. Higgins's drawing-room, in a flat on Chelsea embankment. The room has three windows looking on the river; and the ceiling is not so lofty as it would be in an older house of the same pretension. The windows are open, giving access to a balcony with flowers in pots. If you stand with your face to the windows, you have the fireplace on your left and the door in the right-hand wall close to the corner nearest the windows.
Mrs. Higgins was brought up on Morris and Burne Jones; and her room, which is very unlike her son's room in Wimpole Street, is not crowded with furniture and little tables and nicknacks. In the middle of the room there is a big ottoman; and this, with the carpet, the Morris wall-papers, and the Morris chintz window curtains and brocade covers of the ottoman and its cushions, supply all the ornament, and are much too handsome to be hidden by odds and ends of useless things. A few good oil-paintings from the exhibitions in the Grosvenor Gallery thirty years ago (the Burne Jones, not the Whistler side of them) are on the walls. The only landscape is a Cecil Lawson on the scale of a Rubens. There is a portrait of Mrs. Higgins as she was when she defied fashion in her youth in one of the beautiful Rossettian costumes which, when caricatured by people who did not understand, led to the absurdities of popular estheticism in the eighteen-seventies.
In the corner diagonally opposite the door Mrs. Higgins, now over sixty and long past taking the trouble to dress out of the fashion, sits writing at an elegantly simple writing-table with a bell button within reach of her hand. There is a Chippendale chair further back in the room between her and the window nearest her side. At the other side of the room, further forward, is an Elizabethan chair roughly carved in the taste of Inigo Jones. On the same side a piano in a decorated case. The corner between the fireplace and the window is occupied by a divan cushioned in Morris chintz.
It is between four and five in the afternoon.
The door is opened violently; and Higgins enters.
MRS. HIGGINS [dismayed] Henry [scolding him]! What are you doing here to-day? It is my at-home day: you promised not to come.
HIGGINS. Ive picked up a girl.
MRS. HIGGINS. Does that mean that some girl has picked you up?
HIGGINS. Not at all. I dont mean a love affair. [He sits on the settee].
MRS. HIGGINS. What a pity!
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, you never fall in love with anyone under forty-five. When will you discover that there are some rather nice-looking young women about?
HIGGINS. Oh, I cant be bothered with young women. My idea of a lovable woman is something as like you as possible. I shall never get into the way of seriously liking young women: some habits lie too deep to be changed. [Rising abruptly and walking about, jingling his money and his keys in his trouser pockets] Besides, theyre all idiots.
MRS. HIGGINS. Do you know what you would do if you really loved me, Henry?
HIGGINS. Oh bother! What? Marry, I suppose?
MRS. HIGGINS. No. Stop fidgeting and take your hands out of your pockets. [With a gesture of despair, he obeys and sits down again]. Thats a good boy. Now tell me about the girl.
HIGGINS. She coming to see you.
MRS. HIGGINS. I dont remember asking her.
HIGGINS. You didnt. I asked her. If youd known her you wouldnt have asked her.
MRS. HIGGINS. Indeed! Why?
HIGGINS. Well, it's like this. Shes a common flower girl. I picked her off the kerbstone.
MRS. HIGGINS. And invited her to my at-home!
HIGGINS [rising and coming to her to coax her] Oh, thatll be all right. Ive taught her to speak properly; and she has strict orders as to her behavior. Shes to keep to two subjects: the weather and everybody's health—Fine day and How do you do, you know—and not to let herself go on things in general. That will be safe.
MRS. HIGGINS. Safe! To talk about our health! about our insides! perhaps about our outsides! How could you be so silly, Henry?
HIGGINS [impatiently] Well, she must talk about something. [He controls himself and sits down again]. Oh, she'll be all right: dont you fuss. Pickering is in it with me. Ive a sort of bet on that I'll pass her off as a duchess in six months. I started on her some months ago; and shes getting on like a house on fire. I shall win my bet. She has a quick ear; and shes been easier to teach than my middle-class pupils because shes had to learn a complete new language. She talks English almost as you talk French.
MRS. HIGGINS. Thats satisfactory, at all events.
HIGGINS. Well, it is and it isnt.
MRS. HIGGINS. What does that mean?
HIGGINS. You see, Ive got her pronunciation all right; but you have to consider not only h o w a girl pronounces, but w h a t she pronounces; and thats where--
They are interrupted by the parlor-maid, announcing guests.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mrs. and Miss Eynsford Hill. [She withdraws].
HIGGINS. Oh Lord! [He rises; snatches his hat from the table; and makes for the door; but before he reaches it his mother introduces him].
Mrs. and Miss Eynsford Hill are the mother and daughter who sheltered from the rain in Covent Garden. The mother is well bred, quiet, and has the habitual anxiety of straitened means. The daughter has acquired a gay air of being very much at home in society: the bravado of genteel poverty.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [to Mrs. Higgins] How do you do? [They shake hands].
MISS EYNSFORD HILL. How d'you do? [She shakes].
MRS. HIGGINS [introducing] My son Henry.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. Your celebrated son! I have so longed to meet you, Professor Higgins.
HIGGINS [glumly, making no movement in her direction] Delighted. [He backs against the piano and bows brusquely].
MISS EYNSFORD HILL [going to him with confident familiarity] How do you do?
HIGGINS [staring at her] Ive seen you before somewhere. I havnt the ghost of a notion where; but Ive heard your voice. [Drearily] It doesnt matter. Youd better sit down.
MRS. HIGGINS. I'm sorry to say that my celebrated son has no manners. You mustnt mind him.
MISS EYNSFORD HILL [gaily] I dont. [She sits in the Elizabethan chair].
MRS EYNSFORD HILL [a little bewildered] Not at all. [She sits on the ottoman between her daughter and Mrs. Higgins, who has turned her chair away from the writing-table].
HIGGINS. Oh, have I been rude? I didnt mean to be.
He goes to the central window, through which, with his back to the company, he contemplates the river and the flowers in Battersea Park on the opposite bank as if they were a frozen desert.
The parlor-maid returns, ushering in Pickering.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Colonel Pickering [She withdraws].
PICKERING. How do you do, Mrs. Higgins?
MRS. HIGGINS. So glad youve come. Do you know Mrs. Eynsford Hill—Miss Eynsford Hill? [Exchange of bows. The Colonel brings the Chippendale chair a little forward between Mrs. Hill and Mrs. Higgins, and sits down].
PICKERING. Has Henry told you what weve come for?
HIGGINS [over his shoulder] We were interrupted: damn it!
MRS. HIGGINS. Oh Henry, Henry, really!
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [half rising] Are we in the way?
MRS. HIGGINS [rising and making her sit down again] No, no. You couldnt have come more fortunately: we want you to meet a friend of ours.
HIGGINS [turning hopefully] Yes, by George! We want two or three people. Youll do as well as anybody else.
The parlor-maid returns, ushering Freddy.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr. Eynsford Hill.
HIGGINS [almost audibly, past endurance] God of Heaven! another of them.
FREDDY [shaking hands with Mrs. Higgins] Ahdedo?
MRS. HIGGINS. Very good of you to come. [Introducing] Colonel Pickering.
FREDDY [bowing] Ahdedo?
MRS. HIGGINS. I dont think you know my son, Professor Higgins.
FREDDY [going to Higgins] Ahdedo?
HIGGINS [looking at him much as if he were a pickpocket] I'll take my oath Ive met you before somewhere. Where was it?
FREDDY. I dont think so.
HIGGINS [resignedly] It dont matter, anyhow. Sit down.
He shakes Freddy's hand, and almost slings him on the ottoman with his face to the windows; then comes round to the other side of it.
HIGGINS. Well, here we are, anyhow! [He sits down on the ottoman next Mrs. Eynsford Hill, on her left]. And now, what the devil are we going to talk about until Eliza comes?
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry: you are the life and soul of the Royal Society's soirées; but really youre rather trying on more commonplace occasions.
HIGGINS. Am I? Very sorry. [Beaming suddenly] I suppose I am, you know. [Uproariously] Ha, ha!
THE PARLOR-MAID [opening the door] Miss Doolittle. [She withdraws].
HIGGINS [rising hastily and running to Mrs. Higgins] Here she is, mother. [He stands on tiptoe and makes signs over his mother's head to Eliza to indicate to her which lady is her hostess].
Eliza, who is exquisitely dressed, produces an impression of such remarkable distinction and beauty as she enters that they all rise, quite fluttered. Guided by Higgins's signals, she comes to Mrs. Higgins with studied grace.
LIZA [speaking with pedantic correctness of pronunciation and great beauty of tone] How do you do, Mrs. Higgins? [She gasps slightly in making sure of the H in Higgins, but is quite successful]. Mr. Higgins told me I might come.
