The Silver Box – Monologue (Jones)

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A monologue from the play by John Galsworthy

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Silver Box. John Galsworthy. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916.


Let ’em come and find me. I’ve had enough o’ this tryin’ for work. Why should I go round and round after a job like a bloomin’ squirrel in a cage. “Give us a job, sir”–“Take a man on”–“Got a wife and three children.”

Sick of it I am! I’d sooner lie here and rot. “Jones, you come and join the demonstration; come and ‘old a flag, and listen to the ruddy orators, and go ‘ome as empty as you came.”

There’s some that seems to like that–the sheep! When I go seekin’ for a job now, and see the brutes lookin’ me up an’ down, it’s like a thousand serpents in me. I’m not arskin’ for any treat.

A man wants to sweat himself silly and not allowed–that’s a rum start, ain’t it? A man wants to sweat his soul out to keep the breath in him and ain’t allowed–that’s justice–that’s freedom and all the rest of it!

The other day I went to a place in Edgware Road. “Gov’nor,” I says to the boss, “take me on,” I says. “I ‘haven’t done a stroke o’ work not these two months; it takes the heart out of a man,”

I says; “I’m one to work; I’m not afraid of anything you can give me!” “My good man,” ‘e says, “I’ve had thirty of you here this morning. I took the first two,” he says, “and that’s all I want.”

“Thank you, then rot the world!” I says. “Blasphemin’,” he says, “is not the way to get a job. Out you go, my lad!” [He laughs sarcastically.] Don’t you raise your voice because you’re starvin’;

don’t yer even think of it; take it lyin’ down! Take it like a sensible man, carn’t you? And a little way down the street a lady says to me: “D’you want to earn a few pence, my man?”

and gives me her dog to ‘old outside a shop–fat as a butler ‘e was–tons o’ meat had gone to the makin’ of him. It did ‘er good, it did, made ‘er feel ‘erself that charitable,

but I see ‘er lookin’ at the copper standin’ alongside o’ me, for fear I should make off with ‘er bloomin’ fat dog.

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