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Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw

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HYPATIA. I did. _[To Percival]_ You see what living with one's
parents means, Joey. It means living in a house where you can be
ordered to leave the room. Ive got to obey: it's his house, not

TARLETON. Who pays for it? Go and support yourself as I did if you
want to be independent.

HYPATIA. I wanted to and you wouldnt let me. How can I support
myself when I'm a prisoner?

TARLETON. Hold your tongue.

HYPATIA. Keep your temper.

PERCIVAL. _[coming between them]_ Lord Summerhays: youll join me,
I'm sure, in pointing out to both father and daughter that they have
now reached that very common stage in family life at which anything
but a blow would be an anti-climax. Do you seriously want to beat
Patsy, Mr Tarleton?

TARLETON. Yes. I want to thrash the life out of her. If she doesnt
get out of my reach, I'll do it. _[He sits down and grasps the
writing table to restrain himself]._

HYPATIA. _[coolly going to him and leaning with her breast on his
writhing shoulders]_ Oh, if you want to beat me just to relieve your
feelings--just really and truly for the fun of it and the satisfaction
of it, beat away. I dont grudge you that.

TARLETON. _[almost in hysterics]_ I used to think that this sort of
thing went on in other families but that it never could happen in
ours. And now-- _[He is broken with emotion, and continues
lamentably]_ I cant say the right thing. I cant do the right thing.
I dont know what is the right thing. I'm beaten; and she knows it.
Summerhays: tell me what to do.

LORD SUMMERHAYS. When my council in Jinghiskahn reached the point of
coming to blows, I used to adjourn the sitting. Let us postpone the
discussion. Wait until Monday: we shall have Sunday to quiet down
in. Believe me, I'm not making fun of you; but I think theres
something in this young gentleman's advice. Read something.

TARLETON. I'll read King Lear.

HYPATIA. Dont. I'm very sorry, dear.

TARLETON. Youre not. Youre laughing at me. Serve me right! Parents
and children! No man should know his own child. No child should know
its own father. Let the family be rooted out of civilization! Let
the human race be brought up in institutions!

HYPATIA. Oh yes. How jolly! You and I might be friends then; and
Joey could stay to dinner.

TARLETON. Let him stay to dinner. Let him stay to breakfast. Let
him spend his life here. Dont you say I drove him out. Dont you say
I drove you out.

PERCIVAL. I really have no right to inflict myself on you. Dropping
in as I did--

TARLETON. Out of the sky. Ha! Dropping in. The new sport of
aviation. You just see a nice house; drop in; scoop up the man's
daughter; and off with you again.

_Bentley comes back, with his shoulders hanging as if he too had been
exercised to the last pitch of fatigue. He is very sad. They stare
at him as he gropes to Percival's chair._

BENTLEY. I'm sorry for making a fool of myself. I beg your pardon.
Hypatia: I'm awfully sorry; but Ive made up my mind that I'll never
marry. _[He sits down in deep depression]._

HYPATIA. _[running to him]_ How nice of you, Bentley! Of course you
guessed I wanted to marry Joey. What did the Polish lady do to you?

BENTLEY. _[turning his head away]_ I'd rather not speak of her, if
you dont mind.

HYPATIA. Youve fallen in love with her. _[She laughs]._

BENTLEY. It's beastly of you to laugh.

LORD SUMMERHAYS. Youre not the first to fall today under the lash of
that young lady's terrible derision, Bentley.

_Lina, her cap on, and her goggles in her hand, comes impetuously
through the inner door._

LINA. _[on the steps]_ Mr Percival: can we get that aeroplane
started again? _[She comes down and runs to the pavilion door]._ I
must get out of this into the air: right up into the blue.

PERCIVAL. Impossible. The frame's twisted. The petrol has given
out: thats what brought us down. And how can we get a clear run to
start with among these woods?

LINA. _[swooping back through the middle of the pavilion]_ We can
straighten the frame. We can buy petrol at the Beacon. With a few
laborers we can get her out on to the Portsmouth Road and start her
along that.

