By GEORGE BERNARD SHAW.
Adapted for the AMERICAN DRAMA GROUP by Peter Joucla.
Actor One: to play Higgins.
Actor Two: to play Eliza.
Actor Three: to play Mrs Pearce, Mrs Higgins, Drunk and Hostess.
Actor Four: to play Pickering and Mrs Eynsford Hill.
Actor Five: to play Freddy, Doolittle and Nepommuck.
ACT ONE: SCENE ONE: ON A STREET OUTSIDE CONVENT GARDEN.
DRUNK SITS IN THE ALCOVE, WRAPPED IN A BLANKET, BEGGING AS PEOPLE PASS BY. SHE SINGS A DRUNK VERSION OF "AIN'T IT ALL A BLOOMIN' SHAME." ELIZA ENTERS VIA THE AUDIENCE, TRYING TO SELL FLOWERS. SHE JOINS THE DRUNK ON STAGE.
THE RAIN STARTS.
HIGGINS ENTERS AND SHELTERS FROM THE RAIN.
HIGGINS: (LOOKING UP AT THE RAIN) Bloody Hell. Bloody, bloody
ENTER MRS EYNSFORD HILL, LOOKING FOR HER SON FREDDY.
MRS E: Freddy? Oh sorry. I thought you were my son.
(FURIOUS, HALF TO HERSELF, HALF TO HIGGINS) I'm getting chilled to the bone. What can my son be doing all this time? He's been gone twenty minutes. He ought to have found a cab by now.
DRUNK: He won't get a cab not until half past eleven, missus, when they come back after dropping their theatre fares.
MRS E: But I must have a cab. I can't stand here until half past eleven. It's too bad.
DRUNK: Well it ain't my fault, missus.
MRS E: If Freddy had a bit of gumption, he would have got one at the theatre door. Other people got cabs. Why couldn't he?
FREDDY RUSHES IN OUT OF THE RAIN, CLOSING A DRIPPING UMBRELLA.
Freddy! Well? Haven't you got a cab?
FREDDY: There's not one to be had for love not money.
MRS E: Oh Freddy, there must be one. You can't have tried. Do you expect me to go and find one myself?
FREDDY: I tell you, they're all engaged. The rain was so sudden.
I've been to Charing Cross one way and nearly to Ludgate Circus the other. They're all engaged.
MRS E: You haven't tried at all. Am I to stand here all night, with nearly next to nothing on? You selfish pig.
FREDDY: - Oh very well, mother. I'll go.
FREDDY RUSHES OFF BUT COMES INTO COLLISION WITH ELIZA, A FLOWER GIRL, KNOCKING HER BASKET OUT OF HER HANDS.
A BLINDING FLASH OF LIGHTNING, FOLLOWED BY A RATTLING PEEL OF THUNDER ORCHESTRATES THE INCIDENT.
ELIZA: Now then Freddy. Look where you're goin' dear.
FREDDY: Sorry. (HE RUSHES OFF)
ELIZA: (PICKING UP HER SCATTERED FLOWERS AND REPLACING THEM IN HER BASKET.) There's manners for yer.
Two bunches of violets trod into the mud.
MRS E: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy?
ELIZA: (IN THICK COCKNEY ACCENT) Oh, he's your son, is he? Well if you had done your duty by him, as a mother should, he would know better than to spoil a poor girl's flowers and run away without paying. Will you pay me for them?
MRS E: I didn't understand a word of that.
DRUNK: She said - 'Oh, ee's your son,is he? Well if...
MRS E: (TO DRUNK) Oh be quiet.
(TO ELIZA) Tell me how do you know that young gentleman's name?
ELIZA: I didn't.
MRS E: I heard you call him by it. Don't try to deceive me.
ELIZA: (PROTESTING) Who's trying to deceive you? I called him Freddy or Charlie, same as you might yourself if you was talking to a stranger and wished to be pleasant.
ELIZA MAY ADD A BARELY AUDIBLE 'STUPID BITCH' OR BELCH INTO MRS EYNSFORD HILL'S FACE. AT WHICH POINT MRS E. LEAVES IN DISGUST. ELIZA SHARES HER SCORN WITH THE DRUNK, BY SINGING 'IT'S THE SAME THE WHOLE WORLD OVER'. AS THE DRUNK FINISHES THE SONG SHE BECOMES AWARE OF THE FACT THAT HIGGINS IS COPYING DOWN THE WORDS IN HIS BOOK.
PICKERING ENTERS AND MOVES TO THE SHELTER.
PICK: Phew! (TO ELIZA) Is there any sign of it stopping?
DRUNK: 'Fraid not. It started worse than ever about two minutes ago.
PICK: Oh dear...
ELIZA: Cheer up, Captain, and buy a flower off a poor girl.
PICK: I'm sorry. I haven't any change.
ELIZA: I can give you change, Captain.
PICK: For a sovereign? I've nothing less.
ELIZA: Garn! Oh, do buy a flower off me, Captain. I can change half a crown.
PICK: Now don't be troublesome, there's a good girl. (TRYING HIS POCKETS) I really haven't any change. Stop. Here's three hapence, if that's any use to you.
ELIZA: (DISAPPOINTED) Thank you sir.
DRUNK: You be careful. Give him a flower for it. There's a bloke behind here (POINTING TO HIGGINS UPSTAGE) taking down every blessed word you're saying.