MRS. HIGGINS [cordially] Quite right: I'm very glad indeed to see you.
PICKERING. How do you do, Miss Doolittle?
LIZA [shaking hands with him] Colonel Pickering, is it not?
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. I feel sure we have met before, Miss Doolittle. I remember your eyes.
LIZA. How do you do? [She sits down on the ottoman gracefully in the place just left vacant by Higgins].
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [introducing] My daughter Clara.
LIZA. How do you do?
CLARA [impulsively] How do you do? [She sits down on the ottoman beside Eliza, devouring her with her eyes].
FREDDY [coming to their side of the ottoman] Ive certainly had the pleasure.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [introducing] My son Freddy.
LIZA. How do you do?
Freddy bows and sits down in the Elizabethan chair, infatuated.
HIGGINS [suddenly] By George, yes: it all comes back to me! [They stare at him]. Covent Garden! [Lamentably] What a damned thing!
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry, please! [He is about to sit on the edge of the table]. Dont sit on my writing-table: youll break it.
HIGGINS [sulkily] Sorry.
He goes to the divan, stumbling into the fender and over the fire-irons on his way; extricating himself with muttered imprecations; and finishing his disastrous journey by throwing himself so impatiently on the divan that he almost breaks it. Mrs. Higgins looks at him, but controls herself and says nothing.
A long and painful pause ensues.
MRS. HIGGINS [at last, conversationally] Will it rain, do you think?
LIZA. The shallow depression in the west of these islands is likely to move slowly in an easterly direction. There are no indications of any great change in the barometrical situation.
FREDDY. Ha! ha! how awfully funny!
LIZA. What is wrong with that, young man? I bet I got it right.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. I'm sure I hope it wont turn cold. Theres so much influenza about. It runs right through our whole family regularly every spring.
LIZA [darkly] My aunt died of influenza: so they said.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [clicks her tongue sympathetically]!!!
LIZA [in the same tragic tone] But it's my belief they done the old woman in.
MRS. HIGGINS [puzzled] Done her in?
LIZA. 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.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [startled] Dear me!
LIZA [piling up the indictment] 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.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. What does doing her in mean?
HIGGINS [hastily] Oh, thats the new small talk. To do a person in means to kill them.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [to Eliza, horrified] You surely dont believe that your aunt was killed?
LIZA. Do I not! Them she lived with would have killed her for a hat-pin, let alone a hat.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. But it cant have been right for your father to pour spirits down her throat like that. It might have killed her.
LIZA. 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.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. Do you mean that he drank?
LIZA. Drank! My word! Something chronic.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. How dreadful for you!
LIZA. Not a bit. 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. Theres 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?
FREDDY. The new small talk. You do it so awfully well.
LIZA. If I was doing it proper, what was you laughing at? [To Higgins] Have I said anything I oughtnt?
MRS. HIGGINS [interposing] Not at all, Miss Doolittle.
LIZA. Well, thats a mercy, anyhow. [Expansively] What I always say is--
HIGGINS [rising and looking at his watch] Ahem!
LIZA [looking round at him; taking the hint; and rising] Well: I must go. [They all rise. Freddy goes to the door]. So pleased to have met you. Good-bye. [She shakes hands with Mrs. Higgins].
MRS. HIGGINS. Good-bye.
LIZA. Good-bye, Colonel Pickering.
PICKERING. Good-bye, Miss Doolittle. [They shake hands].
LIZA [nodding to the others] Good-bye, all.
FREDDY [opening the door for her] Are you walking across the Park, Miss Doolittle? If so--
LIZA. Walk! Not bloody likely. [Sensation]. I am going in a taxi. [She goes out].
Pickering gasps and sits down.
FREDDY [to the heavens at large] Well, I ask you— [He gives it up, and comes to Mrs. Higgins]. Good-bye.
MRS. HIGGINS. [shaking hands] Good-bye. Would you like to meet Miss Doolittle again?
FREDDY [eagerly] Yes, I should, most awfully.
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, you know my days.
FREDDY. Yes. Thanks awfully. Good-bye. [He goes out].
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. Good-bye, Mr. Higgins.
HIGGINS. Good-bye. Good-bye.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [to Pickering] It's no use. I shall never be able to bring myself to use that word.
PICKERING. Dont. It's not compulsory, you know. Youll get on quite well without it.
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL. Only, Clara is so down on me if I am not positively reeking with the latest slang. Good-bye.
PICKERING. Good-bye [They shake hands].
MRS. EYNSFORD HILL [to Mrs. Higgins] Thank you, dear, for a most exciting afternoon. Good-bye. [She goes out].
HIGGINS [eagerly] Well? Is Eliza presentable? [He swoops on his mother and drags her to the ottoman, where she sits down in Liza's place with her son on her left]
Pickering returns to his chair on her right.
MRS. HIGGINS. You silly boy, of course shes not presentable. Shes a triumph of your art and of her dressmaker's; but if you suppose for a moment that she doesnt give herself away in every sentence she utters, you must be perfectly cracked about her. And now tell me, Colonel Pickering: what is the exact state of things in Wimpole Street?
PICKERING [cheerfully: as if this completely changed the subject] Well, I have come to live there with Henry. We work together at my Indian Dialects; and we think it more convenient--
MRS. HIGGINS. Quite so. I know all about that: it's an excellent arrangement. But where does this girl live?
HIGGINS. With us, of course. Where s h o u l d she live?
MRS. HIGGINS. But on what terms? Is she a servant? If not, what is she?
PICKERING [slowly] I think I know what you mean, Mrs. Higgins.
HIGGINS. Well, dash me if I do! Ive had to work at the girl every day for months to get her to her present pitch. Besides, shes useful. She knows where my things are, and remembers my appointments and so forth.
MRS. HIGGINS. How does your housekeeper get on with her?
HIGGINS. Mrs. Pearce? Oh, shes jolly glad to get so much taken off her hands; for before Eliza came, she used to have to find things and remind me of my appointments. But shes got some silly bee in her bonnet about Eliza. She keeps saying "You dont think, sir": doesnt she, Pick?
PICKERING. Yes: thats the formula. "You dont think, sir." Thats the end of every conversation about Eliza.
HIGGINS. As if I ever stop thinking about the girl and her confounded vowels and consonants. I'm worn out, thinking about her, and watching her lips and her teeth and her tongue, not to mention her soul, which is the quaintest of the lot.
MRS. HIGGINS. You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.
HIGGINS. Playing! The hardest job I ever tackled: make no mistake about that, mother. But you have no idea how frightfully interesting it is to take a human being and change her into a quite different human being by creating a new speech for her. It's filling up the deepest gulf that separates class from class and soul from soul.
PICKERING [drawing his chair closer to Mrs. Higgins and bending over to her eagerly] Yes: it's enormously interesting. I assure you, Mrs. Higgins, we take Eliza very seriously. Every week -- every day almost -- there is some new change. [Closer again] We keep records of every stage -- dozens of gramophone disks and photographs--
HIGGINS [assailing her at the other ear] Yes, by George: it's the most absorbing experiment I ever tackled. She regularly fills our lives up; doesnt she, Pick?
PICKERING. We're always talking Eliza.
HIGGINS. Teaching Eliza.
PICKERING. Dressing Eliza.
MRS. HIGGINS. What!
HIGGINS. Inventing new Elizas.
[Higgins and Pickering speaking together].
HIGGINS. You know, she has the most extraordinary quickness of ear:
PICKERING. I assure you, my dear Mrs. Higgins, that girl
HIGGINS. just like a parrot. Ive tried her with every
PICKERING. is a genius. She can play the piano quite beautifully.
HIGGINS. possible sort of sound that a human being can make--
PICKERING. We have taken her to classical concerts and to music
HIGGINS. Continental dialects, African dialects, Hottentot
PICKERING. halls; and its all the same to her: she plays everything
HIGGINS. clicks, things it took me years to get hold of; and
PICKERING. she hears right off when she comes home, whether it's
HIGGINS. she picks them up like a shot, right away, as if she had
PICKERING. Beethoven and Brahms or Lehar and Lionel Monckton;
HIGGINS. been at it all her life.
PICKERING. though six months ago, she'd never as much as touched a piano--
MRS. HIGGINS [putting her fingers in her ears, as they are by this time shouting one another down with an intolerable noise] Sh-sh-sh—sh! [They stop].
PICKERING. I beg your pardon. [He draws his chair back apologetically].
HIGGINS. Sorry. When Pickering starts shouting nobody can get a word in edgeways.
MRS. HIGGINS. Be quiet, Henry. Colonel Pickering: dont you realize that when Eliza walked into Wimpole Street, something walked in with her?
PICKERING. Her father did. But Henry soon got rid of him.
MRS. HIGGINS. It would have been more to the point if her mother had. But as her mother didnt something else did.
