List Of Contents | Contents of Man and Superman, by Bernard Shaw
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STRAKER. [after a moment of stupefaction at the old man's
readiness in repartee] Look here: what do you mean by gittin into
my car and lettin me bring you here if you're not the person I
took that note to?

MALONE. Who else did you take it to, pray?

STRAKER. I took it to Mr Ector Malone, at Miss Robinson's
request, see? Miss Robinson is not my principal: I took it to
oblige her. I know Mr Malone; and he ain't you, not by a long
chalk. At the hotel they told me that your name is Ector Malone.

MALONE. Hector Malone.

STRAKER. [with calm superiority] Hector in your own country:
that's what comes o livin in provincial places like Ireland and
America. Over here you're Ector: if you avn't noticed it before
you soon will.

The growing strain of the conversation is here relieved by
Violet, who has sallied from the villa and through the garden to
the steps, which she now descends, coming very opportunely
between Malone and Straker.

VIOLET. [to Straker] Did you take my message?

STRAKER. Yes, miss. I took it to the hotel and sent it up,
expecting to see young Mr Malone. Then out walks this gent, and
says it's all right and he'll come with me. So as the hotel
people said he was Mr Ector Malone, I fetched him. And now he
goes back on what he said. But if he isn't the gentleman you
meant, say the word: it's easy enough to fetch him back again.

MALONE. I should esteem it a great favor if I might have a short
conversation with you, madam. I am Hector's father, as this
bright Britisher would have guessed in the course of another hour
or so.

STRAKER. [coolly defiant] No, not in another year or so. When
we've ad you as long to polish up as we've ad im, perhaps you'll
begin to look a little bit up to is mark. At present you fall a
long way short. You've got too many aitches, for one thing. [To
Violet, amiably] All right, Miss: you want to talk to him: I
shan't intrude. [He nods affably to Malone and goes out through
the little gate in the paling].

VIOLET. [very civilly] I am so sorry, Mr Malone, if that man has
been rude to you. But what can we do? He is our chauffeur.

MALONE. Your what?

VIOLET. The driver of our automobile. He can drive a motor car at
seventy miles an hour, and mend it when it breaks down. We are
dependent on our motor cars; and our motor cars are dependent on
him; so of course we are dependent on him.

MALONE. I've noticed, madam, that every thousand dollars an
Englishman gets seems to add one to the number of people he's
dependent on. However, you needn't apologize for your man: I made
him talk on purpose. By doing so I learnt that you're staying
here in Grannida with a party of English, including my son

VIOLET. [conversationally] Yes. We intended to go to Nice; but we
had to follow a rather eccentric member of our party who started
first and came here. Won't you sit down? [She clears the nearest
chair of the two books on it].

MALONE. [impressed by this attention] Thank you. [He sits down,
examining her curiously as she goes to the iron table to put down
the books. When she turns to him again, he says] Miss Robinson, I

VIOLET. [sitting down] Yes.

MALONE. [Taking a letter from his pocket] Your note to Hector runs
as follows [Violet is unable to repress a start. He pauses
quietly to take out and put on his spectacles, which have gold
rims]: "Dearest: they have all gone to the Alhambra for the
afternoon. I have shammed headache and have the garden all to
myself. Jump into Jack's motor: Straker will rattle you here in a
jiffy. Quick, quick, quick. Your loving Violet." [He looks at
her; but by this time she has recovered herself, and meets his
spectacles with perfect composure. He continues slowly] Now I
don't know on what terms young people associate in English
society; but in  America that note would be considered to imply a
very  considerable degree of affectionate intimacy between the

VIOLET. Yes: I know your son very well, Mr Malone. Have you any

MALONE. [somewhat taken aback] No, no objection exactly. Provided
it is understood that my son is altogether dependent on me, and
that I have to be consulted in any important step he may propose
to take.

VIOLET. I am sure you would not be unreasonable with him, Mr

MALONE. I hope not, Miss Robinson; but at your age you might
think many things unreasonable that don't seem so to me.