ELIZA: (SPRINGING UP TERRIFIED) I ain't done nothing wrong by
speaking to the gentleman. I've a right to sell flowers if I keep off the kerb. (HYSTERICALLY) I'm a respectable girl, so help me. I never spoke to him, except to ask him to buy a flower off me.
(TO PICKERING) Oh sir, don't let him charge me!
HIGGINS: There, there. Who's hurting you, you silly girl? What do
you take me for?
DRUNK: She thought you was a policeman.
ELIZA: (STILL HYSTERICAL) I take my bible oath I never said a
HIGGINS: Oh shut up. Do I look like a policeman?
ELIZA: Then what did you take down my words for? How do I know
whether you took me down right? You just show me what
you've wrote about me.
HIGGINS OPENS THE BOOK AND HOLDS IT UNDER HER NOSE.
What's that? That ain't proper writing. I can't read
HIGGINS: I can. (HE READS, REPRODUCING HER PRONOUNCIATION
'Cheer up Captain, and buy a flower off a poor girl.'
ELIZA: (MUCH DISTRESSED) It's because I called him Captain.
I meant no harm.
(TO PICKERING) Oh sir. Don't let him lay a charge against
me for a word like that.
PICK: Charge? I make no charge. (TO HIGGINS) Really sir, if you
are a detective, you need not begin protecting me against
molestation by young women until I ask you. Anyone could
see the girl meant no harm.
HIGGINS: (TO ELIZA) I am simply trying to work out from your
speech, which part of Lisson Grove you were born in.
ELIZA: (APPAULLED) Who told you I lived in Lisson Grove?
'Ere, who are you? What's goin' on? I ain't done nothing
wrong! (IN TEARS) Booo-hooo-hoo!
HIGGINS: Bloody hell - stop that noise.
PICK: (TO ELIZA) Come come. He can't touch you. You have a right to live where you please.
ELIZA: Yeah. I'm a good girl, I am. Ain't no call to meddle with
me, he ain't.
DRUNK: (TO HIGGINS) 'Ere - do you know where I come from?
DRUNK: Blimey - you know everything, you do.
ELIZA: Ain't no call to meddle wiv me, he ain't.
DRUNK: Course he ain't. (TO HIGGINS) You take us for dirt under
your feet. (POINTING TO PICK)
You tell him where he come from, if you want to go
HIGGINS: Cheltenham, Harrow, Cambridge and India.
PICK: (INDIGNANT) Quite right.
THE DRUNK LAUGHS. ELIZA SITS AND ARRANGES HER BASKET, STILL PITYING HERSELF IN MURMURS, STILL ANGRY WITH HIGGINS.
ELIZA: Poor girl. Hard enough for me to live without being
worrited and chivied.
PICK: (TO HIGGINS) May I ask, sir - do you do this for your
living at a music hall?
HIGGINS: I've thought of that. Perhaps I shall one day.
FREDDY REAPPEARS, LOOKING FOR HIS MOTHER.
FREDDY: Mother? Mother!
HIGGINS: (POINTING AT FREDDY) Earl's Court.
FREDDY: (MOVING OVER TO HIGGINS) I beg your pardon?
HIGGINS: Earl's Court. And your mother's Epsom, unmistakably.
FREDDY: How very curious! How did you....?
(HE SEES AN EMPTY CAB AND RUSHES OFF) Excuse me.
(CALLING OFF) Taxi! Taxi! WAIT!
PICK: How do you do it, may I ask?
HIGGINS: Simply phonetics. The science of speech. That's my
profession. It is also my hobby. You can spot a German by his trousers, a Frenchman by his tie...
ELIZA: (STILL WIMPERING) Ought to be ashamed of himself.....
HIGGINS: I can place a man within six miles. I can place him
within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.
ELIZA: Unmanly coward.....
PICK: But is there a living in that?
HIGGINS: Oh yes. This is an age of upstarts. Men begin in Kentish
Town with eighty pounds a year, and end in Park Lane with a hundred thousand. They want to drop Kentish
Town but give themselves away every time they open their mouths. Now I can teach them....
ELIZA: ....Let him mind his own business and leave a poor
HIGGINS: - (EXPLOSIVELY) Woman: cease this detestable boo-hooing
instantly, or seek the shelter of some other place!
ELIZA: I've a right to be here if I like - same as you.
HIGGINS: A woman who utters such disgusting sounds has no right to
be anywhere - no right to live. Remember that you
are a human being, with a soul and the divine gift of
articulate speech: that your native language is the
language of Shakespeare, Milton and the Bible. Don't sit there crooning like a bilious pidgeon!
ELIZA: (QUITE OVERHWELMED) Aaaah-ooooow!
HIGGINS: (WHIPPING OUT HIS BOOK) Heavens! What a sound! (HE WRITES, THEN HOLDS OUT THE BOOK AND READS)
ELIZA: (TICKLED BY THE PERFORMANCE, AND LAUGHING IN
SPITE OF HERSELF) Garn!
HIGGINS: You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the
English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days.
Well sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a dutchess at
an ambassador's garden party.
ELIZA: What did you say?
HIGGINS: Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf. I could pass you off as
the Queen of Sheba. (TO PICK) Can you believe that?
PICK: Of course I can. I am myself a student of Indian
HIGGINS: Are you? Do you know Colonel Pickering, the author of
PICK: I am Colonel Pickering. Who are you?
HIGGINGS: Henry Higgins, author of Higgins Universal Alphabet.
PICK: (WITH ENTHUSIASM) I came from India to meet you!
HIGGINS: I was going to India to meet you!
PICK: Where do you live?
HIGGINS: 27A Wimpole Street. Come and see me tomorrow.