PICKERING. But what?
MRS. HIGGINS [unconsciously dating herself by the word] A problem.
PICKERING. Oh, I see. The problem of how to pass her off as a lady.
HIGGINS. I'll solve that problem. Ive half solved it already.
MRS. HIGGINS. No, you two infinitely stupid male creatures: the problem of what is to be done with her afterwards.
HIGGINS. I dont see anything in that. She can go her own way, with all the advantages I have given her.
MRS. HIGGINS. The advantages of that poor woman who was here just now! The manners and habits that disqualify a fine lady from earning her own living without giving her a fine lady's income! Is that what you mean?
PICKERING [indulgently, being rather bored] Oh, that will be all right, Mrs. Higgins. [He rises to go].
HIGGINS [rising also] We'll find her some light employment.
PICKERING. Shes happy enough. Dont you worry about her. Good-bye. [He shakes hands as if he were consoling a frightened child, and makes for the door].
HIGGINS. Anyhow, theres no good bothering now. The things done. Good-bye, mother. [He kisses her, and follows Pickering].
PICKERING [turning for a final consolation] There are plenty of openings. We'll do whats right. Good-bye.
HIGGINS [to Pickering as they go out together] Let's take her to the Shakespear exhibition at Earls Court.
PICKERING. Yes: lets. Her remarks will be delicious.
HIGGINS. She'll mimic all the people for us when we get home.
PICKERING. Ripping. [Both are heard laughing as they go downstairs].
MRS. HIGGINS [rises with an impatient bounce, and returns to her work at the writing-table. She sweeps a litter of disarranged papers out of her way; snatches a sheet of paper from her stationery case; and tries resolutely to write. At the third line she gives it up; flings down her pen; grips the table angrily and exclaims] Oh, men! men!! men!!!
The street before an embassy in London one summer evening after dark. The hall door has an awning and a carpet across the sidewalk to the kerb, because a grand reception is in progress. A small crowd is lined up to see the guests arrive.
A Rolls-Royce car drives up. Pickering in evening dress, with medals and orders, alights, and hands out Liza, in opera cloak, evening dress, diamonds, fan, flowers and all accessories. Higgins follows. The car drives off: and the three go up the steps and into the house, the door opening for them as they approach.
Inside the house. A spacious hall from which the grand staircase rises. One the left are the arrangements for the gentlemen’s cloaks. The male guests are depositing their hats and wraps there.
On the right is a door leading to the ladies’ cloakroom. Ladies are going in cloaked and going out in splendor. Pickering whispers to Liza, and points out the ladies’ room. She goes into it. Higgins and Pickering take off their overcoats and take tickets for them from the attendant.
One of the guests, occupied in the same way, has his back turned. Having taken his ticket, he turns round and reveals himself as an important looking young man with an astonishingly hairy face. He has an enormous moustache, flowing out into luxuriant whiskers. Waves of hair cluster on his brow. His hair is cropped closely at the back, and glows with oil. Otherwise he is very smart. He wears several worthless orders. He is evidently a foreigner, guessable as a whiskered Pandour from Hungary; but in spite of the ferocity of his moustache he is amiable and genially voluble.
Recognizing Higgins, he flings his arms wide apart and approaches him enthusiastically.
WHISKERS. Maestro, maestro. [He embraces Higgins and kisses him on both cheeks]. You remember me?
HIGGINS. No I dont. Who the devil are you?
WHISKERS. I am your pupil: your first pupil, your best and greatest pupil. I am little Nepommuck, the marvellous boy. I have made your name famous throughout Europe. You teach me phonetic. You cannot forget ME.
HIGGINS. Why dont you shave?
NEPOMMUCK. I have not your imposing appearance, your chin, your brow. Nobody notice me when I shave. Now I am famous: they call me Hairy Faced Dick.
HIGGINS. And what are you doing here among all these swells?
NEPOMMUCK. I am interpreter. I speak 32 languages. I am indispensable at these international parties. You are great cockney specialist: you place a man anywhere in London the moment he open his mouth. I place any man in Europe.
A footman hurries down the great staircase and comes to Nepommuck.
FOOTMAN. You are wanted upstairs. Her Excellency cannot understand the Greek gentleman.
NEPOMMUCK. Thank you, yes, immediately.
The footman goes and is lost in the crowd.
NEPOMMUCK [to Higgins] This Greek diplomatist pretends he cannot speak or understand English. He cannot deceive me. He is the son of a Clerkenwell watchmaker. He speaks English so villainously that he dare not utter a word of it without betraying his origin. I help him to pretend; but I make him pay through the nose. I make them all pay. Ha Ha! [He hurries upstairs].
PICKERING. Is this fellow really an expert? Can he find out Eliza and blackmail her?
HIGGINS. We shall see. If he finds her out I lose my bet.
Liza comes from the cloakroom and joins them.
PICKERING. Well, Eliza, now for it. Are you ready?
LIZA. Are you nervous, Colonel?
PICKERING. Frightfully. I feel exactly as I felt before my first battle. It’s the first time that frightens.
LIZA. It’s not the first time for me, Colonel. I have done this fifty times -- hundreds of times -- in my little piggery in Angel Court in my day-dreams. I am in a dream now. Promise me not to let Professor Higgins wake me; for if he does I shall forget everything and talk as I used to in Drury Lane.
PICKERING. Not a word, Higgins. [To Liza] Now, ready?
They mount the stairs, Higgins last. Pickering whispers to the footman on the first landing.
FIRST LANDING FOOTMAN. Miss Doolittle, Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins.
SECOND LANDING FOOTMAN. Miss Doolittle, Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins.
At the top of the staircase the Ambassador and his wife, with Nepommuck at her elbow, are receiving.
HOSTESS [taking Liza’s hand] How d’ye do?
HOST [same play] How d’ye do? How d’ye do, Pickering?
LIZA [with a beautiful gravity that awes her hostess] How do you do? [She passes on to the drawingroom].
HOSTESS. Is that your adopted daughter, Pickering? She will make a sensation.
PICKERING. Most kind of you to invite her for me. [He passes on].
HOSTESS [to Nepommuck] Find out all about her.
NEPOMMUCK [bowing] Excellency -- [he goes into the crowd].
HOST. How d’ye do, Higgins? You have a rival here tonight. He introduced himself as your pupil. Is he any good?
HIGGINS. He can learn a language in a fortnight -- knows dozens of them. A sure mark of a fool. As a phonetician, no good whatever.
HOSTESS. How d’ye do, Professor?
HIGGINS. How do you do? Fearful bore for you this sort of thing. Forgive my part in it. [He passes on].
The drawing room and its suite of salons. The reception is in full swing. Liza passes through. She is so intent on her ordeal that she walks like a somnambulist in a desert instead of a debutante in a fashionable crowd. They stop talking to look at her, admiring her dress, her jewels, and her strangely attractive self. Some of the younger ones at her back stand on their chairs to see.
The Host and Hostess come in from the staircase and mingle with their guests. Higgins, gloomy and contemptuous of the whole business, comes into the group where they are all chatting.
HOSTESS. Ah, here is Professor Higgins: he will tell us. Tell us about the wonderful young lady, Professor.
HIGGINS [almost morosely] What wonderful young lady?
HOSTESS. You know very well. They tell me there has been nothing like her in London since people stood on their chairs to look at Mrs Langtry.
Nepommuck joins the group, full of news.
HOSTESS. Ah, here you are at last, Nepommuck. Have you found out all about the Doolittle lady?
NEPOMMUCK. I have found out all about her. She is a fraud.
HOSTESS. A fraud! Oh no.
NEPOMMUCK. YES, yes. She cannot deceive me. Her name cannot be Doolittle.
NEPOMMUCK. Because Doolittle is an English name. And she is not English.
HOSTESS. Oh, nonsense! She speaks English perfectly.
NEPOMMUCK. Too perfectly. Can you shew me any English woman who speaks English as it should be spoken? Only foreigners who have been taught to speak it speak it well.
HOSTESS. She certainly terrified me by the way she said How d’ye do. I had a schoolmistress who talked like that; and I was mortally afraid of her. But if she is not English what is she?
ALL THE REST. Hungarian!
NEPOMMUCK. Hungarian. And of royal blood. I am Hungarian. My blood is royal.
HIGGINS. Did you speak to her in Hungarian?
NEPOMMUCK. I did. She was very clever. She said “Please speak to me in English; I do not understand French.” French! She pretends not to know the difference between Hungarian and French. Impossible: she knows both.
HIGGINS. And the royal blood? How did you find that out?
NEPOMMUCK. Instinct, maestro, instinct. Only the Magyar races can produce that air of the divine right, those resolute eyes. She is a princess.
HOST. What do you say, Professor?
HIGGINS. I say an ordinary London girl out of the gutter and taught to speak by an expert. I place her in Drury Lane.
