ACT V
 

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, mam, is downstairs with Colonel Pickering.

MRS. HIGGINS
Well, shew them up.

THE PARLOR-MAID
Theyre using the telephone, mam. Telephoning to the police, I think.

MRS. HIGGINS
What!

THE PARLOR-MAID
[coming further in and lowering her voice] Mr. Henry's in a state, mam. 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. Tell them to come up when theyve finished with the police. I suppose hes lost something.

THE PARLOR-MAID
Yes, mam [going].

MRS. HIGGINS
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, mam.

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? [He sits down on the ottoman].

HIGGINS
What does that ass of an inspector say? Have you offered a reward?

MRS. HIGGINS
[rising in indignant amazement] You dont mean to say you have set the police after Eliza?

HIGGINS
Of course. What are the police for? What else could we do? [He sits in the Elizabethan chair].

PICKERING
The inspector made a lot of difficulties. I really think he suspected us of some improper purpose.

MRS. HIGGINS
Well, of course he did. What right have you to go to the police and give the girl's name as if she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something? Really! [She sits down again, deeply vexed].

HIGGINS
But we want to find her.

PICKERING
We cant let her go like this, you know, Mrs. Higgins. What were we to do?

MRS. HIGGINS
You have no more sense, either of you, than two children. Why--

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 brilliantly dressed in a new fashionable frock-coat, with white waistcoat and grey trousers. 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? You 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?

MRSX 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 has happened to you?

DOOLITTLE
I shouldnt mind if it had only happened to me: anything might happen to anybody and nobody to blame but Providence, as you might say. But this is something that you done to me: yes, you, Henry Higgins.

HIGGINS
Have you found Eliza? Thats the point.

DOOLITTLE
Have you lost her?

HIGGINS
Yes.

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 Pre-digested 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, Henry Higgins. 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
But, my dear Mr. Doolittle, you need not suffer all this if you are really in earnest. Nobody can force you to accept this bequest. You can repudiate it. Isnt that so, Colonel Pickering?

PICKERING
I believe so.

DOOLITTLE
[softening his manner in deference to her sex] Thats the tragedy of it, maam. It's easy to say chuck it; but I havent the nerve. Which of us has? We're all intimidated. Intimidated, maam: thats what we are. What is there for me if I chuck it but the workhouse in my old age? I have to dye my hair already to keep my job as a dustman. If I was one of the deserving poor, and had put by a bit, I could chuck it; but then why should I, acause the deserving poor might as well be millionaires for all the happiness they ever has. They dont know what happiness is. But I, as one of the undeserving poor, have nothing between me and the pauper's uniform but this here blasted three thousand a year that shoves me into the middle class. (Excuse the expression, maam: youd use it yourself if you had my provocation). Theyve got you every way you turn: it's a choice between the Skilly of the workhouse and the Char Bydis of the middle class; and I havnt the nerve for the workhouse. Intimidated: thats what I am. Broke. Bought up. Happier men than me will call for my dust, and touch me for their tip; and I'll look on helpless, and envy them. And thats what your son has brought me to. [He is overcome by emotion].

MRS. HIGGINS
Well, I'm very glad youre not going to do anything foolish, Mr. Doolittle. For this solves the problem of Eliza's future. You can provide for her now.

DOOLITTLE
[with melancholy resignation] Yes, maam: I'm expected to provide for everyone now, out of three thousand a year.

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.

HIGGINS
I--

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 passed the night partly walking about in a rage, partly trying to throw herself into the river and being afraid to, and partly in the Carlton Hotel. 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. [Turning on Higgins]. Higgins did you bully her after I went to bed?

HIGGINS
Just the other way about. She threw my slippers in my face. She behaved in the most outrageous way. I never gave her the slightest provocation. The slippers came bang into my face the moment I entered the room--before I had uttered a word. And used perfectly awful language.

PICKERING
[astonished] But why? What did we do to her?