PICK: I'm at the Carlton. Come with me now and we can have a
jaw over some supper.
HIGGINS: Right you are.
ELIZA: (TO PICKERING AS HE PASSES HER) Buy a flower kind gentleman. I'm short for my lodging.
PICK: I really haven't any change. I'm sorry. (HE MOVES AWAY)
HIGGINS: (SHOCKED AT THE GIRL'S MENDACITY) Liar. You said you
could change half a crown.
ELIZA: (RISING IN DESPERATION) You ought to be stuffed with nails, you ought. (FLINGING THE BASKET AT HIS FEET)
Take the whole bloomin' lot for sixpence.
HIGGINS THINKS FOR A SECOND AND THEN THROWS A HANDFUL OF MONEY INTO THE BASKET AND GOES.
(PICKING UP HALF A CROWN) Aaah-ooo! (PICKING UP A
COUPLE OF FLORINS) AAAaaaah-ow-aaah! (PICKING UP
HALF A SOVEREIGN) AAAAAaaaaaaaaah-ooooouuugh!
WE HEAR A TAXI PULLING UP. FREDDY SPRINGS UP AND APPROACHES ELIZA.
FREDDY: Hello. Where is my mother? Where is the lady that`was
here just now?
ELIZA: Oh. She left when the rain stopped.
FREDDY: And left me with a cab on my hands! Damnation!
ELIZA: Never mind, young man. I'm going home in a taxi. (CALLING OFF TO TAXI DRIVER) It's all right, Charlie. A taxi fare
ain't no object to me. (SHE STOPS AND TURNS BACK TO FREDDY) Goodbye. "Freddy."
ELIZA EXITS. FREDDY, DAZED, RAISES HIS HAT.
SCENE TWO: HIGGINS' LABORATORY IN WIMPOLE STREET.
PICKERING AND HIGGINS ARE DOWNSTAGE LISTENING TO A SELECTION OF VOICES (EITHER REGIONAL ACCENTS, GENERATED BY ACTORS OFFSTAGE, OR HE'S SPEAKING THEM HIMSELF). HIGGINS MAY HAVE A MAP OF ENGLAND TO HAND, AND BE POINTING OUT THEIR ORIGIN.
PICKERING MAY BE ASLEEP AND WAKE UP SUDDENLY - TO SUGGEST THAT HIGGINS' 'LESSON' HAS GONE ON TOO LONG.
MRS PEARCE ENTERS.
PEARCE: Mr Higgins?
Sorry to disturb you, sir.
HIGGINS: Oh. It's you, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: The mail. (SHE SHOWS HIM A HANDFUL OF LETTERS)
HIGGINS: Pay the bills and say no to the invitations.
PEARCE: There's another letter from that American millionaire,
Ezra D. Wallingford. He still wants you to lecture for his moral
HIGGINS: Throw it away.
PEARCE: It's the third letter he's written to you. You should at
least answer it.
HIGGINS: Oh very well. Leave it on my desk.
MRS PEARCE EXITS.
PICKERING FALLS OFF HIS CHAIR AND SUDDENLY WAKES.
HIGGINS: Tired of listening to sounds? (HE SWITCHES OFF THE RECORDER)
PICK: Yes. It's a fearful strain. I rather fancied myself
because I can pronounce twenty-four distinct sounds, but
your hundred and thirty beat me. I can't hear a bit of
difference between most of them.
HIGGINS: Oh, that comes with practice. You hear no difference at
MRS PEARCE LOOKS IN, HESITATING, EVIDENTLY PERPLEXED.
What's the matter Mrs Pearce?
PEARCE: A young woman to see you, sir.
HIGGINS: A young woman? What does she want?
PEARCE: She's quite a common girl, sir. Very common indeed.
I should have sent her away, only I thought perhaps you
wanted her to talk into your machines.
HIGGINS: Oh that's all right. Has she an interesting accent?
PEARCE: Something dreadful, sir.
HIGGINS: (TO PICKERING) Let's have her up. Show her up, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: Very well, sir.
MRS PEARCE EXITS. HIGGINS SETS UP THE LAB.
HIGGINS: This is a bit of luck. I'll show you how I make
recordings. We'll get her recorded on the phonograph so
that you can turn her on and off as often as you like.
MRS PEARCE RETURNS.
PEARCE: This is the young woman, sir.
ENTER ELIZA. SHE HAS TRIED HARD TO SMARTEN HERSELF UP.
HIGGINS: (DISAPPOINTED) Why this is the girl I jotted down last
night. She's no use. I've got all the records I want of the Lisson
Grove lingo, and I'm not going to waste another cylinder on it. (TO ELIZA) Be off with you I don't want you.
ELIZA: Don't you be so saucy. You ain't heard what I come for
yet. I've come to have lessons, I am. And to pay for them
too, make no mistake.
HIGGINS: Well! Pickering: shall we ask this baggage to sit down, or shall
we throw her out of the window?
ELIZA: (COWERING IN TERROR) EEeee-aaa-oooo-uuu! - I won't be called a baggage when I offered to pay like any lady.
PICK: (GENTLY) But what is it you want?
ELIZA: I want to be a lady in a flower shop, stead of sellin at the corner of
Tottenham Court Road. But they won't take me unless I can talk
more genteel. He said he could teach me. Well, here I am ready to pay him - not asking any favour - and he treats me as if I was dirt.
HIGGINS: How much?
ELIZA: (COMING BACK TO HIM, TRIUMPHANT) Now you're talking!