TARLETON. _[rising]_ But why do you want to leave us, Miss Szcz?

LINA. Old pal: this is a stuffy house. You seem to think of nothing
but making love. All the conversation here is about love-making. All
the pictures are about love-making. The eyes of all of you are
sheep's eyes. You are steeped in it, soaked in it: the very texts on
the walls of your bedrooms are the ones about love. It is disgusting.
It is not healthy. Your women are kept idle and dressed up for no
other purpose than to be made love to. I have not been here an hour;
and already everybody makes love to me as if because I am a woman it
were my profession to be made love to. First you, old pal. I forgave
you because you were nice about your wife.

HYPATIA. Oh! oh! oh! Oh, papa!

LINA. Then you, Lord Summerhays, come to me; and all you have to say
is to ask me not to mention that you made love to me in Vienna two
years ago. I forgave you because I thought you were an ambassador;
and all ambassadors make love and are very nice and useful to people
who travel. Then this young gentleman. He is engaged to this young
lady; but no matter for that: he makes love to me because I carry him
off in my arms when he cries. All these I bore in silence. But now
comes your Johnny and tells me I'm a ripping fine woman, and asks me
to marry him. I, Lina Szczepanowska, MARRY him!!!!! I do not mind
this boy: he is a child: he loves me: I should have to give him
money and take care of him: that would be foolish, but honorable. I
do not mind you, old pal: you are what you call an old--ouf! but you
do not offer to buy me: you say until we are tired--until you are so
happy that you dare not ask for more. That is foolish too, at your
age; but it is an adventure: it is not dishonorable. I do not mind
Lord Summerhays: it was in Vienna: they had been toasting him at a
great banquet: he was not sober. That is bad for the health; but it
is not dishonorable. But your Johnny! Oh, your Johnny! with his
marriage. He will do the straight thing by me. He will give me a
home, a position. He tells me I must know that my present position is
not one for a nice woman. This to me, Lina Szczepanowska! I am an
honest woman: I earn my living. I am a free woman: I live in my own
house. I am a woman of the world: I have thousands of friends:
every night crowds of people applaud me, delight in me, buy my
picture, pay hard-earned money to see me. I am strong: I am skilful:
I am brave: I am independent: I am unbought: I am all that a woman
ought to be; and in my family there has not been a single drunkard for
four generations. And this Englishman! this linendraper! he dares to
ask me to come and live with him in this rrrrrrrabbit hutch, and take
my bread from his hand, and ask him for pocket money, and wear soft
clothes, and be his woman! his wife! Sooner than that, I would stoop
to the lowest depths of my profession. I would stuff lions with food
and pretend to tame them. I would deceive honest people's eyes with
conjuring tricks instead of real feats of strength and skill. I would
be a clown and set bad examples of conduct to little children. I
would sink yet lower and be an actress or an opera singer, imperilling
my soul by the wicked lie of pretending to be somebody else. All this
I would do sooner than take my bread from the hand of a man and make
him the master of my body and soul. And so you may tell your Johnny
to buy an Englishwoman: he shall not buy Lina Szczepanowska; and I
will not stay in the house where such dishonor is offered me. Adieu.
_[She turns precipitately to go, but is faced in the pavilion doorway
by Johnny, who comes in slowly, his hands in his pockets, meditating

JOHNNY. _[confidentially to Lina]_ You wont mention our little
conversation, Miss Shepanoska. It'll do no good; and I'd rather you

TARLETON. Weve just heard about it, Johnny.

JOHNNY. _[shortly, but without ill-temper]_ Oh: is that so?

HYPATIA. The cat's out of the bag, Johnny, about everybody. They
were all beforehand with you: papa, Lord Summerhays, Bentley and all.
Dont you let them laugh at you.

JOHNNY. _[a grin slowly overspreading his countenance]_ Well, theres
no use my pretending to be surprised at you, Governor, is there? I
hope you got it as hot as I did. Mind, Miss Shepanoska: it wasnt
lost on me. I'm a thinking man. I kept my temper. Youll admit that.

