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A monologue by Marjorie Benton Cooke
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from More Modern Monologues. Marjorie Benton Cooke. Chicago: Dramatic Publishing Co., 1907.
MRS. FREDERICK BELMONT-TOWERS
Is that you, Helen? Come in. You must excuse me for seeing you up here, but this is my day for treatment and I don’t get up till afternoon.
Oh, didn’t you know? I’m taking a course with Omarkanandi, this famous Hindu priest. You haven’t heard of him? Oh, my dear, he is too wonderful. You know what an invalid I’ve been for years?
I’ve had no sympathy in my suffering–Fred thinks it’s all nonsense, says I’m a hypochondriac, and all that, but Omarkanandi says my condition has been simply pitiful! He’s so sympathetic, Helen.
He wears a long red robe, and a turban and the queerest rings, and his eyes are the most soulful things. Well, it’s hard to tell you just what he does. He sits beside me, and holds my hands and looks into my eyes and talks to me, in his soft Oriental voice.
He says he is the medium of infinite strength and power, and that he transmits it to me. Well, he thinks in time that I can draw on this power myself, without him. He says that I’m so highly strung that the winds of evil play on me.
He says my chronic indigestion is simply a wind of evil, and that I must harden myself against it. I told him I didn’t care so much about the indigestion itself, but it was ruining my complexion.
He said when I got myself into harmony with the Infinite my skin would be like a rose leaf–so you can see for yourself the thing is worthwhile. [Pause] Oh, no, it isn’t Mind Cure or Christian Science or any of those intangible things, this is really practical.
And I find that my power over others is growing, just as he said it would. The other night, Fred came home just worn out, and I determined to try the cure on him, so I made him lie down, and I held his hand, and looked at him, and talked very softly, and it was no time at all, Helen, until he was sleeping like a child.
You see, what I like about this system is that it is so practical. I told Omarkanandi how I was worrying about my Bridge debts, and that I couldn’t tell Fred about it, and he put himself “in harmony” and worked out the most wonderful scheme.
He told me to get up a sort of Trust, and make up a pool, every woman in the club putting in five hundred dollars. Then as long as we won, we should each put ten percent of our winnings back into the pool, and if we lost, the pool would stand for it, up to a certain limit.
I was Treasurer and I made Omarkanandi take five hundred for thinking up the scheme. He didn’t want to at all, but he did finally to help “his cause.”
Well, it worked splendidly for about a week, and then it ended in the awfullest row. The women accused each other of not paying their ten percent, and of overdrawing on the pool, and every woman demanded her money back, and we just couldn’t get it straightened out.
I’m out, Heaven only knows how much! Some of the men heard about it, and you ought to have seen Fred lecture me. I repeated a lot of things to him that he had said himself on the benefit of Trusts, but he said that it was all rot.
I told him I thought so when he first said it, but I was so used to taking his word as law, that I went right ahead. I’d never dare tell him how much I’m out–I just said, “We’ll call it legitimate speculation and charge it up to profit and loss,” which is his favorite excuse when he’s on the wrong side of the market.
[Pause] Mercy, no, I didn’t tell him Omarkanandi had anything to do with it. He says he’s a fraud and all sorts of things. Omar says Fred is not attuned to the higher chords of ethereality, so he lives in error and darkness.
Helen, you ought to have him come see you; he’d do wonders for you. Only five hundred for the course, and it’s nothing when you think what he does for you.
[Listens to Helen’s sarcasms in surprise] Why, Helen! I’m afraid you’re like Fred, too worldly and suspicious to grasp these truths. As Omarkanandi says, you must be saved “by faith alone!”
[Turns her head, as if at interruption] Who is it, Maria? Omarkanandi? Ask him to come up. Goodbye, Helen, do run in again. [Watches her go out, and sighs]
Poor, trivial thing, she hasn’t the capacity for great thoughts and spiritual experiences, as I have.