Mrs. Higgins's drawing-room. She is at her writing-table as before. The parlor-maid comes in.
THE PARLOR-MAID [at the door] Mr. Henry, mam, is downstairs with Colonel Pickering.
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, show them up.
THE PARLOR-MAID. They're using the telephone, mam. Telephoning to the police, I think.
MRS. HIGGINS. What!
THE PARLOR-MAID [coming further in and lowering her voice] Mr. Henry's in a state, mam. I thought I'd better tell you.
MRS. HIGGINS. If you had told me that Mr. Henry was not in a state it would have been more surprising. Tell them to come up when they've finished with the police. I suppose he's lost something.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, mam [going].
MRS. HIGGINS. Go upstairs and tell Miss Doolittle that Mr. Henry and the Colonel are here. Ask her not to come down till I send for her.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, mam.
Higgins bursts in. He is, as the parlor-maid has said, in a state.
HIGGINS. Look here, mother: here's a confounded thing!
MRS. HIGGINS. Yes, dear. Good-morning. [He checks his impatience and kisses her, whilst the parlor-maid goes out]. What is it?
HIGGINS. Eliza's bolted.
MRS. HIGGINS [calmly continuing her writing] You must have frightened her.
HIGGINS. Frightened her! nonsense! She was left last night, as usual, to turn out the lights and all that; and instead of going to bed she changed her clothes and went right off: her bed wasn't slept in. She came in a cab for her things before seven this morning; and that fool Mrs. Pearce let her have them without telling me a word about it. What am I to do?
MRS. HIGGINS. Do without, I'm afraid, Henry. The girl has a perfect right to leave if she chooses.
HIGGINS [wandering distractedly across the room] But I can't find anything. I don't know what appointments I've got. I'm — [Pickering comes in. Mrs. Higgins puts down her pen and turns away from the writing-table].
PICKERING [shaking hands] Good-morning, Mrs. Higgins. Has Henry told you? [He sits down on the ottoman].
HIGGINS. What does that ass of an inspector say? Have you offered a reward?
MRS. HIGGINS [rising in indignant amazement] You don't mean to say you have set the police after Eliza?
HIGGINS. Of course. What are the police for? What else could we do? [He sits in the Elizabethan chair].
PICKERING. The inspector made a lot of difficulties. I really think he suspected us of some improper purpose.
MRS. HIGGINS. Well, of course he did. What right have you to go to the police and give the girl's name as if she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something? Really! [She sits down again, deeply vexed].
HIGGINS. But we want to find her.
PICKERING. We can't let her go like this, you know, Mrs. Higgins. What were we to do?
MRS. HIGGINS. You have no more sense, either of you, than two children. Why —
The parlor-maid comes in and breaks off the conversation.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Mr. Henry: a gentleman wants to see you very particular. He's been sent on from Wimpole Street.
HIGGINS. Oh, bother! I can't see anyone now. Who is it?
THE PARLOR-MAID. A Mr. Doolittle, Sir.
PICKERING. Doolittle! Do you mean the dustman?
THE PARLOR-MAID. Dustman! Oh no, sir: a gentleman.
HIGGINS [springing up excitedly] By George, Pick, it's some relative of hers that she's gone to. Somebody we know nothing about. [To the parlor-maid] Send him up, quick.
THE PARLOR-MAID. Yes, Sir. [She goes].
HIGGINS [eagerly, going to his mother] Genteel relatives! now we shall hear something. [He sits down in the Chippendale chair].
MRS. HIGGINS. Do you know any of her people?
PICKERING. Only her father: the fellow we told you about.
THE PARLOR-MAID [announcing] Mr. Doolittle. [She withdraws].
Doolittle enters. He is brilliantly dressed in a new fashionable frock-coat, with white waistcoat and grey trousers. A flower in his buttonhole, a dazzling silk hat, and patent leather shoes complete the effect. He is too concerned with the business he has come on to notice Mrs. Higgins. He walks straight to Higgins, and accosts him with vehement reproach.
DOOLITTLE [indicating his own person] See here! Do you see this? You done this.
HIGGINS. Done what, man?
DOOLITTLE. This, I tell you. Look at it. Look at this hat. Look at this coat.