NEPOMMUCK. Ha ha ha! Oh, maestro, maestro, you are mad on the subject of cockney dialects. The London gutter is the whole world for you.
HIGGINS [to the Hostess] What does your Excellency say?
HOSTESS. Oh, of course, I agree with Nepommuck. She must be a princess at least.
HOST. Not necessarily legitimate, of course. Morganistic perhaps. But that is undoubtedly her class.
HIGGINS. I stick to my opinion.
HOSTESS. Oh, you are incorrigible.
The group breaks up, leaving Higgins isolated. Pickering joins him.
PICKERING. Where is Eliza? We must keep an eye on her.
Liza joins them.
LIZA. I dont think I can bear much more. The people all stare so at me. An old lady has just told me that I speak exactly like Queen Victoria. I am sorry if I have lost your bet. I have done my best; but nothing can make me the same as these people.
PICKERING. You have not lost it, my dear. You have won it ten times over.
HIGGINS. Let us get out of this. I have had enough of chattering to these fools.
PICKERING. Eliza is tired; and I am hungry. Let us clear out and have supper somewhere.
The scene fades as the three make for the stairs.
The Wimpole Street laboratory, Midnight. Nobody in the room. The clock on the mantelpiece strikes twelve. The fire is not alight: it is a summer night.
Presently Higgins and Pickering are heard on the stars.
HIGGINS [calling down to Pickering] I say, Pick: lock up, will you. I shant be going out again.
PICKERING. Right. Can Mrs. Pearce go to bed? We dont want anything more, do we?
HIGGINS. Lord, no!
Liza opens the door and is seen on the lighted landing in opera cloak, brilliant evening dress, and diamonds, with fan, flowers, and all accessories. She comes to the hearth, and switches on the electric lights there. She is tired: her pallor contrasts strongly with her dark eyes and hair; and her expression is almost tragic. She takes off her cloak; puts her fan and flowers on the piano; and sits down on the bench, brooding and silent. Higgins, in evening dress, with overcoat and hat, comes in, carrying a smoking jacket which he has picked up downstairs. He takes off the hat and overcoat; throws them carelessly on the newspaper stand; disposes of his coat in the same way; puts on the smoking jacket; and throws himself wearily into the easy-chair at the hearth. Pickering, similarly attired, comes in. He also takes off his hat and overcoat, and is about to throw them on Higgins's when he hesitates.
PICKERING. I say: Mrs. Pearce will row if we leave these things lying about in the drawing-room.
HIGGINS. Oh, chuck them over the bannisters into the hall. She'll find them there in the morning and put them away all right. She'll think we were drunk.
PICKERING. We are, slightly. Are there any letters?
HIGGINS. I didnt look. [Pickering takes the overcoats and hats and goes down stairs. Higgins begins half singing half yawning an air from La Fanciulla del Golden West. Suddenly he stops and exclaims] I wonder where the devil my slippers are!
Liza looks at him darkly; then rises suddenly and leaves the room.
Higgins yawns again, and resumes his song.
Pickering returns, with the contents of the letter-box in his hand.
PICKERING. Only circulars, and this coroneted billet-doux for you. [He throws the circulars into the fender, and posts himself on the hearthrug, with his back to the grate].
HIGGINS [glancing at the billet-doux] Money-lender. [He throws the letter after the circulars].
Liza returns with a pair of large down-at-heel slippers. She places them on the carpet before Higgins, and sits as before without a word.
HIGGINS [yawning again] Oh Lord! What an evening! What a crew! What a silly tomfoolery! [He raises his shoe to unlace it, and catches sight of the slippers. He stops unlacing and looks at them as if they had appeared there of their own accord]. Oh! theyre there, are they?
PICKERING [stretching himself] Well, I feel a bit tired. It's been a long day. The garden party, a dinner party, and the opera! Rather too much of a good thing. But youve won your bet, Higgins. Eliza did the trick, and something to spare, eh?
HIGGINS [fervently] Thank God it's over!
Liza flinches violently; but they take no notice of her; and she recovers herself and sits stonily as before.
PICKERING. Were you nervous at the garden party? I was. Eliza didnt seem a bit nervous.
HIGGINS. Oh, she wasnt nervous. I knew she'd be all right. No: it's the strain of putting the job through all these months that has told on me. It was interesting enough at first, while we were at the phonetics; but after that I got deadly sick of it. If I hadnt backed myself to do it I should have chucked the whole thing up two months ago. It was a silly notion: the whole thing has been a bore.
PICKERING. Oh come! the garden party was frightfully exciting. My heart began beating like anything.
HIGGINS. Yes, for the first three minutes. But when I saw we were going to win hands down, I felt like a bear in a cage, hanging about doing nothing. The dinner was worse: sitting gorging there for over an hour, with nobody but a damned fool of a fashionable woman to talk to! I tell you, Pickering, never again for me. No more artificial duchesses. The whole thing has been simple purgatory.
PICKERING. Youve never been broken in properly to the social routine. [Strolling over to the piano] I rather enjoy dipping into it occasionally myself: it makes me feel young again. Anyhow, it was a great success: an immense success. I was quite frightened once or twice because Eliza was doing it so well. You see, lots of the real people cant do it at all: theyre such fools that they think style comes by nature to people in their position; and so they never learn. Theres always something professional about doing a thing superlatively well.
HIGGINS. Yes: thats what drives me mad: the silly people dont know their own silly business. [Rising] However, it's over and done with; and now I can go to bed at last without dreading tomorrow.
Liza's beauty becomes murderous.
PICKERING. I think I shall turn in too. Still, it's been a great occasion: a triumph for you. Good-night. [He goes].
HIGGINS [following him] Good-night. [Over his shoulder, at the door] Put out the lights, Eliza; and tell Mrs. Pearce not to make coffee for me in the morning: I'll take tea. [He goes out].
Liza tries to control herself and feel indifferent as she rises and walks across to the hearth to switch off the lights. By the time she gets there she is on the point of screaming. She sits down in Higgins's chair and holds on hard to the arms. Finally she gives way and flings herself furiously on the floor raging.
HIGGINS [in despairing wrath outside] What the devil have I done with my slippers? [He appears at the door].
LIZA [snatching up the slippers, and hurling them at him one after the other with all her force] There are your slippers. And there. Take your slippers; and may you never have a day's luck with them!
HIGGINS [astounded] What on earth--! [He comes to her]. Whats the matter? Get up. [He pulls her up]. Anything wrong?
LIZA [breathless] Nothing wrong -- with y o u. Ive won your bet for you, havnt I? Thats enough for you. I dont matter, I suppose.
HIGGINS. Y o u won my bet! You! Presumptuous insect! I won it. What did you throw those slippers at me for?
LIZA. Because I wanted to smash your face. I'd like to kill you, you selfish brute. Why didnt you leave me where you picked me out of—in the gutter? You thank God it's all over, and that now you can throw me back again there, do you? [She crisps her fingers frantically].
HIGGINS [looking at her in cool wonder] The creature is nervous, after all.
LIZA [gives a suffocated scream of fury, and instinctively darts her nails at his face] !!
HIGGINS [catching her wrists] Ah! would you? Claws in, you cat. How dare you shew your temper to me? Sit down and be quiet. [He throws her roughly into the easy-chair].
LIZA [crushed by superior strength and weight] Whats to become of me? Whats to become of me?
HIGGINS. How the devil do I know whats to become of you? What does it matter what becomes of you?
LIZA. You dont care. I know you dont care. You wouldnt care if I was dead. I'm nothing to you -- not so much as them slippers.
HIGGINS [thundering] T h o s e slippers.
LIZA [with bitter submission] Those slippers. I didnt think it made any difference now.
A pause. Eliza hopeless and crushed. Higgins a little uneasy.
HIGGINS [in his loftiest manner] Why have you begun going on like this? May I ask whether you complain of your treatment here?
HIGGINS. Has anybody behaved badly to you? Colonel Pickering? Mrs. Pearce? Any of the servants?
HIGGINS. I presume you dont pretend that I have treated you badly.
HIGGINS. I am glad to hear it. [He moderates his tone]. Perhaps youre tired after the strain of the day. Will you have a glass of champagne? [He moves towards the door].
LIZA. No. [Recollecting her manners] Thank you.
HIGGINS [good-humored again] This has been coming on you for some days. I suppose it was natural for you to be anxious about the garden party. But thats all over now. [He pats her kindly on the shoulder. She writhes]. Theres nothing more to worry about.
LIZA. No. Nothing more for y o u to worry about. [She suddenly rises and gets away from him by going to the piano bench, where she sits and hides her face]. Oh God! I wish I was dead.
HIGGINS [staring after her in sincere surprise] Why? in heaven's name, why? [Reasonably, going to her] Listen to me, Eliza. All this irritation is purely subjective.
