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
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.
It's really amazing. I havnt taken half of
it in, you know.
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 [following him, and standing beside him on his
left] Tired of listening to sounds?
Yes. It's a fearful strain. I rather fancied
myself because I can pronounce twenty-four distinct
vowel sounds; but your hundred and thirty beat me. I
cant hear a bit of difference between most of them.
HIGGINS [chuckling, and going over to the piano to eat
sweets] Oh, that comes with practice. You hear no
difference at first; but you keep on listening, and
presently you find theyre all as different as A from B.
[Mrs. Pearce looks in: she is Higgins's housekeeper]
Whats the matter?
MRS. PEARCE [hesitating, evidently perplexed] A young
woman wants to see you, sir.
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. I hope Ive not done wrong; but
really you see such queer people sometimes--youll excuse
me, I'm sure, sir--
Oh, thats all right, Mrs. Pearce. Has she an
Oh, something dreadful, sir, really. I
dont know how you can take an interest in it.
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].
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.
The flower girl 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 last night. Shes no use: Ive got all the
records I want of the Lisson Grove lingo; and I'm not
going to waste another cylinder on it. [To the girl] Be
off with you: I dont want you.
THE FLOWER GIRL
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?
Nonsense, girl! what do you think a
gentleman like Mr. Higgins cares what you came in?
THE FLOWER GIRL
Oh, we are 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.
THE FLOWER GIRL
I want to be a lady in a flower shop
stead of selling at the corner of Tottenham Court Road.
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 as if I was
How can you be such a foolish ignorant
girl as to think you could afford to pay Mr. Higgins?
THE FLOWER GIRL
Why shouldnt I? I know what lessons
cost as well as you do; and I'm ready to pay.
THE FLOWER GIRL [coming back to him, triumphant] Now
youre talking! I thought youd come off it when you saw
a chance of getting back a bit of what you chucked at
me last night. [Confidentially] Youd had a drop in,
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 egg in it:
HIGGINS. They took one apiece, and left three in it.
Come back to business. How much do you propose
to pay me for the lessons?
Oh, I know whats right. A lady friend of mine
gets French lessons for eighteenpence an hour from a
real French gentleman. Well, you wouldnt have the face
to ask me the same for teaching me my own language as
you would for French; so I wont give more than a
shilling. Take it or leave it.
HIGGINS [walking up and down the room, rattling his
keys and his cash in his pockets] You know, Pickering,
if you consider a shilling, not as a simple shilling,
but as a percentage of this girl's income, it works out
as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy guineas from a
HIGGINS [continuing] She offers me two-fifths of her
day's income for a lesson. Two-fifths of a
millionaire's income for a day would be somewhere about
£60. It's handsome. By George, it's enormous! it's the
biggest offer I ever had.
LIZA [rising, terrified] Sixty pounds! What are you
talking about? I never offered you sixty pounds. Where
would I get--
To wipe your eyes. To wipe any part of your
face that feels moist. Remember: thats your
handkerchief; and thats your sleeve. Dont mistake the
one for the other if you wish to become a lady in a
Liza, utterly bewildered, stares helplessly at him.
It's no use talking to her like that, Mr.
Higgins: she doesnt understand you. Besides, youre
quite wrong: she doesnt do it that way at all [she
takes the handkerchief].
LIZA [snatching it] Here! You give me that
handkerchief. He give it to me, not to you.
PICKERING [laughing] He did. I think it must be
regarded as her property, Mrs. Pearce.
MRS. PEARCE [resigning herself] Serve you right, Mr.
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.
HIGGINS [tempted, looking at her] It's almost
irresistible. Shes so deliciously low--so horribly
LIZA [protesting extremely] Ah-ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo-oo!!!
I aint dirty: I washed my face and hands afore I come,
Youre certainly not going to turn her head
with flattery, Higgins.
MRS. PEARCE [uneasy] Oh, dont say that, sir: theres
more ways than one of turning a girl's head; and nobody
can do it better than Mr. Higgins, though he may not
always mean it. I do hope, sir, you wont encourage him
to do anything foolish.
HIGGINS [becoming excited as the idea grows on him]
What is life but a series of inspired follies? The
difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance:
it doesnt come every day. I shall make a duchess of
this draggle-tailed guttersnipe.
LIZA [strongly deprecating this view of her]
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. Monkey Brand, if it wont come off any
other way. Is there a good fire in the kitchen?