I thought you'd come off it when you saw a chance of getting back a bit of what you chucked at me last night. (CONFIDENTLY) You were pissed weren't you...
HIGGINS: (PEREMPTORILY) Sit down.
ELIZA: Oh, if you're going to make a compliment of it...
HIGGINS: (BLUNDERING AT HER) SIT DOWN!
PEARCE: (SEVERELY) Sit down, girl. Do as you are told.
ELIZA: Aaaaahh-oooo-ooow! (SHE STANDS HALF-BEWILDERED, HALF REBELLIOUS)
PICK: (VERY COURTEOUS, OFFERING A CHAIR) Won't you sit
ELIZA: I don't mind if I do. (SHE SITS)
HIGGINS: What is your name?
ELIZA: Eliza Doolittle.
HIGGINS: How much do you propose to pay me for the lessons?
ELIZA: Oh I know what's right. A lady friend of mine gets French
lessons for eighteen pence an hour from a real French
gentleman. Well, you wouldn't have the face to ask me the
same for teaching me my own language as you would French; so I won't give you more than a shilling. Take it or leave it.
HIGGINS: You know, Pickering, if you consider a shilling not as a
shilling but as a percentage of this girl's income, it
works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy guineas
from a millionaire.
PICK: How so?
HIGGINS: Figure it out....
ELIZA: (RISING, TERRIFIED) - Sixty guineas! What are you talking
about? I never offered you sixty guineas. Where would I get...?
HIGGINS: - Hold your tongue.
ELIZA: (WEEPING) But I ain't got sixty guineas. Aaaa-ooooh!
PEARCE: Don't cry, you silly girl. Sit down. Nobody is going to
touch your money.
HIGGINS: Somebody is going to touch you, with a broomstick if you
don't stop snivelling. Sit down.
HE OFFERS HER HIS SILK HANDKERCHIEF.
ELIZA: What's this for?
HIGGINS: To wipe your eyes. To wipe any part of your face that
feels moist. Remember, that's your handkerchief; and
that's your sleeve. Don't mistake one for the other if you wish to become a lady in a flower shop.
LIZA, UTTERLY BEWILDERED, STARES HELPLESSLY AT HIM.
PEARCE: It's no use talking to her like that, Mr Higgins. She
doesn't understand you. Besides, you're quite wrong. She
doesn't do it that`way at all.
MRS PEARCE TAKES THE HANDKERCHIEF. ELIZA SNATCHES IT BACK.
ELIZA: - Here! You give me that handkerchief. She gave it to me,
not to you!
PICK: (LAUGHING) He did. I think it must be regarded as her
property, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: Serve you right, Mr Higgins.
PICK: Higgins: I'm interested. What about the Ambassador's summer ball? I'll say you're the greatest teacher alive if you make
that good. I'll bet all the expenses of the experiment you can't do
it. And I'll pay for the lessons.
ELIZA: Oh, you are real good. Thank you, Captain.
HIGGINS: (TEMPTED, LOOKING AT HER) It's almost irresistible. She's so deliciously low - so horribly dirty. ....
ELIZA: (PROTESTING EXTREMELY) Aaaah-aaa-oooo-ow! I ain't dirty! I washed my face and hands afore I come, I did.
PICK: You're certainly not going to turn her head with flattery, Higgins.
PEARCE: (TO HIGGINS) I do hope sir, you won't do anything foolish.
HIGGINS: (BECOMING EXCITED AS THE IDEA GROWS ON HIM)
What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is
finding them to do. Never lose a chance; it doesn't come every day. I shall make a duchess of this draggletailed guttersnipe.
HIGGINS: (CARRIED AWAY) Yes, in six months - in three if she has a
good ear and a quick tongue - I'll take her anywhere and
pass her off as anything. We'll start this moment! Take
her away and clean her, Mrs Pearce. Use sandpaper, if it
won't come off any other way. Take all her clothes off
and burn them. Ring up Whiteley or someone for some new
ones. Wrap her up in brown paper til they come. If she
gives you any trouble, Mrs Pearce, wallop her.
ELIZA: (SPRINGING UP AND RUNNING BETWEEN PICKERING AND
MRS PEARCE FOR PROTECTION.) No! I'll call the Police, I will.
PEARCE: But I've no place to put her.
HIGGINS: Put her in the dustbin.
PICK: Oh come, Higgins! Be reasonable.
PEARCE: You must be reasonable, Mr Higgins. You can't walk over
everybody like this. You can't take a girl up like that as if you were picking up a pebble on a beach.
HIGGINS: Why not?
PEARCE: Why not! But you don't know anything about her. What about her parents? She may be married.
HIGGINS: There! As the girl very properly says, Garn! Married
indeed! Don't you know that a woman of that class looks a
worn out drudge of fifty a year after she's married?
ELIZA: Whood marry me?
HIGGINS: By George, Eliza, the streets will be strewn with the
bodies of men shooting themselves for your sake before
I've done with you.
ELIZA: (RISING) I'm going away. He's off his chump, he is. I
don't want no balmies teaching me.
HIGGINS: Oh indeed! Mad, am I? Very well, Mrs Pearce: you needn't
order the new clothes for her. Throw her out.
ELIZA: (WIMPERING) Nah-ow! You've got no right to touch me.
PEARCE: You see now what comes from being saucy. (INDICATING DOOR) This way, please.
ELIZA: (ALMOST IN TEARS) I didn't want no clothes. I wouldn't
have taken them. (SHE THROWS AWAY THE HANDKERCHIEF) I can buy my own clothes.