MRS. HIGGINS
I think I know pretty well what you did. The girl is naturally rather affectionate, I think. Isnt she, Mr. Doolittle?

DOOLITTLE
Very tender-hearted, maam. Takes after me.

MRS. HIGGINS
Just so. She had become attached to you both. She worked very hard for you, Henry! I dont think you quite realize what anything in the nature of brain work means to a girl like that. Well, it seems that when the great day of trial came, and she did this wonderful thing for you without making a single mistake, you two sat there and never said a word to her, but talked together of how glad you were that it was all over and how you had been bored with the whole thing. And then you were surprised because she threw your slippers at you! I should have thrown the fire-irons at you.

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].

DOOLITTLE
[remonstrating] Now, now, Henry Higgins! have some consideration for my feelings as a middle class man.

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, mam. [She goes out].

MRS. HIGGINS
Now, Henry: be good.

HIGGINS
I am behaving myself perfectly.

PICKERING
He is doing his best, Mrs. Higgins.

A pause. Higgins throws back his head; stretches out his legs; and begins to whistle.

MRS. HIGGINS
Henry, dearest, you dont look at all nice in that attitude.

HIGGINS
[pulling himself together] I was not trying to look nice, mother.

MRS. HIGGINS
It doesnt matter, dear. I only wanted to make you speak.

HIGGINS
Why?

MRS. HIGGINS
Because you cant speak and whistle at the same time.

Higgins groans. Another very trying pause.

HIGGINS
[springing up, out of patience] Where the devil is that girl? Are we to wait here all day?

Eliza 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.

Eliza 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.

HIGGINS
Well!!

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.

HIGGINS
Damnation!

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?

PICKERING
What?

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
[laughing] Why dont you slang back at him? Dont stand it. It would do him a lot of good.

LIZA
I cant. I could have done it once; but now I cant go back to it. Last night, when I was wandering about, a girl spoke to me; and I tried to get back into the old way with her; but it was no use. You told me, you know, that when a child is brought to a foreign country, it picks up the language in a few weeks, and forgets its own. Well, I am a child in your country. I have forgotten my own language, and can speak nothing but yours. Thats the real break-off with the corner of Tottenham Court Road. Leaving Wimpole Street finishes it.

PICKERING
[much alarmed] Oh! but 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 carriage 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 in the brougham 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].

Eliza 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.

LIZA
I see. [She turns away composedly, and sits on the ottoman, facing the window]. The same to everybody.

HIGGINS
Just so.

LIZA
Like father.

HIGGINS
[grinning, a little taken down] Without accepting the comparison at all points, Eliza, it's quite true that your father is not a snob, and that he will be quite at home in any station of life to which his eccentric destiny may call him. [Seriously] The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.

LIZA
Amen. You are a born preacher.

HIGGINS
[irritated] 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. But I can do without you: dont think I cant.

HIGGINS
I know you can. I told you you could.

LIZA
[wounded, getting away from him to the other side of the ottoman with her face to the hearth] I know you did, you brute. You wanted to get rid of me.

HIGGINS
Liar.

LIZA
Thank you. [She sits down with dignity].

HIGGINS
You never asked yourself, I suppose, whether I could do without y o u.

LIZA
[earnestly] Dont you try to get round me. Youll h a v e to do without me.

HIGGINS
[arrogant] I can do without anybody. I have my own soul: my own spark of divine fire. But [with sudden humility] I shall miss you, Eliza. [He sits down near her on the ottoman]. I have learnt something from your idiotic notions: I confess that humbly and gratefully. And I have grown accustomed to your voice and appearance. I like them, rather.

LIZA
Well, you have both of them on your gramophone and in your book of photographs. When you feel lonely without me, you can turn the machine on. It's got no feelings to hurt.

HIGGINS
I cant turn your soul on. Leave me those feelings; and you can take away the voice and the face. They are not you.

