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A monologue from the play by George Bernard Shaw
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Androcles and the Lion; Overruled; Pygmalion. Bernard Shaw. New York: Brentano’s, 1916.
It ain’t the lecturing I mind. I’ll lecture them blue in the face, I will, and not turn a hair. It’s making a gentleman of me that I object to.
Who asked him to make a gentleman of me?
I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Enry Iggins.
Now I am worried; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches me for money. It’s a fine thing for you, says my solicitor.
Is it? says I. You mean it’s a good thing for you, I says. When I was a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in the dust cart,
he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut of him as quick as he could.
Same with the doctors: used to shove me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, and nothing to pay.
Now they finds out that I’m not a healthy man and can’t live unless they looks after me twice a day.
In the house I’m not let do a hand’s turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it.
A year ago I hadn’t a relative in the world except one or two that wouldn’t speak to me. Now I’ve fifty, and not a decent week’s wages among the lot of them.
I have to live for others and not for myself: that’s middle class morality. You talk of losing Eliza. Don’t you be anxious:
I bet she’s on my doorstep by this: she that could support herself easy by selling flowers if I wasn’t respectable.
And the next one to touch me will be you, Enry Iggins. I’ll have to learn to speak middle class language from you, instead of speaking proper English.
That’s where you’ll come in; and I daresay that’s what you done it for.
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