[Eliza is trying to get people to buy some flowers from her, when somebody tells her that a gentelman, Higgins, is taking note of what she says.]
BYSTANDER 1 [approaches from behind the column] 'Ere, you be
careful: better give him a flower for it. There's a
ELIZA [leans around pillar curiously, then springs up terrified]
I ain't done nothin' wrong by speaking to the
Various bystanders, roused by her outburst, are curious as to what the fuss is about and begin to gather round.
BYSTANDER 2. What's all the bit of a noise?
BYSTANDER 3. 'S a tec takin 'er down.
ELIZA [some bytanders act sympathetic to Eliza who is defending herself] Well I'm makin an honest livin'!
There are further words of: What's all that shouting? Where's it coming from?, etc.
ELIZA [sees Pickering and turns to him for support, crying wildly]
Oh, sir, don't let him charge me. He dunno what
HIGGINS [Professor Higgins appears from around the pillar] There, there, there, there! who's hurting you, you silly girl? What do you take me for?
ELIZA. On my Bible oath I never spoke a word—
HIGGINS. Oh, shut up, shut up. Do I look like a policeman?
ELIZA [suspicious at this stranger] Then what d'ya take down
me words for? How do I know y' took me down right?
ELIZA. Oh-ow-oo. [We see it contains strange shorthand symbols]
What's that? That ain't proper writin'. I can't read
HIGGINS. I can. [He reads from the book, tracing the words with
his pen for her, and reproducing her
ELIZA. Oh, it's cause I called 'im cap'n. [To Pickering and much
distressed] I meant no harm. Oh, sir, don't let him lay
PICKERING [calming her] Charge? I'll make no charge. [To Higgins,
who has started taking down notes again]
BYSTANDER 2. 'E ain't no tec, he's a gentleman: look at 'is boots.
HIGGINS [without looking up at the bystander] How are all your people down at Selsey?
BYSTANDER 2. Who told you my people come from Selsey?
HIGGINS [smugly, continuing to take notes] Never mind; they do.
[To the girl] How did you come to be so far east?
ELIZA [appalled] Oooh, what 'arm is my in leavin' Lisson Grove?
It weren't fit for pigs to live in; and I had to pay
HIGGINS [walking away, appalled] Oh, live where you like but stop that noise.
PICKERING. Come, come! he can't touch you: you've a right to live where you please.
ELIZA. I'm a good girl, I am!
PICKERING. Yes, yes.
BYSTANDER 2 [to Higgins] Where do I come from?
BYSTANDER 2. Well, who said I didn't? Blimey, you know ev'ryfink, you do!
MRS. EYNSFORD-HILL [she approaches this bystander] You, sir, do you think you could find me a taxi?
HIGGINS [looking at the sky] I don't know whether you've noticed
it madam but it's stopped raining. You can get a
MRS. EYNSFORD-HILL [to Higgins, who has already started walking away] What impertinence!
BYSTANDER 1 [to Higgins] 'Ere, tell him where 'e comes from 'f ya wanna go fortune-tellin'.
HIGGINS [thoughtfully] Cheltenham, Harrow, Cambridge, and er—[glances at his notes]—India?
PICKERING. Quite right!
BYSTANDER 1. Blimey. 'E ain't a tec, he's a bloomin' busy-body. That's what 'e is.
PICKERING. If I may ask, sir, do you do this sort of thing for a living, in a music hall?
HIGGINS. Well I have thought of it. Perhaps I will one day.
ELIZA. He's no gentleman; he ain't interfere with a poor girl.
PICKERING. How do you do it, may I ask?
HIGGINS. Simple phonetics. The science of speech. That's my profession:
also my hobby. Anyone can spot an Irishman
ELIZA [speaking up from her resumed position sitting on the plinth]
Ought to be ashamed of himself, unmanly
PICKERING. Is there a living in that?
HIGGINS. Oh yes. Quite a fat one.
ELIZA. Let him mind his own business and leave a poor girl—
HIGGINS [explosively] Woman: cease this detestable boohooing
instantly; or else seek the shelter of some other place
ELIZA [with feeble defiance] I've a right to be here if I like,
same as you.
ELIZA [indignant] Ah-ah-aw-aw-oo-oo!
ELIZA [very indignant] Ah-ah-aw-aw-oo-oo!
HIGGINS [whipping out his book] "Ah-ah-aw-aw-oo-oo" Heavens! what a sound!
PICKERING. Come, sir; I think you picked a poor example.
HIGGINS. Did I...?
ELIZA [laughingly] Garn!
HIGGINS [noting in his book] "Garn"—I ask you, sir: what sort of word is that?
PICKERING [not sure what to make of this] I beg your pardon.
Higgins walks over to the coffee stand.
Higgins sits next to Eliza on the plinth with his coffee.
HIGGINS [to a bystander; handing his cup to him] Thank you. [Turning to Pickering] You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter till the end of her days. Well, sir, in six months I could pass her off as a duchess at an embassy ball. I could even get her a job as a lady's maid or a shop assistant, which requires better English.
ELIZA [curiously] 'Ere, what's that you say?
HIGGINS. Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf. You disgrace to the
noble architecture of these columns! You incarnate insult to the English
language! I could pass you off as, er, the Queen of Sheba.