LIZA
Oh, you a r e a devil. You can twist the heart in a girl as easy as some could twist her arms to hurt her. Mrs. Pearce warned me. Time and again she has wanted to leave you; and you always got round her at the last minute. And you dont care a bit for her. And you dont care a bit for me.

HIGGINS
I care for life, for humanity; and you are a part of it that has come my way and been built into my house. What more can you or anyone ask?

LIZA
I wont care for anybody that doesnt care for me.

HIGGINS
Commercial principles, Eliza. Like [reproducing her Covent Garden pronunciation with professional exactness] s'yollin voylets [selling violets], isnt it?

LIZA
Dont sneer at me. It's mean to sneer at me.

HIGGINS
I have never sneered in my life. Sneering doesnt become either the human face or the human soul. I am expressing my righteous contempt for Commercialism. I dont and wont trade in affection. You call me a brute because you couldnt buy a claim on me by fetching my slippers and finding my spectacles. You were a fool: I think a woman fetching a man's slippers is a disgusting sight: did I ever fetch y o u r slippers? I think a good deal more of you for throwing them in my face. No use slaving for me and then saying you want to be cared for: who cares for a slave? If you come back, come back for the sake of good fellowship; for youll get nothing else. Youve had a thousand times as much out of me as I have out of you; and if you dare to set up your little dog's tricks of fetching and carrying slippers against my creation of a Duchess Eliza, I'll slam the door in your silly face.

LIZA
What did you do it for if you didnt care for me?

HIGGINS
[heartily] Why, because it was my job.

LIZA
You never thought of the trouble it would make for me.

HIGGINS
Would the world ever have been made if its maker had been afraid of making trouble? Making life means making trouble. Theres only one way of escaping trouble; and thats killing things. Cowards, you notice, are always shrieking to have troublesome people killed.

LIZA
I'm no preacher: I dont notice things like that. I notice that you dont notice me.

HIGGINS
[jumping up and walking about intolerantly] Eliza: youre an idiot. I waste the treasures of my Miltonic mind by spreading them before you. Once for all, understand that I go my way and do my work without caring twopence what happens to either of us. I am not intimidated, like your father and your stepmother. So you can come back or go to the devil: which you please.

LIZA
What am I to come back for?

HIGGINS
[bouncing up on his knees on the ottoman and leaning over it to her] For the fun of it. Thats why I took you on.

LIZA
[with averted face] And you may throw me out tomorrow if I dont do everything you want me to?

HIGGINS
Yes; and you may walk out tomorrow if I dont do everything y o u want me to.

LIZA
And live with my stepmother?

HIGGINS
Yes, or sell flowers.

LIZA
Oh! if I only c o u l d go back to my flower basket! I should be independent of both you and father and all the world! Why did you take my independence from me? Why did I give it up? I'm a slave now, for all my fine clothes.

HIGGINS
Not a bit. I'll adopt you as my daughter and settle money on you if you like. Or would you rather marry Pickering?

LIZA
[looking fiercely round at him] I wouldnt marry y o u if you asked me; and youre nearer my age than what he is.

HIGGINS
[gently] Than he is: not "than what he is."

LIZA
[losing her temper and rising] I'll talk as I like. Youre not my teacher now.

HIGGINS
[reflectively] I dont suppose Pickering would, though. Hes as confirmed an old bachelor as I am.

LIZA
Thats not what I want; and dont you think it. Ive always had chaps enough wanting me that way. Freddy Hill writes to me twice and three times a day, sheets and sheets.

HIGGINS
[disagreeably surprised] Damn his impudence! [He recoils and finds himself sitting on his heels].

LIZA
He has a right to if he likes, poor lad. And he does love me.

HIGGINS
[getting off the ottoman] You have no right to encourage him.

LIZA
Every girl has a right to be loved.

HIGGINS
What! By fools like that?

LIZA
Freddy's not a fool. And if hes weak and poor and wants me, may be hed make me happier than my betters that bully me and dont want me.

HIGGINS
Can he m a k e anything of you? Thats the point.

