Imaginary Letter written by Mrs. Higgins to her sister Amelia. Complete the letter, being true to both Mrs. Higgins’s made expressions, her psychology, and the events in Act 3 of Pygmalion.
My dearest Amelia,
I was delighted and amused to read your news about Charles’s adventures in Matabeleland. I must admit, though, that I have been a wholehearted supporter of the “colonial venture”, as that awful Mr. Chamberlain called it, and always felt that that Cecil Rhodes was a dreadful upstart, but I do believe that Charles’s involvement in that country can only be for the good: he’s such a good-hearted and idealistic young man.
I sometimes wonder, however, about my own son.
Henry is, I will frankly admit, the despair of my life: still unmarried at 42, still behaving on all almost all occasions like a bull in a china shop, and still foolishly obsessed with that incomprehensible phonetics of his. Sometimes I have wondered if he is in fact my own son or something out of a play – and the matter was almost resolved last Wednesday when I saw Mr.
Barrie’s latest offering, a fantasy for children called “Peter Pan”. It was all about a little boy who refuses to grow up – in other words, it was all about Henry! And you could never imagine what his latest enthusiasm – or “wheeze” as he might call it – is.
He turned up here yesterday – quite uninvited of course – at the at-home I had arranged for those poor Eynsford-hills, saying he had a “phonetic job” and that he’d picked up a girl.
At first I was astonished and slightly relieved because I believed he had at last found love. Then I realized he had said it was for a “phonetic job” and was disappointed seeing as I now understood it had nothing to do with a love affair, which was a pity. He explained that he had taken in a common but decent flower girl and taught her to speak properly. Of course, he now wanted my opinion of her and requested that I meet her. He claimed that he had given her strict instructions on behaving appropriately and keeping to the subjects of the weather and everyone’s health. I was troubled due to the fact that a scene such as this could badly affect ones reputation. It would be displeasing if my son were to make a fool of the Higgins family name. It being my day at-home, I was also upset that my Henry would carelessly show up without previously notifying me. But being accustomed to these unplanned appearances I was forgiving. Doubtful thought I was, I am a relatively kind person and decided to give this young lady a chance.
When Mrs. and Ms. Eynsford-hill arrived I was rather embarrassed of Henrys presence. I constantly had to remind him of his manners in front of my guests. Immature comments coming from Henry made the comparison of sophistication between him and the Eynsford-hills very clear to me. If you had been there, Amelia, you would’ve remarked that the Eynsford-hill ladies were the image of an elegant swan whilst Henry portrayed an unkempt duck. It was as if I was to keep the situation peaceful, similar to the pond that let the swan and duck co-exist without difficulty. Do you recall Henrys inconvenient mannerisms?
Soon enough the parlor maid introduced Ms. Doolittle, Henrys flower girl, who came in looking remarkably unaware but oh! How beautiful she was. Exquisitely dressed she walked over to me with grace and presented herself. Letting a stranger Henry met off the street into my at-home, that I am proud of, made me feel hesitant, but as soon as I met Ms. Doolittle I was relieved and somewhat drawn to her.
After she had introduced herself to everyone a silence arose. To get rid of this uncomfortable situation I asked her about the weather. Her reply stunned me due to the fact that it was a highly educated answer. She used words such as “shallow depression” and “barometrical”. I assumed that it was Henry who taught Ms. Doolittle a thing or two whilst teaching her to speak properly. After this the conversation got slightly odd; she mentioned her aunt getting “done in”. What she intended to say was, that she thought her aunt had been killed. You should have seen the Eynsford-hills expression at this point. Frowns spread on their faces as they tried to comprehend the young girl’s choice of words. Although her accent was indeed perfectly swell, her grammar needs quite some improvement as well as her conversation skills. At this point Henry interrupted and excused her for talking the “new small talk”. Shortly later on, Henry indicated that it was time for her to leave; presumably because the conversation was getting off the topics of the weather and everyone’s health.
Her departure was quite pleasing, until Freddy (who had come with the Eynsford-hills) asked if she was planning of walking through the park. Her blunt answer went along these lines: “walk! Not bloody likely!” Shocked as I was, I suppose she is unaware of how to present herself to people like us. She is not used to situations like this and communicating to people of higher class. I must say all of this was quite humorous to watch, especially after Ms. Doolittle left. Ms. Eynsford-hill thought that this really was the new small talk, and insisted that her and her mother should talk like this. As they were leaving of course Henry had to make a last comment of his. He insisted that they were to try this new small talk at the other at-homes they were attending that afternoon. Silly Henry, silly Henry.
Though all the events of the day were quite accidental, I am glad that Henry turned to me for my opinion on the girl. He asked me if she was presentable which evidently she is not. I do hope she progresses more before she has to take on more situations like these. I am also concerned that if she is to represent Henry’s work in Phonetics, his reputation might fall apart. Unfortunately I don’t believe there is anything Henry can do to fix her talk. All I know is that it would not be proper for her to attend a garden party at this stage. Pickering and Henry hadn’t thought of what to do with the girl once they have passed her off as a Lady. Where is she to go? How can she return to what she was before after such an experience as this? I feel sorry for Pickering who has to live with Henry and is getting influenced by Henrys behavior. Oh Men! Men! Men!! They should have thought about this more before evoking in such a task. Eventually I got rather impatient with their remarks and returned to my writing table. How troublesome, how very troublesome indeed. I do hope you are in good health and I am waiting for your reply.
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