HIGGINS: (DEFTLY RETRIEVING THE HANDKERCHIEF) You're an
ungrateful, wicked girl. This is my return for offering to make a
lady of you.
PEARCE: Stop, Mr Higgins. I won't allow it. It's you who are
wicked. Go home to your parents, girl, and tell them to
take better care of you.
ELIZA: My father is living with my eigth stepmother – an
'orrible woman wiv no teeth called 'Hilda.' They told me
I was big enough to earn my own living and threw me out.
HIGGINS: There! The girl doesn't belong to anybody - is no use to
anybody but me.
ELIZA STARTS TO CRY.
PICK: Does it occur to you, Higgins, that this girl has some
HIGGINS: (LOOKING CRITICALLY AT HER) Oh no. I don't think so.
ELIZA: I got my feelings, same as everybody else.
HIGGINS: (REFLECTIVELY TO PICKERING) You see the difficulty?
PICK: Eh? What difficulty?
HIGGINS: To get her to talk grammar. The mere pronunciation is
PEARCE: Will you please keep to the point, Mr Higgins. What is to
become of her when you have finished your teaching? You
must look ahead a little.
HIGGINS: What's to become of her if I leave her in the gutter? Tell me that, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: That's her own business, not yours, Mr Higgins.
HIGGINS: Well when I've done with her, we can throw her back into
the gutter and then it will be her own business again, so
that's all right.
ELIZA: Oh, you've no feeling heart in you: you don't care for
nothing but yourself.
(SHE RISES AND PREPARES TO LEAVE) Here, I've had enough
of this. I'm going. You ought to be ashamed of yourself,
HIGGINS: (SNATCHING A CHOCOLATE CREAM) Have a chocolate, Eliza.
ELIZA: (HALTING, TEMPTED) How do I know what might be in them? I've heard of girls being drugged by the like of you..
HIGGINS CUTS THE CHOCOLATE IN TWO, PUTS ONE IN HIS MOUTH AND OFFERS ELIZA THE OTHER HALF, AS IF TEMPTING A BIRD.
HIGGINS: Pledge of good faith, Eliza. I eat one half: you eat the
ELIZA OPENS HER MOUTH TO RETORT: HIGGINS POPS IN THE CHOC.
You shall have boxes of them, barrels of them, every day.
You shall live on them, eh?
ELIZA: I wouldn't have ate it, only I'm too ladylike to take it out of my
HIGGINS: Listen Eliza. In the future you shall have as many
chocolates as you want. You shall go up and down and round the town in a taxi every day. Think of that, Eliza.
PEARCE: Mr Higgins. You're tempting the girl.
HIGGINS: (IGNORING MRS PEARCE) Think of chocolates, and taxis, and
gold and diamonds.
ELIZA: (FINALLY) NO.I don't want no gold and no diamonds. I'm a
good girl, I am.
PICK: Excuse me, Higgins; but I really must interfere. Mrs
Pearce is quite right. If this girl is to put herself in
your hands for six months, for an experiment in teaching, she must understand thoroughly what she is
HIGGINS: How can she? She's incapable of understanding anything.
Besides, do any of us understand what we are doing? If we
did, would we ever do it?
PICK: Very clever, Higgins, but not to the present point. (TO
ELIZA: 'Miss!' I never been called 'miss' before. 'Cooooo-eee!'
HIGGINS: There! That's all you''ll get out of Eliza. 'Cooo.eee'
No use explaining. As a military man, you ought to
know that. Give her orders: that's enough for her.
ELiza! You are to live here for the next six months,
learning how to speak beautifully, like a lady in a
florist's shop. If you are good, and do whatever you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom and have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and take rides in taxis. If you're naughty and idle you will sleep in the back kitchen among the black beetles, and be walloped by Mrs Pearce with a broomstick. At the end of six months, you shall go to Buckingham Palace, beautifully dressed. If the King finds out you're not a lady, you will be taken by the police to the Tower of London, where your head will be cut off as a warning to other presumtuous flower girls. If you are not found out, you shall have a present of seven and sixpence to start life with as a lady in a flower shop.
If you refuse this offer, you will be a most ungrateful
wicked girl; and the angels will weep for you.
(TO PICKERING) Now are you satisfied, Pickering?
(TO MRS PEARCE) Can I put it more plainly and fairly, Mrs
PEARCE: (PATIENTLY) I think you'd better let me speak to the girl
properly, in private. Come with me, ELiza.
HIGGINS: That's right. Thank you Mrs Pearce. Bundle her off into
ELIZA: (RISING RELUCTANTLY) You're a great bully, you are.
I won't stay here if I don't like it.
MRS PEARCE TAKES ELIZA AWAY. ELIZA CONTINUES TO SPEAK AS SHE EXITS.
ELIZA: I won't let anyone wallop me. I never asked to go to
Bucknam Palace, I didn't.
I was never in trouble with the police, not me. I'm a
MRS PEARCE LEADS ELIZA TO THE BATHROOM, AND PREPARES ELIZA'S BATH.
DURING THE FOLLOWING SCENE, ELIZA IS STRIPPED AND PUT IN THE TUB.
Gawd! What's this? Is this where you wash clothes?
PEARCE: This is where we wash ourselves, ELiza. And this is where
I'm going to wash you.
ELIZA: You expect me to get into that`and wet myself all over?
Not me. I should catch my death. I knew a woman did it
every Saturday night; and she died of it.