LIZA. I dont understand. I'm too ignorant.
HIGGINS. It's only imagination. Low spirits and nothing else. Nobody's hurting you. Nothing's wrong. You go to bed like a good girl and sleep it off. Have a little cry and say your prayers: that will make you comfortable.
LIZA. I heard y o u r prayers. "Thank God it's all over!"
HIGGINS [impatiently] Well, dont you thank God it's all over? Now you are free and can do what you like.
LIZA [pulling herself together in desperation] What am I fit for? What have you left me fit for? Where am I to go? What am I to do? Whats to become of me?
HIGGINS [enlightened, but not at all impressed] Oh, thats whats 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 shouldnt bother about it if I were you. I should imagine you wont have much difficulty in settling yourself somewhere or other, though I hadnt 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 youre not bad-looking; it's quite a pleasure to look at you sometimes—not now, of course, because youre crying and looking as ugly as the very devil; but when youre all right and quite yourself, youre 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 wont feel so cheap.
Liza again looks at him, speechless, and does not stir.
The look is quite lost on him: he eats his apple with a dreamy expression of happiness, as it is quite a good one.
HIGGINS [a genial afterthought occurring to him] I daresay my mother could find some chap or other who would do very well.
LIZA. We were above that at the corner of Tottenham Court Road.
HIGGINS [waking up] What do you mean?
LIZA. I sold flowers. I didnt sell myself. Now youve made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else. I wish youd left me where you found me.
HIGGINS. [slinging the core of the apple decisively into the grate] Tosh, Eliza. Dont you insult human relations by dragging all this cant about buying and selling into it. You neednt marry the fellow if you dont like him.
LIZA. What else am I to do?
HIGGINS. Oh, lots of things. What about your old idea of a florist's shop? Pickering could set you up in one: hes lots of money. [Chuckling] He'll have to pay for all those togs you have been wearing today; and that, with the hire of the jewellery, will make a big hole in two hundred pounds. Why, six months ago you would have thought it the millennium to have a flower shop of your own. Come! youll be all right. I must clear off to bed: I'm devilish sleepy. By the way, I came down for something: I forget what it was.
LIZA. Your slippers.
HIGGINS. Oh yes, of course. You shied them at me. [He picks them up, and is going out when she rises and speaks to him].
LIZA. Before you go, sir--
HIGGINS [dropping the slippers in his surprise at her calling him Sir] Eh?
LIZA. Do my clothes belong to me or to Colonel Pickering?
HIGGINS [coming back into the room as if her question were the very climax of unreason] What the devil use would they be to Pickering?
LIZA. He might want them for the next girl you pick up to experiment on.
HIGGINS [shocked and hurt] Is t h a t the way you feel towards us?
LIZA. I dont want to hear anything more about that. All I want to know is whether anything belongs to me. My own clothes were burnt.
HIGGINS. But what does it matter? Why need you start bothering about that in the middle of the night?
LIZA. I want to know what I may take away with me. I dont want to be accused of stealing.
HIGGINS [now deeply wounded] Stealing! You shouldnt have said that, Eliza. That shews a want of feeling.
LIZA. I'm sorry. I'm only a common ignorant girl; and in my station I have to be careful. There cant be any feelings between the like of you and the like of me. Please will you tell me what belongs to me and what doesn't?
HIGGINS [very sulky] You may take the whole damned houseful if you like. Except the jewels. Theyre hired. Will that satisfy you? [He turns on his heel and is about to go in extreme dudgeon].
LIZA [drinking in his emotion like nectar, and nagging him to provoke a further supply] Stop, please. [She takes off her jewels]. Will you take these to your room and keep them safe? I dont want to run the risk of their being missing.
HIGGINS [furious] Hand them over. [She puts them into his hands]. If these belonged to me instead of to the jeweler, I'd ram them down your ungrateful throat. [He perfunctorily thrusts them into his pockets, unconsciously decorating himself with the protruding ends of the chains].
LIZA [taking a ring off] This ring isnt the jeweler's: it's the one you bought me in Brighton. I dont want it now. [Higgins dashes the ring violently into the fireplace, and turns on her so threateningly that she crouches over the piano with her hands over her face, and exclaims] Dont you hit me.
HIGGINS. Hit you! You infamous creature, how dare you accuse me of such a thing? It is you who have hit me. You have wounded me to the heart.
LIZA [thrilling with hidden joy] I'm glad. Ive got a little of my own back, anyhow.
HIGGINS [with dignity, in his finest professional style] You have caused me to lose my temper: a thing that has hardly ever happened to me before. I prefer to say nothing more tonight. I am going to bed.
LIZA [pertly] Youd better leave a note for Mrs. Pearce about the coffee; for she wont be told by me.
HIGGINS [formally] Damn Mrs. Pearce; and damn the coffee; and damn you; and damn my own folly in having lavished hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe. [He goes out with impressive decorum, and spoils it by slamming the door savagely].
Liza goes down on her knees on the hearthrug to look for the ring. When she finds it she considers for a moment what to do with it. Finally she flings it down on the dessert stand and goes upstairs in a tearing rage.
The stairs. Liza going up to her room.
The landing. Liza goes into her room.
The bedroom as before, except that its furniture has been increased by a big wardrobe and a sumptuous dressing-table.
Liza comes in and switches on the electric light. She goes to the wardrobe; opens it; and pulls out a walking dress, a hat, and a pair of shoes, which she throws on the bed. She takes off her evening dress and shoes; then takes a padded hanger from the wardrobe; adjusts it carefully in the evening dress; and hangs it in the wardrobe, which she shuts with a slam. She puts on her walking shoes, her walking dress, and hat. She takes her wrist-watch from the dressing-table and fastens it on. She pulls on her gloves; takes her vanity bag; and looks into it to see that her purse is there before hanging it on her wrist. She makes for the door.
She takes a last look at herself in the glass.
Close-up of her reflection in the glass, registering fierce resentment and determination.
She suddenly puts out her tongue at herself.
The bedroom. She leaves the room, ready equipped for going out. At the door she puts out the electric light. Blackout.
Exterior of the house. Freddy, in evening dress and overcoat, is at the railings, gazing up at the second floor, in which one of the windows is still lighted.
The light goes out.
FREDDY. Goodnight, darling, darling, darling.
The hall door steps. The fanlight flares up. The door opens; and Liza appears. She puts out the fanlight; comes out on the steps; and closes the door, giving it a considerable bang behind her.
At the railings, closer up. Liza finds Freddy there.
LIZA. Whatever are you doing here?
FREDDY. Nothing. I spend most of my nights here. It’s the only place where I’m happy. Dont laugh at me, Miss Doolittle.
LIZA. Dont you call me Miss Doolittle, do you hear? Liza’s good enough for me. [She breaks down and grabs him by the shoulders]. Freddy: you don’t think I’m a heartless guttersnipe, do you?
FREDDY. Oh no, no, darling: how can you imagine such a thing? You are the loveliest, dearest--
He loses all self-control and smothers her with kisses. She, hungry for comfort, responds. They stand there in one another’s arms.
An elderly police constable arrives.
CONSTABLE [scandalized] Now then! Now then!! Now then!!!
They release one another hastily.
FREDDY. Sorry, constable. Weve only just become engaged.
They run away.
The constable shakes his head, reflecting on his own courtship and on the vanity of human hopes. He moves off in the opposite direction with slow professional steps.
Freddy and Liza halt to consider their next move.
LIZA. [out of breath] He didnt half give me a fright, that copper. But you answered him proper.
FREDDY. I hope I havnt taken you out of your way. Where were you going?
LIZA. To the river.
FREDDY. What for?
LIZA. To make a hole in it.
FREDDY. Eliza, darling. What do you mean? Whats the matter?
LIZA. Never mind. It doesnt matter now. Theres nobody in the world now but you and me, is there?
FREDDY. Not a soul.
They indulge in another embrace, and are again surprised by a much younger constable.
SECOND CONSTABLE. Now then, you two! Whats this? Where do you think you are? Move along here, double quick.
FREDDY. As you say, sir. Double quick. [They run away].
Liza and Freddy rush in and stop for breath.
FREDDY. I had no idea the police were so devilishly prudish.
LIZA. It’s their business to hunt girls off the streets.
FREDDY. We must go somewhere. We cant wander about the streets all night.
LIZA. Cant we? I think it’d be lovely to wander about forever.
FREDDY. Oh, darling.
They embrace again, oblivious of the arrival of a crawling taxi. It stops.
TAXIMAN. Can I drive you and the lady anywhere, sir?
They start asunder.
LIZA. Oh, Freddy, a taxi. The very thing.
FREDDY. But, damn it, Ive no money.
