A monologue from the play by Henry Arthur Jones
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Representative One-Act Plays by British and Irish Authors. Ed. Barrett H. Clark. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1921.
SIR STEPHEN: You won’t misunderstand me, dear. I’m old enough to be your grandfather. [Very seriously.] Take care how you choose your partner for life. You’ll have a wide choice, and all your future happiness, and the happiness of many generations to come, will depend on the one moment when you say “Yes” to one of the scores of young fellows who’ll ask you to be his wife. Take care! Look him thoroughly up and down! Be sure that he has a good full open eye that can look you straight in the face; and be sure that the whites of his eyes are clear. Take care he hasn’t got a queer-shaped head, or a low forehead. A good round head, and a good full high forehead, do you hear? Notice the grip of his hand when he shakes hands with you! Take care its strong and firm, and not cold and dry. Don’t say “Yes” till you’ve seen him out of trousers, in riding dress, or court dress. Look at the shape of his legs — a good, well-shaped leg, eh, Peggie? And take care it is his leg! See that he’s well-knit and a little lean, not flabby; doesn’t squint; doesn’t stammer; hasn’t got any nervous tricks or twitchings. Don’t marry a bald man! They say we shall all be bald in ten generations. Wait ten generations, Peggie, and then don’t marry a bald man! Can you remember all this, dear? Watch his walk! See that he has a good springy step, and feet made of elastic — can do his four or five miles an hour without turning a hair. Don’t have him if he has a cough in the winter or the spring. Young men ought never to have a cough. And be sure he can laugh well and heartily — not a snigger, or a wheeze, or a cackle, but a good, deep, hearty laugh right down from the bottom of his chest. And if he has a little money, or even a good bit, so much the better! There now! You choose a man like that, Peggie, and I won’t promise you that you’ll be happy, but if you’re not, it won’t be your fault, and it won’t be his, and it won’t be mine!