THE FUGITIVE – Monologue (Clare)

A monologue from the play by John Galsworthy

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Fugitive: A Play in Four Acts. John Galsworthy. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1913.


My nerves have gone funny lately. It’s being always on one’s guard, and stuffy air, and feeling people look and talk about you, and dislike you being there.

I curl up all the time. The only thing I know for certain is, that I shall never go back to him. The more I’ve hated what I’ve been doing, the more sure I’ve been.

I might come to anything–but not that. I’m spoilt. It’s a curse to be a lady when you have to earn your living.

It’s not really been so hard, I suppose; I’ve been selling things, and living about twice as well as most shop girls.

Lots of the girls are really nice. But somehow they don’t want me, can’t help thinking I’ve got airs or something;

and in here [She touches her breast] I don’t want them! [Pause] Mrs. Fullarton and I used to belong to a society for helping reduced gentlewomen to get work.

I know now what they want: enough money not to work–that’s all! Don’t think me worse than I am–please!

It’s working under people; it’s having to do it, being driven. I have tried, I’ve not been altogether a coward, really!

But every morning getting there the same time; every day the same stale “dinner,” as they call it; every evening the same “Good evening, Miss Clare,”

“Good evening, Miss Simpson,” “Good evening, Miss Hart,” “Good evening, Miss Clare.” And the same walk home,

or the same bus; and the same men that you mustn’t look at, for fear they’ll follow you. Oh! and the feeling–always,

always–that there’s no sun, or life, or hope, or anything. It was just like being ill, the way I’ve wanted to ride and dance and get out into the country. 

[Her excitement dies away into the old clipped composure] Don’t think too badly of me–it really is pretty ghastly!

Read the play here

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