PEARCE: Mr Higgins and the colonel won't like the smell of you if
ELIZA: (WEEPING) I couldn't! It's not natural: it would kill me!
I've never had a bath in my life.
PEARCE: Well don 't you want to be clean and sweet like a lady? You
know you can't be a nice girl inside if you're a dirty
slut on the outside.
PEARCE: Now stop crying and take off all your clothes.
ELIZA: I can't. I won't. I never took off all my clothes before.
It's not right. It's not decent.
PEARCE: Nonsense child. Don't you take off all your clothes every
night when you go to bed?
ELIZA: No. Why should I? I should catch my death. You want to
kill me, you do.
PEARCE: I want to change you from a frowzy slut to a clean,
respectable girl fit enough to sit with the gentlemen in
the study. Now come along. Take that thing off.
ELIZA: (STRUGGLING) Oh I couldn't, Mrs Pearce. Really I
couldn't. I never done such a thing.
PEARCE: Nonsense.Here, step in and tell me whether it's hot
enough for you.
ELIZA: (AS SHE IS PUSHED INTO THE TUB) Ah-hoo! It's too hot!
THE SCENE CONTINUES IN SILENCE AND FADES AS FOCUS RETURNS TO HIGGINS AND PICKERING.
HIGGINS HAS BEEN FACING UPSTAGE TO WATCH THE SAUCY SHADOWS..
PICK: Excuse the straight question, Higgins. Are you a man of
good character where women are concerned?
HIGGINS: Have you ever met a man of good character where women are concerned?
PICK: Yes: very frequently.
HIGGINS: Well I haven't. I find that the moment I let a woman make
friends with me, she becomes a damned nuisance. Women
upset everything. When you let them into your life, you
find that a the woman is driving at one thing and you're
driving at another.
PICK: Like what, for example?
HIGGINS: Oh, Lord knows! I suppose the woman wants to live her
life and the man wants to live his; and each tries to drag the other
on to the wrong track. One wants to go north and the other wants
to go south; and the result is that both have to go east, though
they both hate the east wind.
MRS PEARCE ENTERS. SHE MAY CATCH HIGGINS WATCHING ELIZE STILL WASHING.
Well, Mrs Pearce: is it all right?
PEARCE: I just wish to trouble you with a word if I may, Mr Higgins.
- Will you please be very particular what you say before
HIGGINS: Of course. I'm always particular about what I say. Why do
you say this to me?
PEARCE: No sir: you're not at all particular when you've mislaid
something or when you get a little impatient. Now it
doesn't matter to me, I'm used to it. But you really must
not swear before the girl.
HIGGINS: (INDIGNANT) I swear! I never swear! You know bloody well
I detest the habit! What the hell do you mean?
PEARCE: That's what I mean. I beg you not to let the Eliza hear
*(There is one word in particular I must ask you not to use. The girl used it herself just now in the bath as she was washing her fingernails. It begins with the same letter as finger, sir. She knows no better: she learnt it at her
mother's knee. But she must not hear it from your lips.
HIGGINS: I have never uttered it, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: Only this morning sir, you applied it to your fork, your
fillet steak and to the fire place.
HIGGINS: Oh that! Mere alliteration, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: Well sir, whatever you choose to call it, I beg you not to let the
girl hear you repeat it.)*
HIGGINS: Oh very well. I shall be particularly careful before the girl. Is that
PEARCE: No sir. Might she use some of those Japanese dresses you
brought from abroad. I really can't put her back into her
HIGGINS: Certainly. Anything you like.
PEARCE: Thank you sir.
MRS PEARCE EXITS.
HIGGINS: You know, Pickering, that woman has the most
extraordinary ideas about me. Here I am, a shy, charming
and well-mannered. And yet she's firmly persuaded that
I'm the opposite. I can't account for it.
MUSIC BEGINS AND ELIZA ENTERS IN A JAPANESE DRESS TO BEGIN HER FIRST LESSON. DURING THE SONG, HIGGINS IS SEEN TO BULLY ELIZA.
THE SONG ENDS BUT THE LESSON CONTINUES.
Bloody Hell, Eliza! Hold your head up when you walk!
ELIZA WALKS ROUND HIGGINS, LIKE A CIRCUS ANIMAL AROUND A RING MASTER.
Don't slouch! Don't waddle! You are not a duck. Now stop.
ELIZA STANDS STIFF AND POISED.
Right. Now then. Greet Pickering as if he were your
ELIZA: Oh. 'ello.
HIGGINS: No. Bugger it. No. Look, what's this? (HE GESTURES TO THE AIR)
HIGGINS: What is it?
HIGGINS: Good. Say it again.
HIGGINS: Good. (HE GRABS HER HAIR) Now what is this?
ELIZA: Ooow! - 'Air!
HIGGINS: No. There's an aich at the beginning.
HIGGINS: Good. What is a resting place for animals?
PICKERING: A lair?
HIGGINS: Thank you, Pickering. A lair. Say Lair.
HIGGINS: Not you, Pickering. You. (POINTING TO ELIZA)
HIGGINS: Good. Now put those three words together. (HE GESTURES TO THE AIR)
HIGGINS GRABS ELIZA'S HAIR AGAIN.
HIGGINS: Good. Again.
ELIZA: Air. Hair. Lair. Air-hair-lair....(ELIZA GETS IT AND
GOES TO GREET PICK)
Air, hair, lair....
PICK: Air, hair-lair...
HIGGINS: Good. Now say your alphabet.
ELIZA: I know my alphabet. Do you think I know nothing?
