A monologue from the play by J. M. Barrie
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Quality Street. J.M. Barrie. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1913.
Phoebe, I have a wedding gift for you. It has been ready for a long time. I began it when you were not ten years old and I was a young woman.
I meant it for myself, Phoebe. I had hoped that he — his name was William — but I must have been too unattractive, my love.
I always associate it with a sprigged poplin I was wearing that summer, with a breadth of coloured silk in it, being a naval officer;
but something happened, a Miss Cicely Pemberton, and they are quite big boys now. So long ago, Phoebe –he was very tall, with brown hair —
it was most foolish of me, but I was always so fond of sewing — with long straight legs and such a pleasant expression.
It was a wedding gown, my dear. Even plain women, Phoebe, we can’t help it; when we are young we have romantic ideas just as if we were pretty.
And so the wedding-gown was never used. Long before it was finished I knew he would not offer, but I finished it, and then I put it away.
I have always hidden it from you, Phoebe, but of late I have brought it out again, and altered it. You will wear it, my love … won’t you?
And the tears it was sewn with long ago will all turn into smiles on my Phoebe’s wedding day.