YIDDISH LOVE – Monologue (Mrs. Ratun-Sky)

A monologue by Walter Ben Hare

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Readings and Monologues À La Mode. Walter Ben Hare. Minneapolis: T.S. Denison & Co., 1921.


Vell, Sarah Goldfish, maybe I ain’t a tired voman already. My, ain’t you got a style today mit a new lace collar an’ a clean dress, an’ ever’thing. Me, I ain’t got no more time for to be stylish.

Like to a slave I am, mit three children, und a dog, und funerals all togedder. Und I ain’t so strong no more like I vos vonce. For two days und two nights nodding have I done but scrub und clean.

Funerals! Ach, don’t say ’em to me! Nodding else makes so much dirt, especially ven folks like dem Gutzbergs track in der mud all ofer my clean floor, like it vos a unpaved alley street in der rainy season.

Funerals! Ach, don’t say ’em to me. Never did like ’em, und more yet now dan ever. But of course if your man dies, you got to bury him yet, ain’t it? Dots von thing you can’t help, no matter vot your feelings is.

Un’ ain’t dey expensive! Seventy-five dollars have I already out-ge-paid, un’ him only insured for five hunnert. Four hunnert un’ twenty-five tollars profit ain’t so much.

Five carriages ve had, un’ not since Meenie Shimmel’s vedding have I seen so much lamentation un’ veeping mit d’ eyes. Too bad you had to be so seek in d’ bed. You never get to enjoy nodding.

Dem Hooligans upstairs over me, dey get excited un’ scolded awful by d’ policeman ‘count of so much noise. But I say, if you can’t make noise at your own funeral, ven can you?

Mrs. Hooligan, jellix she vos, because she didn’t get a inwitation. Un’ mit her mop on the ceiling she thumped ven I vos trying my best to make a loud lamentation. Such a crowd you never saw.

Big Riffka Skoro-vitch come der first von, un’ she vasn’t even inwited either. But Riffka, vot she care for inwitation? She ain’t stuck up, un’ inwitation means nodding to Riffka. She couldn’t read it if she got it.

You know her. Three hunnert pounds she weighs. Two of my parlor chairs is awful spoilt. She musta sat down twice. So much dirt I ain’t never seen in a house. But of course it ain’t nobody’s fault dot it’s gotta rain ven we’re having his funeral.

Dem Gutzbergs! Black mud un’ yellow mud they bring like it was a present. My parlor carpet, at two sixty-eight a yard, looked like a sewer overflow in the gutter already. But vot do dey know?

Dey ain’t my folks, dem Gutzbergs. To him dey belonged. Maybe you know Kliney Silbernagel? Him mit der big nose. He was von of d’ polar bears at der funeral, un’ six times has he come since.

If I gotta get married again, Kliney would be awful convenient. All my man’s clothes fit Kliney. Flannels he had not two vinters old, und a overcoat for four vinters not yet, un’ shoost like new it is.

Un’ plenty odder clothes, too. Shirts, also–un’ underneaths. My man should have a shameness to buy such quantity clodding, especially ven he vos going to die so soon, not? But vould he to me ever listen?

Some peoples you can’t tell nottings to, un’ even if you do, vot good is it? Mose Schlaus-heimer comes to my house too. My people tink he’d make a besser husband dan Kliney.

Good looking he is, too, un’ generous with what he’s got. Un’ a vidower, too. Dey makes der best kinda husbands, does vidowers, ’cause some voman’s got ’em part tamed already.

From experience I speak. But Mose Schlaus-heimer he ain’t so big as my first husband, not von half of him. So der clothes don’t fit him like on Kliney Silbernagel. I like Mose besser, too.

But vot is a like? Any man you can like if you got to, but clothes only fit some men vonce in a while. Dot fine overcoat un’ dem flannels, should I throw ’em away, shoost like new?

I vouldn’t do it. So dot make me decided on Kliney. Mis’ Goldfish, how you think I better get him? I don’t know for sure, but I gotta scheme. Maybe it ain’t so good. To have a nice leedle parlor party, it is, un’ to ask Kliney to come.

Out on d’ fire-escape a sofa I set made for two. Me un’ Kliney vill look at d’ moon settin’ on der sofa side by each. Den I get girlish, un’ make a sigh, so! In der movies I seen ’em done it, un’ every time it worked.

Den he’s goin’ to sigh, un’ me vonce again, un’ den a couple of more times togedder der both of us, un’ den I spring it on him dot thirteen hunnert dollars is der business I got,

mit seven hunnert profit last year, un’ four hunnert twenty-five dollars profit from d’ life insurance, un’ if all dem don’t fetch him, vot vill?

Read the play here

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