HIGGINS: (THUNDERING) Say your alphabet!
PICK: Say it, Miss Doolittle. You will understand presently. Do
what he tells you; and let him teach you in his own way.
ELIZA: Oh well. If you put it like that - Ayeee, bayee,
HIGGINS: (WITH THE ROAR OF A WOUNDED LION) STOP!
Listen to this Pickering. This is what we pay for as
elementary education. This unfortunate animal has been
locked up for nine years in school at our expense to teach her to speak the language of Shakespeare and Milton. And the result is 'Ayee, bayee,sayee...'
Eliza: say A. B. C. D.
ELIZA: (ALMOST IN TEARS) But I am sayin' it. Ayee, bayee,
HIGGINS: Stop! Say 'A cup of tea.'
ELIZA: A cuppa tae.
HIGGINS: Put your tongue forward until it squeezes against the top
of your lower teeth.
Now say 'Cup'.
ELIZA: Cu-cu-cu. I can't! (FINALLY AND WITH PICKERING'S SECRET HELP) 'Cup'.
PICK: (SURPRISED) Good! Splendid, Miss Doolittle.
HIGGINS: By Jupitor, she's done it at the first shot. Pickering, we shall
make a duchess of her. (TO ELIZA) Now do you think you could
possibly say 'Tea'? Not taye, mind. If you ever say beaye, or caeye
or daeye again, you shall be dragged around the room three times
by the hair of your head. (FORTISSIMO) T.T.T.T.
ELIZA: (WEEPING) I can't hear no difference, 'cept it sounds
more genteel like when you say it.
HIGGINS: Well if you can hear the difference, what the devil are
you crying for?
Pickering - give her a chocolate.
PICK: (FETCHING ELIZA A CHOCOLATE) No no. Never mind crying
a little, Miss Doolittle: you are doing very well, and the lessons won't hurt. I promise you I won't let Higgins drag you round the room by your hair.
HIGGINS: Be off with you to Mrs Pearce and tell her about it.
Think about it. Try to do it by yourself: and keep your
tongue well forward in your mouth instead of trying to roll it up
and swallow it. Another lesson at half past four. Away with you.
ELIZA, STILL SOBBING, RUSHES FROM THE ROOM AS MRS PEARCE ENTERS.
PEARCE: If you please sir, the trouble's beginning already.
There's a dustman downstairs. Alfred Doolittle, wants to
see you. He says you have his daughter here.
HIGGINS: Send the blackguard up.
BEFORE MRS PEARCE CAN FETCH HIM, DOOLITTLE MARCHES IN.
DOOLITTLE: Professor 'Iggins?
HIGGINS: Here. Sit down.
DOOLITTLE:Morning governor. I come about a very important matter.
HIGGINS: (TO PICKERING) Brought up in Hounslow. Mother Welsh,
I should think.
What do you want, Doolittle?
DOOLITTLE:(MENACINGLY) I want my daughter. That's what I want.
HIGGINS: Of course you do. You're her father, aren't you. She's
upstairs. Take her away.
HIGGINS: Take her away. Do you suppose I'm going to keep your daughter for you?
DOOLITTLE:Now look here, Governor. Is this reasonable? Is it farity
to take advantage of a man like this? The girl belongs to
me. You got her. Where do I come in?
HIGGINS: Your daughter had the audacity to come to my house and
ask me to teach her how to speak properly so that she
could get a place in a flower shop. How dare you come
here and attempt to blackmail me. You sent her here on
HIGGINS: You must have. How else could you possibly know she was
DOOLITTLE Don't take a man up like that, Governor.
HIGGINS: The police shall take you up. This is a plant. A plot to
extort money by threats.
(MOVING TO THE DOOR) I shall telephone for the police.
DOOLITTLE:(STOPPING HIM) Have I asked you for a brass farthing? I
leave it to this gentleman here. Have I said a word about money?
HIGGINS: You're going to take her away double quick. (CALLING)
DOOLITTLE: No Governor. Don't say that. I'm not the man to stand in
my girl's light...
MRS PEARCE ENTERS.
HIGGINS; Mrs Pearce. This is ELiza's father. He has come to take
her away. Give her to him.
DOOLITTLE:No. This is a misunderstanding. Listen here....
PEARCE: He can't take her away, Mr Higgins. How can he? You told
me to burn her clothes.
DOOLITTLE:That's right. I can't carry the girl through the streets like a
blooming monkey, can I?
HIGGINS: You want your daughter. Take your daughter. If she has no
clothes, go out and buy her some.
DOOLITTLE:Where's the clothes she came in? Did I burn them, or did
your missus here?
PEARCE: I am the housekeeper, if you please. I have sent for some
clothes for the girl. When they come you can take her away.
You can wait in the kitchen. This way, please.
DOOLITTLE:(MUCH TROUBLED, TURNING TO HIGGINS) Listen here,
Governor. You and me is men of the world, ain't we?
HIGGINS: Oh! Men of the world, are we? You'd better go, Mrs Pearce.
PEARCE: I think so, indeed sir. (SHE GOES WITH DIGNITY)
PICK: The floor is yours, Mr Doolittle.
DOOLITTLE:(TO PICKERING) Thank you, Governor.
(TO HIGGINS) Well, the truth is, I've taken a sort of fancy to you
Governor; and if you want the girl, I'm not so set on having her
back home again, but I might be open to an arrangement. All I
ask is my rights as a father; and you're the last man alive to
expect me to let her go for nothing; for I can see you're one of the
straight sort, Governor. Well, what's a five pound note to you?
