A monologue from the play by St. John Ervine
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.
Listen, Henry Hinde. All the time you were away in Liverpool where nobody knew you, I was here where everybody knew me.
Do you know what that means? People staring at me, and turning up their noses at me? There was nothing but contempt for me at first.
I was a bad woman, and I wasn’t asked nowhere. Fellows in the street treated me like dirt beneath their feet.
They spoke to me as if I was a bad woman. And all that time you were in Liverpool, and were thought a lot of.
It wasn’t fair. And it wasn’t me only. I mind once I was coming down an entry, and I saw a lot of children tormenting the child.
He was standing in the middle of them, and they were making him say things after them. I heard them saying, “What are you, Willie?”
And then they made him say, “I’m a wee bastard!” Aw, if I could have laid hands on you then, Henry, I would have throttled you.
An sure, you’ll be saying it’s all over now. Aye, they don’t treat me with contempt now. I’ve lived that down. They just pity me now.
Sometimes when I go past their doors, an old woman’ll hear me passing, and ask who it is, and they always say, “It’s only poor Maggie Cather.”
I could thole their contempt better nor their pity, but I didn’t run away from either of them. I faced it all, and I’ve brought up the child as good as any of them.
And now when I’ve bore the hardest of it, you come back to marry me. Maybe, you’ll be ordering me about, and bossing the child.
I’m to do what you tell me. I’ve to love, honour and obey you. What for, Henry, that’s what I’d like to know?