LINA. _{frankly]_ Oh yes. I do not quarrel. You are what is called
a chump; but you are not a bad sort of chump.

JOHNNY. Thank you. Well, if a chump may have an opinion, I should
put it at this. You make, I suppose, ten pounds a night off your own
bat, Miss Lina?

LINA. _[scornfully]_ Ten pounds a night! I have made ten pounds a

JOHNNY. _[with increased respect]_ Have you indeed? I didnt know:
youll excuse my mistake, I hope. But the principle is the same. Now
I trust you wont be offended at what I'm going to say; but Ive thought
about this and watched it in daily experience; and you may take it
from me that the moment a woman becomes pecuniarily independent, she
gets hold of the wrong end of the stick in moral questions.

LINA. Indeed! And what do you conclude from that, Mister Johnny?

JOHNNY. Well, obviously, that independence for women is wrong and
shouldnt be allowed. For their own good, you know. And for the good
of morality in general. You agree with me, Lord Summerhays, dont you?

LORD SUMMERHAYS. It's a very moral moral, if I may so express myself.

_Mrs Tarleton comes in softly through the inner door._

MRS TARLETON. Dont make too much noise. The lad's asleep.

TARLETON. Chickabiddy: we have some news for you.

JOHNNY. _[apprehensively]_ Now theres no need, you know, Governor,
to worry mother with everything that passes.

MRS TARLETON. _[coming to Tarleton]_ Whats been going on? Dont you
hold anything back from me, John. What have you been doing?

TARLETON. Bentley isnt going to marry Patsy.

MRS TARLETON. Of course not. Is that your great news? I never
believed she'd marry him.

TARLETON. Theres something else. Mr Percival here--

MRS TARLETON. _[to Percival]_ Are you going to marry Patsy?

PERCIVAL _[diplomatically]_ Patsy is going to marry me, with your

MRS TARLETON. Oh, she has my permission: she ought to have been
married long ago.

HYPATIA. Mother!

TARLETON. Miss Lina here, though she has been so short a time with
us, has inspired a good deal of attachment in--I may say in almost all
of us. Therefore I hope she'll stay to dinner, and not insist on
flying away in that aeroplane.

PERCIVAL. You must stay, Miss Szczepanowska. I cant go up again this

LINA. Ive seen you work it. Do you think I require any help? And
Bentley shall come with me as a passenger.

BENTLEY. _[terrified]_ Go up in an aeroplane! I darent.

LINA. You must learn to dare.

BENTLEY. _[pale but heroic]_ All right. I'll come.

LORD SUMMERHAYS| No, no, Bentley, impossible. I
| shall not allow it.
MRS TARLETON. | Do you want to kill the child? He shant go.

BENTLEY. I will. I'll lie down and yell until you let me go. I'm
not a coward. I wont be a coward.

LORD SUMMERHAYS. Miss Szczepanowska: my son is very dear to me. I
implore you to wait until tomorrow morning.

LINA. There may be a storm tomorrow. And I'll go: storm or no
storm. I must risk my life tomorrow.

BENTLEY. I hope there will be a storm.

LINA. _[grasping his arm]_ You are trembling.

BENTLEY. Yes: it's terror, sheer terror. I can hardly see. I can
hardly stand. But I'll go with you.

LINA. _[slapping him on the back and knocking a ghastly white smile
into his face]_ You shall. I like you, my boy. We go tomorrow,

BENTLEY. Yes: together: tomorrow.

TARLETON. Well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Read
the old book.

MRS TARLETON. Is there anything else?

TARLETON. Well, I--er _[he addresses Lina, and stops]._ I--er _[he
addresses Lord Summerhays, and stops]._ I--er _[he gives it up]._
Well, I suppose--er--I suppose theres nothing more to be said.

HYPATIA. _[fervently]_ Thank goodness!

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