And what's ELiza to me?
PICK: I think you ought to know, Doolittle, that Mr Higgin's
intentions are entirely honorable.
DOOLITTLE:Course they are, Governor. If I thought they wasn't I'd
HIGGINS: Do you mean to say that you'd sell your daughter for £50?
DOOLITTLE:Not in a general way I wouldn't; but to oblige a
gentleman like you, I'd do a good deal, I do assure you.
PICK: Have you no morals, man?
DOOLITTLE:Can't afford them, Governor. Neither could you if you was
as poor as me. Look - if Liza is going to have a bit out of this, why
not me too?
HIGGINS: I don't know what to do, Pickering. There can be no
question that as a matter of morals it's a positive crime
to give this chap a farthing. And yet I feel a sort of rough justice
in his claim.
PICK: Well I know the feeling, but really it seems hardly right.
DOOLITTLE:Don't say that, Governor. Don't look at it that way.
What am I Governors both? I ask you, what am I? I am one
of the undeserving poor, that's what I am. Think of what
that means to a man. It means he's up against middle class
morality all the time. If there's anything going, and I put in for a
bit, it's always the same story. "You're undeserving: so you can't
Will you take advantage of a man's nature to do him out
of the price of his own daughter, what he's brought up
and fed and clothed by the sweat of his brow until she's
growed big enough to be interesting to you two gentlemen?
Is five pounds unreasonable? I put it to you, and I leave it to you.
HIGGINS: Pickering: if we were to take this man in hand for three
months, he could choose between a seat in the cabinet and
a popular pulpit in Wales.
PICK: What do you say to that, Doolittle?
DOOLITTLE:Not me, thank you kindly. Undeserving poverty is my line.
HIGGINS: I suppose we must give him a fiver.
PICK: He'll make bad use of it, I'm afraid.
DOOLITTLE:Not me, Governor, so help me I won't. Don't you be afraid
that I'll save it and spare it and live idly on it. Just one good spree
for me and my girl Hilda. There won't be a penny left by Monday.
HIGGINS: This is irresistible. Let's give him ten.
DOOLITTLE:No Governor. Ten pounds is a lot of money. It will make
Hilda and me feel prudent like and then it's goodbye to
happiness. You just give me what I ask you, Governor. Not
a penny more and not a penny less.
PICKERING: Why don't you marry this Hilda woman? I rather draw the
line at encouraging that sort of immorality.
DOOLITTLE:I'm willing, but she ain't. I've got no hold on Hilda and it's me
that suffers by it. I've got to buy her clothes and presents - I'm a
slave to her, just because I'm not her lawful husband. Take my
advice Governor - marry Eliza while she's young and don't know
HIGGINS: Pickering: if we listen to this man another minute, we
shall have no convictions left. Here you are. Five pounds.
HIGGINS HANDS DOOLITTLE FIVE POUNDS.
DOOLITTLE:Thank you kindly, Governor. Good morning.
DOOLITTLE HURRIES TO THE DOOR, ANXIOUS TO GET AWAY WITH HIS BOOTY. IN THE RUSH, HE COLLIDES WITH ELIZA, WHOM HE DOES NOT RECOGNISE.
MRS PEARCE FOLLOWS BEHIND.
ELIZA: Garn! Don't you know your own daughter?
DOOLITTLE:(FINALLY) Blimey! It's Eliza! I never thought she'd clean up as
good-looking as that, Governor. She's a credit to me, ain't she?
ELIZA: 'Ere, what`are you doin' 'ere? You come to get money out
of Mr 'Iggins to get drunk on?
DOOLITTLE:(STERNLY) Don't you give me none of your lip. If you have
any trouble with her, Governor, give her a few licks of the strap.
That's the way to improve her mind.
(HE BOWS LOW) Good mornin' Gentlemen.
(CHEERFULLY WHACKING ELIZA ON THE BACKSIDE) Cheerio, Eliza.
HIGGINS: By George, there's a man for you! A philosophical genius.
Mrs Pearce, remind me to write to that silly millionaire
Mr Ezra D. Wallingford to tell him that if he wants a lecturer, he should get in touch with Mr Alfred Doolittle, a
common dustman, but one of the most original moralists in
MRS PEARCE:Yes, sir.
ELIZA; ''Ere, what did 'e come 'ere for?
HIGGINS: Hhere, what did hhe came hhere for.
ELIZA: I dunno. I'm asking you.
HIGGINS: Hhere, what did hee come hhere for.
HIGGIN: Hhhere. Say Hhhere.
HIGGINS: Harry's Horse Has Horrible Headaches. Say it.
ELIZA: 'Arry's 'Orse 'As.....
HIGGINS: Bloody hell. No! Look....
HIGGINS LIGHTS A MATCH AND HOLDS IT IN FRONT OF HIS MOUTH.
Eevery time I say my aitch properly, the flame wavers.
(HE DEMONSTRATES) Hhhorse.
When I drop my aitch, the flame doesn't move.
'Orse.' See? Now you try.
HIGGINS HOLDS THE MATCH IN FRONT OF ELIZA'S MOUTH.
HIGGINS: Good. Now say.....
THE FLAME BURNS HIS FINGERS.
AAAAaaah! BLOODY HELL!
ELIZA: AAAAaaah! BLOODY HELL!
HIGGINS: Now say Ha. Ha. Ha Ha Ha....
THIS SOUND TURNS INTO A SONG, DURING WHICH THE LESSON CONTINUES IN