LIZA
Perhaps I could make something of him. But I never thought of us making anything of one another; and you never think of anything else. I only want to be natural.

HIGGINS
In short, you want me to be as infatuated about you as Freddy? Is that it?

LIZA
No I dont. Thats not the sort of feeling I want from you. And dont you be too sure of yourself or of me. I could have been a bad girl if I'd liked. Ive seen more of some things than you, for all your learning. Girls like me can drag gentlemen down to make love to them easy enough. And they wish each other dead the next minute.

HIGGINS
Of course they do. Then what in thunder are we quarrelling about?

LIZA
[much troubled] I want a little kindness. I know I'm a common ignorant girl, and you a book-learned gentleman; but I'm not dirt under your feet. What I done [correcting herself] what I did was not for the dresses and the taxis: I did it because we were pleasant together and I come--came--to care for you; not to want you to make love to me, and not forgetting the difference between us, but more friendly like.

HIGGINS
Well, of course. Thats just how I feel. And how Pickering feels. Eliza: youre a fool.

LIZA
Thats not a proper answer to give me [she sinks on the chair at the writing-table in tears].

HIGGINS
It's all youll get until you stop being a common idiot. If youre going to be a lady, youll have to give up feeling neglected if the men you know dont spend half their time snivelling over you and the other half giving you black eyes. If you cant stand the coldness of my sort of life, and the strain of it, go back to the gutter. Work til you are more a brute than a human being; and then cuddle and squabble and drink til you fall asleep. Oh, it's a fine life, the life of the gutter. It's real: it's warm: it's violent: you can feel it through the thickest skin: you can taste it and smell it without any training or any work. Not like Science and Literature and Classical Music and Philosophy and Art. You find me cold, unfeeling, selfish, dont you? Very well: be off with you to the sort of people you like. Marry some sentimental hog or other with lots of money, and a thick pair of lips to kiss you with and a thick pair of boots to kick you with. If you cant appreciate what youve got, youd better get what you can appreciate.

LIZA
[desperate] Oh, you are a cruel tyrant. 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 hes able to support me.

HIGGINS
[sitting down beside her] Rubbish! you shall marry an ambassador. You shall marry the Governor-General of India or the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, or somebody who wants a deputy-queen. I'm not going to have my masterpiece thrown away on Freddy.

LIZA
You think I like you to say that. But I havnt forgot what you said a minute ago; and I wont be coaxed round as if I was a baby or a puppy. If I cant have kindness, I'll have independence.

HIGGINS
Independence? Thats middle class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.

LIZA
[rising determinedly] I'll let you see whether I'm dependent on you. If you can preach, I can teach. 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 Professor Nepean.

HIGGINS
[rising in a fury] What! That impostor! 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! Thats done you, Henry Higgins, it has. Now I dont care that [snapping her fingers] for your bullying and your big talk. I'll advertize it in the papers that your duchess is only a flower girl that you taught, and that she'll teach anybody to be a duchess just the same in six months for a thousand guineas. Oh, when I think of myself crawling under your feet and being trampled on and called names, when all the time I had only to lift up my finger to be as good as you, I could just kick myself.

HIGGINS
[wondering at her] You damned impudent slut, you! But it's better than snivelling; better than fetching slippers and finding spectacles, isnt it? [Rising] 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. You and I and Pickering will be three old bachelors together instead of only two men and a silly girl.

Mrs. Higgins returns, dressed for the wedding. Eliza instantly becomes cool and elegant.

MRS. HIGGINS
The carriage 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] Buy them yourself. [She sweeps out].

MRS. HIGGINS
I'm afraid you've spoiled that girl, Henry. But never mind, dear: I'll buy you the tie and gloves.

HIGGINS
[sunnily] Oh, dont bother. She'll buy em all right enough. Good-bye.

They kiss. Mrs. Higgins runs out. Higgins, left alone, rattles his cash in his pocket; chuckles; and disports himself in a highly self-satisfied manner.

THE END