LIZA. I have plenty. The Colonel thinks you should never go out without ten pounds in your pocket. Listen. We’ll drive about all night; and in the morning I’ll call on old Mrs Higgins and ask her what I ought to do. I’ll tell you all about it in the cab. And the police wont touch us there.
FREDDY. Righto! Ripping. [To the Taximan] Wimbledon Common.
He follows Liza into the cab. They drive off.
Mrs. Higgins's drawing-room. She is at her writing-table as before. The parlor-maid comes in.
THE PARLOR-MAID [at the door] Mr. Henry, maam, is downstairs with Colonel Pickering.
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, shew them up.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr. Henry's in a state, maam. I thought I'd better tell you.
MRS. HIGGINS. If you had told me that Mr. Henry was not in a state it would have been more surprising. Go upstairs and tell Miss Doolittle that Mr. Henry and the Colonel are here. Ask her not to come down till I send for her.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, maam.
Higgins bursts in. He is, as the parlor-maid has said, in a state.
HIGGINS. Look here, mother: heres a confounded thing!
MRS. HIGGINS. Yes, dear. Good-morning. [He checks his impatience and kisses her, whilst the parlor-maid goes out]. What is it?
HIGGINS. Eliza's bolted.
MRS. HIGGINS [calmly continuing her writing] You must have frightened her.
HIGGINS. Frightened her! nonsense! She was left last night, as usual, to turn out the lights and all that; and instead of going to bed she changed her clothes and went right off: her bed wasnt slept in. She came in a cab for her things before seven this morning; and that fool Mrs. Pearce let her have them without telling me a word about it. What am I to do?
MRS. HIGGINS. Do without, I'm afraid, Henry. The girl has a perfect right to leave if she chooses.
HIGGINS [wandering distractedly across the room] But I cant find anything. I dont know what appointments Ive got. I'm-- [Pickering comes in. Mrs. Higgins puts down her pen and turns away from the writing-table].
PICKERING [shaking hands] Good-morning, Mrs. Higgins. Has Henry told you?
The parlor-maid comes in and breaks off the conversation.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr. Henry: a gentleman wants to see you very particular. Hes been sent on from Wimpole Street.
HIGGINS. Oh, bother! I cant see anyone now. Who is it?
THE PARLOR-MAID. A Mr. Doolittle, sir.
PICKERING. Doolittle! Do you mean the dustman?
THE PARLOR-MAID. Dustman! Oh no, sir: a gentleman.
HIGGINS [springing up excitedly] By George, Pick, it's some relative of hers that shes gone to. Somebody we know nothing about. [To the parlor-maid] Send him up, quick.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, sir. [She goes].
HIGGINS [eagerly, going to his mother] Genteel relatives! now we shall hear something. [He sits down in the Chippendale chair].
MRS. HIGGINS. Do you know any of her people?
PICKERING. Only her father: the fellow we told you about.
THE PARLOR-MAID [announcing] Mr. Doolittle. [She withdraws].
Doolittle enters. He is resplendently dressed as for a fashionable wedding, and might, in fact, be the bridegroom. A flower in his buttonhole, a dazzling silk hat, and patent leather shoes complete the effect. He is too concerned with the business he has come on to notice Mrs. Higgins. He walks straight to Higgins, and accosts him with vehement reproach.
DOOLITTLE [indicating his own person] See here! Do you see this? Y o u done this.
HIGGINS. Done what, man?
DOOLITTLE. This, I tell you. Look at it. Look at this hat. Look at this coat.
PICKERING. Has Eliza been buying you clothes?
DOOLITTLE. Eliza! not she. Not half. Why would she buy me clothes?
MRS. HIGGINS. Good-morning, Mr. Doolittle. Wont you sit down?
DOOLITTLE [taken aback as he becomes conscious that he has forgotten his hostess] Asking your pardon, maam. [He approaches her and shakes her proffered hand]. Thank you. [He sits down on the ottoman, on Pickering's right]. I am that full of what has happened to me that I cant think of anything else.
HIGGINS. What the dickens h a s happened to you?
DOOLITTLE. I shouldnt mind if it had only h a p p e n e d to me: anything might happen to anybody and nobody to blame but Providence, as you might say. But this is something that y o u done to me: yes, y o u, Henry Higgins.
HIGGINS. Have you found Eliza? Thats the point.
DOOLITTLE. Have you lost her?
DOOLITTLE. You have all the luck, you have. I aint found her; but she'll find me quick enough now after what you done to me.
MRS. HIGGINS. But what has my son done to you, Mr. Doolittle?
DOOLITTLE. Done to me! Ruined me. Destroyed my happiness. Tied me up and delivered me into the hands of middle class morality.
HIGGINS [rising intolerantly and standing over Doolittle] Youre raving. Youre drunk. Youre mad. I gave you five pounds. After that I had two conversations with you, at half-a-crown an hour. Ive never seen you since.
DOOLITTLE. Oh! Drunk! am I? Mad! am I? Tell me this. Did you or did you not write a letter to an old blighter in America that was giving five millions to found Moral Reform Societies all over the world, and that wanted you to invent a universal language for him?
HIGGINS. What! Ezra D. Wannafeller! Hes dead. [He sits down again carelessly].
DOOLITTLE. Yes: hes dead; and I'm done for. Now did you or did you not write a letter to him to say that the most original moralist at present in England, to the best of your knowledge, was Alfred Doolittle, a common dustman.
HIGGINS. Oh, after your last visit I remember making some silly joke of the kind.
DOOLITTLE. Ah! you may well call it a silly joke. It put the lid on me right enough. Just give him the chance he wanted to shew that Americans is not like us: that they recognize and respect merit in every class of life, however humble. Them words is in his blooming will, in which, Henry Higgins, thanks to your silly joking, he leaves me a share in his Predigested Cheese Trust worth three thousand a year on condition that I lecture for his Wannafeller Moral Reform World League as often as they ask me up to six times a year.
HIGGINS. The devil he does! Whew! [Brightening suddenly] What a lark!
PICKERING. A safe thing for you, Doolittle. They wont ask you twice.
DOOLITTLE. It aint 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 worrited; 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 cant 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 hadnt a relative in the world except two or three that wouldnt speak to me. Now Ive fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have to live for others and not for myself: thats middle class morality. You talk of losing Eliza. Dont you be anxious: I bet shes on my doorstep by this: she that could support herself easy by selling flowers if I wasnt respectable. And the next one to touch me will be you, Henry Higgins. I'll have to learn to speak middle class language from you, instead of speaking proper English. Thats where youll come in; and I daresay thats what you done it for.
MRS. HIGGINS. I think this solves the problem of Eliza's future. You can provide for her now.
HIGGINS [jumping up] Nonsense! he cant provide for her. He shant provide for her. She doesnt belong to him. I paid him five pounds for her. Doolittle: either youre an honest man or a rogue.
DOOLITTLE [tolerantly] A little of both, Henry, like the rest of us: a little of both.
HIGGINS. Well, you took that money for the girl; and you have no right to take her as well.
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry: dont be absurd. If you really want to know where Eliza is, she is upstairs.
HIGGINS [amazed] Upstairs!!! Then I shall jolly soon fetch her downstairs. [He makes resolutely for the door].
MRS. HIGGINS [rising and following him] Be quiet, Henry. Sit down.
MRS. HIGGINS. Sit down, dear; and listen to me.
HIGGINS. Oh very well, very well, very well. [He throws himself ungraciously on the ottoman, with his face towards the windows]. But I think you might have told me this half an hour ago.
MRS. HIGGINS. Eliza came to me this morning. She told me of the brutal way you two treated her.
HIGGINS [bounding up again] What!
PICKERING [rising also] My dear Mrs. Higgins, shes been telling you stories. We didnt treat her brutally. We hardly said a word to her; and we parted on particularly good terms.
HIGGINS. We said nothing except that we were tired and wanted to go to bed. Did we, Pick?
PICKERING [shrugging his shoulders] That was all.
MRS. HIGGINS [ironically] Quite sure?
PICKERING. Absolutely. Really, that was all.
MRS. HIGGINS. You didn't thank her, or pet her, or admire her, or tell her how splendid she'd been.
HIGGINS [impatiently] But she knew all about that. We didnt make speeches to her, if thats what you mean.
PICKERING [conscience stricken] Perhaps we were a little inconsiderate. Is she very angry?
MRS. HIGGINS [returning to her place at the writing-table] Well, I'm afraid she wont go back to Wimpole Street, especially now that Mr. Doolittle is able to keep up the position you have thrust on her; but she says she is quite willing to meet you on friendly terms and to let bygones be bygones.
HIGGINS [furious] Is she, by George? Ho!
MRS. HIGGINS. If you promise to behave yourself, Henry, I'll ask her to come down. If not, go home; for you have taken up quite enough of my time.