PICKERING. Has Eliza been buying you clothes?
DOOLITTLE. Eliza! not she. Not half. Why would she buy me clothes?
MRS. HIGGINS. Good-morning, Mr. Doolittle. Won't you sit down?
DOOLITTLE [taken aback as he becomes conscious that he has forgotten his hostess] Asking your pardon, ma'am. [He approaches her and shakes her proffered hand]. Thank you. [He sits down on the ottoman, on Pickering's right]. I am that full of what has happened to me that I can't think of anything else.
HIGGINS. What the dickens has happened to you?
DOOLITTLE. I shouldn't mind if it had only happened to me: anything might happen to anybody and nobody to blame but Providence, as you might say. But this is something that you done to me: yes, you, Henry Higgins.
HIGGINS. Have you found Eliza? That's the point.
DOOLITTLE. Have you lost her?
DOOLITTLE. You have all the luck, you have. I ain't found her; but she'll find me quick enough now after what you done to me.
MRS. HIGGINS. But what has my son done to you, Mr. Doolittle?
DOOLITTLE. Done to me! Ruined me. Destroyed my happiness. Tied me up and delivered me into the hands of middle class morality.
HIGGINS [rising intolerantly and standing over Doolittle] You're raving. You're drunk. You're mad. I gave you five pounds. After that I had two conversations with you, at half-a-crown an hour. I've never seen you since.
DOOLITTLE. Oh! Drunk! am I? Mad! am I? Tell me this. Did you or did you not write a letter to an old blighter in America that was giving five millions to found Moral Reform Societies all over the world, and that wanted you to invent a universal language for him?
HIGGINS. What! Ezra D. Wannafeller! He's dead. [He sits down again carelessly].
DOOLITTLE. Yes: he's dead; and I'm done for. Now did you or did you not write a letter to him to say that the most original moralist at present in England, to the best of your knowledge, was Alfred Doolittle, a common dustman.
HIGGINS. Oh, after your last visit I remember making some silly joke of the kind.
DOOLITTLE. Ah! you may well call it a silly joke. It put the lid on me right enough. Just give him the chance he wanted to show that Americans is not like us: that they recognize and respect merit in every class of life, however humble. Them words is in his blooming will, in which, Henry Higgins, thanks to your silly joking, he leaves me a share in his Pre-digested Cheese Trust worth three thousand a year on condition that I lecture for his Wannafeller Moral Reform World League as often as they ask me up to six times a year.
HIGGINS. The devil he does! Whew! [Brightening suddenly] What a lark!
PICKERING. A safe thing for you, Doolittle. They won't ask you twice.
DOOLITTLE. It ain't the lecturing I mind. I'll lecture them blue in the face, I will, and not turn a hair. It's making a gentleman of me that I object to. Who asked him to make a gentleman of me? I was happy. I was free. I touched pretty nigh everybody for money when I wanted it, same as I touched you, Henry Higgins. Now I am worrited; tied neck and heels; and everybody touches me for money. It's a fine thing for you, says my solicitor. Is it? says I. You mean it's a good thing for you, I says. When I was a poor man and had a solicitor once when they found a pram in the dust cart, he got me off, and got shut of me and got me shut of him as quick as he could. Same with the doctors: used to shove me out of the hospital before I could hardly stand on my legs, and nothing to pay. Now they finds out that I'm not a healthy man and can't live unless they looks after me twice a day. In the house I'm not let do a hand's turn for myself: somebody else must do it and touch me for it. A year ago I hadn't a relative in the world except two or three that wouldn't speak to me. Now I've fifty, and not a decent week's wages among the lot of them. I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle class morality. You talk of losing Eliza. Don't you be anxious: I bet she's on my doorstep by this: she that could support herself easy by selling flowers if I wasn't respectable. And the next one to touch me will be you, Henry Higgins. I'll have to learn to speak middle class language from you, instead of speaking proper English. That's where you'll come in; and I daresay that's what you done it for.
MRS. HIGGINS. But, my dear Mr. Doolittle, you need not suffer all this if you are really in earnest. Nobody can force you to accept this bequest. You can repudiate it. Isn't that so, Colonel Pickering?
PICKERING. I believe so.