MRS. PEARCE [resolutely] You must be reasonable, Mr.
Higgins: really you must. You cant walk over everybody
Higgins, thus scolded, subsides. The hurricane is
succeeded by a zephyr of amiable surprise.
HIGGINS [with professional exquisiteness of modulation]
I walk over everybody! My dear Mrs. Pearce, my dear
Pickering, I never had the slightest intention of
walking over anyone. All I propose is that we should be
kind to this poor girl. We must help her to prepare and
fit herself for her new station in life. If I did not
express myself clearly it was because I did not wish to
hurt her delicacy, or yours.
HIGGINS [suddenly resorting to the most thrillingly
beautiful low tones in his best elocutionary style] By
George, Eliza, the streets will be strewn with the
bodies of men shooting themselves for your sake before
Ive done with you.
Nonsense, sir. You mustnt talk like that
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.
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 [she throws away the
handkerchief]. I can buy my own clothes.
HIGGINS [deftly retrieving the handkerchief and
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.
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.
I aint got no parents. They told me I was big
enough to earn my own living and turned me out.
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.
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--
But whats to become of her? Is she to be
paid anything? Do be sensible, sir.
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 are a brute. It's a lie:
nobody ever saw the sign of liquor on me. [She goes
back to her chair and plants herself there defiantly].
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?
To get her to talk grammar. The mere
pronunciation is easy enough.
I dont want to talk grammar. I want to talk like
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.
Thats her own business, not yours, Mr.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Listen, Eliza. I think you said you came in a
Well, what if I did? Ive as good a right to take
a taxi as anyone else.
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,
Mr. Higgins: youre tempting the girl. It's
not right. She should think of the future.
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.
No: I dont want no gold and no diamonds. I'm a
good girl, I am. [She sits down again, with an attempt
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--
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.
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?
Very clever, Higgins; but not sound sense.
[To Eliza] Miss Doolittle--
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 what she
wants. Eliza: you are to live here for the next six
months, learning how to speak beautifully, like a lady
in a florist's shop. If 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.
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 Palace, I didnt. I was never in trouble with
the police, not me. I'm a good girl--
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. Pickering comes from the hearth to the
chair and sits astride it with his arms on the back.
Excuse the straight question, Higgins. Are
you a man of good character where women are concerned?
HIGGINS [moodily] Have you ever met a man of good
character where women are concerned?
HIGGINS [dogmatically, lifting himself on his hands to
the level of the piano, and sitting on it with a
bounce] Well, I havnt. I find that the moment I let a
woman make friends with me, she becomes jealous,
exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find
that the moment I let myself make friends with a woman,
I become selfish and tyrannical. Women upset
everything. When you let them into your life, you find
that the woman is driving at one thing and youre
driving at another.
HIGGINS [coming off the piano restlessly] Oh, Lord
knows! I suppose the woman wants to live her own life;
and the man wants to live his; and each tries to drag
the other on to the wrong track. One wants to go north
and the other south; and the result is that both have
to go east, though they both hate the east wind. [He
sits down on the bench at the keyboard]. So here I am,
a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so.
PICKERING [rising and standing over him gravely] Come,
Higgins! You know what I mean. If I'm to be in this
business I shall feel responsible for that girl. I hope
it's understood that no advantage is to be taken of her
What! That thing! Sacred, I assure you.
[Rising to explain] You see, she'll be a pupil; and
teaching would be impossible unless pupils were sacred.
Ive taught scores of American millionairesses how to
speak English: the best looking women in the world. I'm
seasoned. They might as well be blocks of wood. I might
as well be a block of wood. It's--
Mrs. Pearce opens the door. She has Eliza's hat in her
hand. Pickering retires to the easy-chair at the hearth
and sits down.
HIGGINS [eagerly] Well, Mrs. Pearce: is it all right?
MRS. PEARCE [at the door] I just wish to trouble you
with a word, if I may, Mr. Higgins.
Yes, certainly. Come in. [She comes forward].
Dont burn that, Mrs. Pearce. I'll keep it as a
curiosity. [He takes the hat].
Handle it carefully, sir, please. I had to
promise her not to burn it; but I had better put it in
the oven for a while.
HIGGINS [putting it down hastily on the piano] Oh!
thank you. Well, what have you to say to me?
Not at all, sir. Mr. Higgins: will you
please be very particular what you say before the girl?
HIGGINS [sternly] Of course. I'm always particular
about what I say. Why do you say this to me?