HIGGINS. Oh, all right. Very well. Pick: you behave yourself. Let us put on our best Sunday manners for this creature that we picked out of the mud. [He flings himself sulkily into the Elizabethan chair].
MRS. HIGGINS. Remember your promise, Henry. [She presses the bell-button on the writing-table]. Mr. Doolittle: will you be so good as to step out on the balcony for a moment. I dont want Eliza to have the shock of your news until she has made it up with these two gentlemen. Would you mind?
DOOLITTLE. As you wish, lady. Anything to help Henry to keep her off my hands. [He disappears through the window].
The parlor-maid answers the bell. Pickering sits down in Doolittle's place.
MRS. HIGGINS. Ask Miss Doolittle to come down, please.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, maam. [She goes out].
MRS. HIGGINS. Now, Henry: be good.
HIGGINS. I am behaving myself perfectly.
PICKERING. He is doing his best, Mrs. Higgins.
Liza enters, sunny, self-possessed, and giving a staggeringly convincing exhibition of ease of manner. She carries a little work-basket, and is very much at home. Pickering is too much taken aback to rise.
LIZA. How do you do, Professor Higgins? Are you quite well?
HIGGINS [choking] Am I-- [He can say no more].
LIZA. But of course you are: you are never ill. So glad to see you again, Colonel Pickering. [He rises hastily; and they shake hands]. Quite chilly this morning, isnt it? [She sits down on his left. He sits beside her].
HIGGINS. Dont you dare try this game on me. I taught it to you; and it doesnt take me in. Get up and come home; and dont be a fool.
Liza takes a piece of needlework from her basket, and begins to stitch at it, without taking the least notice of this outburst.
MRS. HIGGINS. Very nicely put, indeed, Henry. No woman could resist such an invitation.
HIGGINS. You let her alone, mother. Let her speak for herself. You will jolly soon see whether she has an idea that I havnt put into her head or a word that I havnt put into her mouth. I tell you I have created this thing out of the squashed cabbage leaves of Covent Garden; and now she pretends to play the fine lady with me.
MRS. HIGGINS [placidly] Yes, dear; but youll sit down, wont you?
Higgins sits down again, savagely.
LIZA [to Pickering, taking no apparent notice of Higgins, and working away deftly] Will you drop me altogether now that the experiment is over, Colonel Pickering?
PICKERING. Oh dont. You mustnt think of it as an experiment. It shocks me, somehow.
LIZA. Oh, I'm only a squashed cabbage leaf--
PICKERING [impulsively] No.
LIZA [continuing quietly] -- but I owe so much to you that I should be very unhappy if you forgot me.
PICKERING. It's very kind of you to say so, Miss Doolittle.
LIZA. It's not because you paid for my dresses. I know you are generous to everybody with money. But it was from you that I learnt really nice manners; and that is what makes one a lady, isnt it? You see it was so very difficult for me with the example of Professor Higgins always before me. I was brought up to be just like him, unable to control myself, and using bad language on the slightest provocation. And I should never have known that ladies and gentlemen didnt behave like that if you hadnt been there.
PICKERING. Oh, thats only his way, you know. He doesnt mean it.
LIZA. Oh, I didnt mean it either, when I was a flower girl. It was only my way. But you see I did it; and thats what makes the difference after all.
PICKERING. No doubt. Still, he taught you to speak; and I couldnt have done that, you know.
LIZA [trivially] Of course: that is his profession.
LIZA [continuing] It was just like learning to dance in the fashionable way: there was nothing more than that in it. But do you know what began my real education?
LIZA [stopping her work for a moment] Your calling me Miss Doolittle that day when I first came to Wimpole Street. That was the beginning of self-respect for me. [She resumes her stitching]. And there were a hundred little things you never noticed, because they came naturally to you. Things about standing up and taking off your hat and opening door--
PICKERING. Oh, that was nothing.
LIZA. Yes: things that shewed you thought and felt about me as if I were something better than a scullery-maid; though of course I know you would have been just the same to a scullery-maid if she had been let in the drawing-room. You never took off your boots in the dining room when I was there.
PICKERING. You mustnt mind that. Higgins takes off his boots all over the place.
LIZA. I know. I am not blaming him. It is his way, isnt it? But it made such a difference to me that you didnt do it. You see, really and truly, apart from the things anyone can pick up (the dressing and the proper way of speaking, and so on), the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how shes treated. I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.
MRS. HIGGINS. Please dont grind your teeth, Henry.
PICKERING. Well, this is really very nice of you, Miss Doolittle.
LIZA. I should like you to call me Eliza, now, if you would.
PICKERING. Thank you. Eliza, of course.
LIZA. And I should like Professor Higgins to call me Miss Doolittle.
HIGGINS. I'll see you damned first.
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry! Henry!
PICKERING. Youre coming back to Wimpole Street, arnt you? Youll forgive Higgins?
HIGGINS [rising] Forgive! Will she, by George! Let her go. Let her find out how she can get on without us. She will relapse into the gutter in three weeks without me at her elbow.
Doolittle appears at the centre window. With a look of dignified reproach at Higgins, he comes slowly and silently to his daughter, who, with her back to the window, is unconscious of his approach.
PICKERING. Hes incorrigible, Eliza. You wont relapse, will you?
LIZA. No: Not now. Never again. I have learnt my lesson. I dont believe I could utter one of the old sounds if I tried. [Doolittle touches her on her left shoulder. She drops her work, losing her self-possession utterly at the spectacle of her father's splendor] A-a-a-a-a-ah-ow-ooh!
HIGGINS [with a crow of triumph] Aha! Just so. A-a-a-a-ahowooh! A-a-a-a-ahowooh! A-a-a-a-ahowooh! Victory! Victory! [He throws himself on the divan, folding his arms, and spraddling arrogantly].
DOOLITTLE. Can you blame the girl? Dont look at me like that, Eliza. It aint my fault. Ive come into some money.
LIZA. You must have touched a millionaire this time, dad.
DOOLITTLE. I have. But I'm dressed something special today. I'm going to St. George's, Hanover Square. Your stepmother is going to marry me.
LIZA [angrily] Youre going to let yourself down to marry that low common woman!
PICKERING [quietly] He ought to, Eliza. [To Doolittle] Why has she changed her mind?
DOOLITTLE [sadly] Intimidated, Governor. Intimidated. Middle class morality claims its victim. Wont you put on your hat, Liza, and come and see me turned off?
LIZA. If the Colonel says I must, I—I'll [almost sobbing] I'll demean myself. And get insulted for my pains, like enough.
DOOLITTLE. Dont be afraid: she never comes to words with anyone now, poor woman! respectability has broke all the spirit out of her.
PICKERING [squeezing Eliza's elbow gently] Be kind to them, Eliza. Make the best of it.
LIZA [forcing a little smile for him through her vexation] Oh well, just to shew theres no ill feeling. I'll be back in a moment. [She goes out].
DOOLITTLE [sitting down beside Pickering] I feel uncommon nervous about the ceremony, Colonel. I wish youd come and see me through it.
PICKERING. But youve been through it before, man. You were married to Eliza's mother.
DOOLITTLE. Who told you that, Colonel?
PICKERING. Well, nobody told me. But I concluded -- naturally --
DOOLITTLE. No: that aint the natural way, Colonel: it's only the middle class way. My way was always the undeserving way. But dont say nothing to Eliza. She dont know: I always had a delicacy about telling her.
PICKERING. Quite right. We'll leave it so, if you dont mind.
DOOLITTLE. And youll come to the church, Colonel, and put me through straight?
PICKERING. With pleasure. As far as a bachelor can.
MRS. HIGGINS. May I come, Mr. Doolittle? I should be very sorry to miss your wedding.
DOOLITTLE. I should indeed be honored by your condescension, maam; and my poor old woman would take it as a tremenjous compliment. Shes been very low, thinking of the happy days that are no more.
MRS. HIGGINS [rising] I'll order the car and get ready. [The men rise, except Higgins]. I shant be more than fifteen minutes. [As she goes to the door Eliza comes in, hatted and buttoning her gloves]. I'm going to the church to see your father married, Eliza. You had better come with me. Colonel Pickering can go on with the bridegroom.
Mrs. Higgins goes out. Eliza comes to the middle of the room between the centre window and the ottoman. Pickering joins her.
DOOLITTLE. Bridegroom! What a word! It makes a man realize his position, somehow. [He takes up his hat and goes towards the door].
PICKERING. Before I go, Eliza, do forgive him and come back to us.
LIZA. I dont think papa would allow me. Would you, dad?
