QUALITY STREET – Monologue (Phoebe)

A monologue from the play by J. M. Barrie

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Quality Street. J.M. Barrie. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1913.


I am tired of being ladylike. I am a young woman still, and to be ladylike is not enough. I wish to be bright and thoughtless and merry.

It is every woman’s birthright to be petted and admired;

I wish to be petted and admired. Was I born to be confined within these four walls? Are they the world, Susan, or is there anything beyond them?

I want to know. My eyes are tired because for ten years they have seen nothing but maps and desks. Ten years!

Ten years ago I went to bed a young girl and I woke up with this cap on my head. It is not fair. This is not me, Susan, this is some other person, I want to be myself.

If you only knew how I have rebelled at times, you would turn from me in horror. I have a picture of myself as I used to be;

I sometimes look at it. I sometimes kiss it, and say, “Poor girl, they have all forgotten you. But I remember.” I keep it locked away in my room.

Would you like to see it? I shall bring it down. My room! Oh, it is there that the Phoebe you think so patient has the hardest fight with herself,

for there I have seemed to hear and see the Phoebe of whom this [looking at herself] is but an image in a distorted glass.

I have heard her singing as if she thought she was still a girl. I have heard her weeping; perhaps it was only I who was weeping;

but she seemed to cry to me, “Let me out of this prison, give me back the years you have taken from me. Where is my youth?

Oh, where are my pretty curls?”

Read the play here

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