MRS. PEARCE [unmoved] No, sir: youre not at all
particular when youve mislaid anything or when you get
a little impatient. Now it doesnt matter before me: I'm
used to it. But you really must not swear before the
HIGGINS [indignantly] I swear! [Most emphatically] I
never swear. I detest the habit. What the devil do you
MRS. PEARCE [stolidly] Thats what I mean, sir. You
swear a great deal too much. I dont mind your damning
and blasting, and what the devil and where the devil
and who the devil--
Mrs. Pearce: this language from your lips!
MRS. PEARCE [not to be put off]--but there is a certain
word I must ask you not to use. The girl has just used
it herself because the bath was too hot. It begins with
the same letter as bath. She knows no better: she
learnt it at her mother's knee. But she must not hear
it from your lips.
HIGGINS [loftily] I cannot charge myself with having
ever uttered it, Mrs. Pearce. [She looks at him
steadfastly. He adds, hiding an uneasy conscience with
a judicial air] Except perhaps in a moment of extreme
and justifiable excitement.
Only this morning, sir, you applied it to
your boots, to the butter, and to the brown bread.
Oh, that! Mere alliteration, Mrs. Pearce,
natural to a poet.
Well, sir, whatever you choose to call it,
I beg you not to let the girl hear you repeat it.
I mean not to be slovenly about her dress
or untidy in leaving things about.
HIGGINS [going to her solemnly] Just so. I intended to
call your attention to that [He passes on to Pickering,
who is enjoying the conversation immensely]. It is
these little things that matter, Pickering. Take care
of the pence and the pounds will take care of
themselves is as true of personal habits as of money.
[He comes to anchor on the hearthrug, with the air of a
man in an unassailable position].
Yes, sir. Then might I ask you not to come
down to breakfast in your dressing-gown, or at any rate
not to use it as a napkin to the extent you do, sir.
And if you would be so good as not to eat everything
off the same plate, and to remember not to put the
porridge saucepan out of your hand on the clean
tablecloth, it would be a better example to the girl.
You know you nearly choked yourself with a fishbone in
the jam only last week.
HIGGINS [routed from the hearthrug and drifting back to
the piano] I may do these things sometimes in absence
of mind; but surely I dont do them habitually.
[Angrily] By the way: my dressing-gown smells most
damnably of benzine.
No doubt it does, Mr. Higgins. But if you
will wipe your fingers--
HIGGINS [yelling] Oh very well, very well: I'll wipe
them in my hair in future.
I hope youre not offended, Mr. Higgins.
HIGGINS [shocked at finding himself thought capable of
an unamiable sentiment] Not at all, not at all. Youre
quite right, Mrs. Pearce: I shall be particularly
careful before the girl. Is that all?
No, sir. Might she use some of those
Japanese dresses you brought from abroad? I really cant
put her back into her old things.
Certainly. Anything you like. Is that all?
Thank you, sir. Thats all. [She goes out].
You know, Pickering, that woman has the most
extraordinary ideas about me. Here I am, a shy,
diffident sort of man. Ive never been able to feel
really grown-up and tremendous, like other chaps. And
yet shes firmly persuaded that I'm an arbitrary
overbearing bossing kind of person. I cant account for
MRS. PEARCE [at the door] Doolittle, sir. [She admits
Doolittle and retires].
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
DOOLITTLE [at the door, uncertain which of the two
gentlemen is his man] Professor 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].
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 ["most musical, most melancholy"] I'll tell
you, Governor, if youll only let me get a word in. I'm
willing to tell you. I'm wanting to tell you. I'm
waiting to tell you.
Pickering: this chap has a certain natural
gift of rhetoric. Observe the rhythm of his native
woodnotes wild. "I'm willing to tell you: I'm wanting
to tell you: I'm waiting to tell you." Sentimental
rhetoric! thats the Welsh strain in him. It also
accounts for his mendacity and dishonesty.
Oh, p l e a s e, Higgins: I'm west country
myself. [To Doolittle] How did you know the girl was
here if you didnt send her?
It was like this, Governor. The girl took a
boy in the taxi to give him a jaunt. Son of her
landlady, he is. He hung about on the chance of her
giving him another ride home. Well, she sent him back
for her luggage when she heard you was willing for her
to stop here. I met the boy at the corner of Long Acre
and Endell Street.