DOOLITTLE [sad but magnanimous] They played you off very cunning, Eliza, them two sportsmen. If it had been only one of them, you could have nailed him. But you see, there was two; and one of them chaperoned the other, as you might say. [To Pickering] It was artful of you, Colonel; but I bear no malice: I should have done the same myself. I been the victim of one woman after another all my life; and I dont grudge you two getting the better of Eliza. I shant interfere. It's time for us to go, Colonel. So long, Henry. See you in St. George's, Eliza. [He goes out].
PICKERING [coaxing] Do stay with us, Eliza. [He follows Doolittle].
Liza goes out on the balcony to avoid being alone with Higgins. He rises and joins her there. She immediately comes back into the room and makes for the door; but he goes along the balcony quickly and gets his back to the door before she reaches it.
HIGGINS. Well, Eliza, youve had a bit of your own back, as you call it. Have you had enough? and are you going to be reasonable? Or do you want any more?
LIZA. You want me back only to pick up your slippers and put up with your tempers and fetch and carry for you.
HIGGINS. I havnt said I wanted you back at all.
LIZA. Oh, indeed. Then what are we talking about?
HIGGINS. About you, not about me. If you come back I shall treat you just as I have always treated you. I cant change my nature; and I dont intend to change my manners. My manners are exactly the same as Colonel Pickering's.
LIZA. Thats not true. He treats a flower girl as if she was a duchess.
HIGGINS. And I treat a duchess as if she was a flower girl. The question is not whether I treat you rudely, but whether you ever heard me treat anyone else better.
LIZA [with sudden sincerity] I dont care how you treat me. I dont mind your swearing at me. I dont mind a black eye: Ive had one before this. But [standing up and facing him] I wont be passed over.
HIGGINS. Then get out of my way; for I wont stop for you. You talk about me as if I were a motor bus.
LIZA. So you are a motor bus: all bounce and go, and no consideration for anyone. I cant talk to you: you turn everything against me: I'm always in the wrong. But you know very well all the time that youre nothing but a bully. You know I cant go back to the gutter, as you call it, and that I have no real friends in the world but you and the Colonel. You know well I couldnt bear to live with a low common man after you two; and it's wicked and cruel of you to insult me by pretending I could. You think I must go back to Wimpole Street because I have nowhere else to go but father's. But dont you be too sure that you have me under your feet to be trampled on and talked down. I'll marry Freddy, I will, as soon as I’m able to support him.
HIGGINS [thunderstruck] Freddy!!! that young fool! That poor devil who couldnt get a job as an errand boy even if he had the guts to try for it! Woman: do you not understand that I have made you consort for a king?
LIZA. Freddy loves me: that makes him king enough for me. I dont want him to work: he wasnt brought up to it as I was. I'll go and be a teacher.
HIGGINS. Whatll you teach, in heaven's name?
LIZA. What you taught me. I'll teach phonetics.
HIGGINS. Ha! Ha! Ha!
LIZA. I'll offer myself as an assistant to that hairy-faced Hungarian.
HIGGINS [rising in a fury] What! That blackmailer! that humbug! that toadying ignoramus! Teach him my methods! my discoveries! You take one step in his direction and I'll wring your neck. [He lays hands on her]. Do you hear?
LIZA [defiantly non-resistant] Wring away. What do I care? I knew youd strike me some day. [He lets her go, stamping with rage at having forgotten himself, and recoils so hastily that he stumbles back into his seat on the ottoman]. Aha! Now I know how to deal with you. What a fool I was not to think of it before! You cant 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! [Purposely dropping her aitches to annoy him] Thats done you, Enry Iggins, it has. Now I dont care t h a t [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.
HIGGINS [wondering at her] You damned impudent slut, you! But by George, Eliza, I said I'd make a woman of you; and I have. I like you like this.
LIZA. Yes: you turn round and make up to me now that I'm not afraid of you, and can do without you.
HIGGINS. Of course I do, you little fool. Five minutes ago you were like a millstone round my neck. Now youre a tower of strength: a consort battleship.
Mrs. Higgins returns, dressed for the wedding. Eliza instantly becomes cool and elegant.
MRS. HIGGINS. The car is waiting, Eliza. Are you ready?
LIZA. Quite. Is the Professor coming?
MRS. HIGGINS. Certainly not. He cant behave himself in church. He makes remarks out loud all the time on the clergyman's pronunciation.
LIZA. Then I shall not see you again, Professor. Good bye. [She goes to the door].
MRS. HIGGINS [coming to Higgins] Good-bye, dear.
HIGGINS. Good-bye, mother. [He is about to kiss her, when he recollects something]. Oh, by the way, Eliza, order a ham and a Stilton cheese, will you? And buy me a pair of reindeer gloves, number eights, and a tie to match that new suit of mine, at Eale & Binman's. You can choose the color. [His cheerful, careless, vigorous voice shows that he is incorrigible].
LIZA [disdainfully] Number eights are too small for you if you want them lined with lamb’s wool. You have three new ties you have forgotten in the drawer of your washstand. Colonel Pickering prefers double Gloucester to Stilton; and you dont notice the difference. I telephoned Mrs Pearce this morning not to forget the ham. What you are to do without me I cannot imagine. [She sweeps out].
MRS. HIGGINS. Really, neither can I.
HIGGINS. Oh, she’ll come home to Wimpole Street all right enough. But fancy her wanting to marry that young idiot Freddy. Can you understand it?
MRS. HIGGINS. Perfectly. After Eliza’s six months slavery with you Freddy is just the sort of boy any girl would want to marry. But how is the poor lad to keep her? He has no profession.
HIGGINS. Pickering and I will have to keep them both. He can clean our boots, I suppose.
MRS. HIGGINS. I dont believe he knows how to clean his own boots, poor lad!
HIGGINS. Well. he can make love to her. I dont do that sort of thing; and Pickering’s too old.
MRS. HIGGINS. Did she say anything to you about setting up as a teacher?
HIGGINS [grimly] She did.
MRS. HIGGINS. What did you say?
HIGGINS. I wrung her neck.
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry!!
HIGGINS. I did. Freddy cant wring her neck: he’s not big enough.
MRS. HIGGINS. Henry: you dont know it and cant help it; but you are a terrible elocutionary bully. Thats why Eliza wants the kindly little baby man whom she can bully.
HIGGINS. Anyhow, he takes that part of the job off our hands. [The motor horn squawks impatiently]. Thats for you. Theyre waiting.
MRS. HIGGINS. Oh, bother! Goodbye, dear [expecting a kiss].
HIGGINS. I am going down with you.
He opens the door for her; and they go out together.
Mrs Higgin’s limousine standing opposite her garden gate in Cheyne Walk. Inside the car are Liza and Freddy looking out for Mrs Higgins.
Higgins and his mother come out. He is overcoated and hatted exactly as in the first scene in Covent Garden.
Liza disappears into the back of the limousine to allow Freddy to alight and open the door for Mrs Higgins.
HIGGINS [staring at Freddy] Hallo! What the devil are y o u doing here?
FREDDY. Miss Doolittle invited me.
MRS. HIGGINS. How do you do, Mr Hill? I think you may call her Eliza now. [She gets into the car].
FREDDY [still holding the car door open]. Coming, Professor?
LIZA. No, he is not coming. Get in quick. We are late.
FREDDY. By the way, Professor, thanks awfully for promising to set us up in a flower shop. Her old dream, you know. A lady in a flower shop. We are most grateful.
LIZA. Sh-sh-sh, Freddy. I havnt asked him yet.
She pulls him into the car. Liza slams the door of the limousine, which drives off, leaving Higgins on the pavement, stranded and amazed.
HIGGINS. A squashed cabbage leaf! A lady in a flower shop!
A vision of the past.
Covent Garden: a vision of the portico viewed from the market.
Liza crouching over her basket, and looking her dirtiest and most wretched. Higgins along, looking at her.
LIZA. Poor girl! Hard enough for her to live without being worried and chivied. Ought to be ashamed of himself, unmanly coward. Let him mind his own business and leave a poor girl alone.
The old music from the church. Higgins takes his hat off. The scene fades out and is replaced by:
A vision of the future.
A florist’s shop in South Kensington, full of fashionable customers. Liza behind the counter, serving in great splendor. The name of the shopkeeper, F. HILL, is visible. Half the shop is stocked with vegetables. Freddy, in apron and mild muttonchop whiskers, is serving. Dreamlike silence. Fade out into:
Mrs Higgins’s garden gate in Cheyne Walk.
Higgins standing rapt. A policewoman comes along. She stops and looks curiously at Higgins, who is quite unconscious of her, and visibly rapt.
POLICEWOMAN. Anything wrong, sir?
HIGGINS [waking up] What?
POLICEWOMAN. Anything wrong, sir?
HIGGINS [impressively] No: nothing wrong. A happy ending. A beginning. Good morning, madam.
POLICEWOMAN [impressed] Good morning, sir.
Higgins raises his hat and stalks away majestically. The policewoman stands at attention and salutes.