Landlady wouldnt have trusted me with it,
Governor. Shes that kind of woman: you know. I had to
give the boy a penny afore he trusted me with it, the
little swine. I brought it to her just to oblige you
like, and make myself agreeable. Thats all.
Musical instrument, Governor. A few
pictures, a trifle of jewelry, and a bird-cage. She
said she didnt want no clothes. What was I to think
from that, Governor? I ask you as a parent what was I
So you came to rescue her from worse than
DOOLITTLE [appreciatively: relieved at being so well
understood] Just so, Governor. Thats right.
But why did you bring her luggage if you
intended to take her away?
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
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--
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].
I think you ought to know, Doolittle, that
Mr. Higgins's intentions are entirely honorable.
Course they are, Governor. If I thought they
wasnt, Id ask fifty.
HIGGINS [revolted] Do you mean to say, you callous
rascal, that you would sell your daughter for £50?
Not in a general way I wouldnt; but to
oblige a gentleman like you I'd do do a good deal, I do
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.
Thats it, Governor. Thats all I say. A
father's heart, as it were.
Well, I know the feeling; but really it
seems hardly right--
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 [rising, and going over to Pickering]
Pickering: if we were to take this man in hand for
three months, he could choose between a seat in the
Cabinet and a popular pulpit in Wales.
Not me, Governor, thank you kindly. Ive
heard all the preachers and all the prime ministers--for
I'm a thinking man and game for politics or religion or
social reform same as all the other amusements--and I
tell you it's a dog's life anyway you look at it.
Undeserving poverty is my line. Taking one station in
society with another, it's--it's--well, it's the only one
that has any ginger in it, to my taste.
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
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].
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.
Why dont you marry that missus of yours? I
rather draw the line at encouraging that sort of
Tell her so, Governor: tell her so. I'm
willing. It's me that suffers by it. Ive no hold on
her. I got to be agreeable to her. I got to give her
presents. I got to buy her clothes something sinful.
I'm a slave to that woman, Governor, just because I'm
not her lawful husband. And she knows it too. Catch her
marrying me! Take my advice, Governor: marry Eliza
while shes young and dont know no better. If you dont
youll be sorry for it after. If you do, she'll be sorry
for it after; but better you than her, because youre a
man, and shes only a woman and dont know how to be
Pickering: if we listen to this man another
minute, we shall have no convictions left. [To
Doolittle] Five pounds I think you said.
HIGGINS [handing him a five-pound note] Here you are.
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,
THE JAPANESE LADY
Garn! Dont you know your own
HIGGINS [correcting himself] I mean extremely silly.
I should look all right with my hat on. [She
takes up her hat; puts it on; and walks across the room
to the fireplace with a fashionable air].
A new fashion, by George! And it ought to look
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?
I tell you, it's easy to clean up here. Hot and
cold water on tap, just as much as you like, there is.
Woolly towels, there is; and a towel horse so hot, it
burns your fingers. Soft brushes to scrub yourself, and
a wooden bowl of soap smelling like primroses. Now I
know why ladies is so clean. Washing's a treat for
them. Wish they saw what it is for the like of me!
I'm glad the bath-room met with your approval.
It didnt: not all of it; and I dont care who
hears me say it. Mrs. Pearce knows.
Doolittle: you have brought your daughter up
Me! I never brought her up at all, except to
give her a lick of a strap now and again. Dont put it
on me, Governor. She aint accustomed to it, you see:
thats all. But she'll soon pick up your free-and-easy
I'm a good girl, I am; and I wont pick up no free
and easy ways.
Eliza: if you say again that youre a good
girl, your father shall take you home.
Not him. You dont know my father. All he come
here for was to touch you for some money to get drunk
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?
Have you any further advice to give her before
you go, Doolittle? Your blessing, for instance.
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
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].
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.
Talking money out of other people's pockets into
his own. His proper trade's a navvy; and he works at it
sometimes too--for exercise--and earns good money at it.
Aint you going to call me Miss Doolittle any more?
I beg your pardon, Miss Doolittle. It was a
slip of the tongue.
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.
Better wait til we get you something really
Besides, you shouldnt cut your old friends now
that you have risen in the world. Thats what we call
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. I should like to have
some. Mrs. Pearce says youre going to give me some to
wear in bed at night different to what I wear in the
daytime; but it do seem a waste of money when you could
get something to shew. Besides, I never could fancy
changing into cold things on a winter night.
MRS. PEARCE [coming back] Now, Eliza. The new things
have come for you to try on.