VIOLET. [with a little shrug] Oh well, I suppose there's no use
our playing at cross purposes, Mr Malone. Hector wants to marry

MALONE. I inferred from your note that he might. Well, Miss
Robinson, he is his own master; but if he marries you he shall
not have a rap from me. [He takes off his spectacles and pockets
them with the note].

VIOLET. [with some severity] That is not very complimentary to
me, Mr Malone.

MALONE. I say nothing against you, Miss Robinson: I daresay you
are an amiable and excellent young lady. But I have other views
for Hector.

VIOLET. Hector may not have other views for himself, Mr Malone.

MALONE. Possibly not. Then he does without me: that's all. I
daresay you are prepared for that. When a young lady writes to a
young man to come to her quick, quick, quick, money seems nothing
and love seems everything.

VIOLET. [sharply] I beg your pardon, Mr Malone: I do not think
anything so foolish. Hector must have money.

MALONE. [staggered] Oh, very well, very well. No doubt he can
work for it.

VIOLET. What is the use of having money if you have to work for
it? [She rises impatiently]. It's all nonsense, Mr Malone: you
must enable your son to keep up his position. It is his right.

MALONE. [grimly] I should not advise you to marry him on the
strength of that right, Miss Robinson.

Violet, who has almost lost her temper, controls herself with an
effort; unclenches her fingers; and resumes her seat with studied
tranquillity and reasonableness.

VIOLET. What objection have you to me, pray? My social position
is as good as Hector's, to say the least. He admits it.

MALONE. [shrewdly] You tell him so from time to time, eh?
Hector's social position in England, Miss Robinson, is just what
I choose to buy for him. I have made him a fair offer. Let him
pick out the most historic house, castle or abbey that England
contains. The day that he tells me he wants it for a wife worthy
of its traditions, I buy it for him, and give him the means of
keeping it up.

VIOLET. What do you mean by a wife worthy of its traditions?
Cannot any well bred woman keep such a house for him?

MALONE. No: she must be born to it.

VIOLET. Hector was not born to it, was he?

MALONE. His granmother was a barefooted Irish girl that nursed
me by a turf fire. Let him marry another such, and I will not
stint her marriage portion. Let him raise himself socially with
my money or raise somebody else so long as there is a social
profit somewhere, I'll regard my expenditure as justified. But
there must be a profit for someone. A marriage with you would
leave things just where they are.

VIOLET. Many of my relations would object very much to my
marrying the grandson of a common woman, Mr Malone. That may be
prejudice; but so is your desire to have him marry a title

MALONE. [rising, and approaching her with a scrutiny in which
there is a good deal of reluctant respect] You seem a pretty
straightforward downright sort of a young woman.

VIOLET. I do not see why I should be made miserably poor because
I cannot make profits for you. Why do you want to make Hector

MALONE. He will get over it all right enough. Men thrive better
on disappointments in love than on disappointments in money. I
daresay you think that sordid; but I know what I'm talking about.
My father died of starvation in Ireland in the black 47, Maybe
you've heard of it.

VIOLET. The Famine?

MALONE. [with smouldering passion] No, the starvation. When a
country is full of food, and exporting it, there can be no
famine. My father was starved dead; and I was starved out to
America in my mother's arms. English rule drove me and mine out
of Ireland. Well, you can keep Ireland. I and my like are coming
back to buy England; and we'll buy the best of it. I want no
middle class properties and no middle class women for Hector.
That's straightforward isn't it, like yourself?

VIOLET. [icily pitying his sentimentality] Really, Mr Malone, I
am astonished to hear a man of your age and good sense talking in
that romantic way. Do you suppose English noblemen will sell
their places to you for the asking?

MALONE. I have the refusal of two of the oldest family mansions
in England. One historic owner can't afford to keep all the rooms
dusted: the other can't afford the death duties. What do you say

VIOLET. Of course it is very scandalous; but surely you know that
the Government will sooner or later put a stop to all these
Socialistic attacks on property.

MALONE. [grinning] D'y' think they'll be able to get that done
before I buy the house--or rather the abbey? They're both abbeys.

VIOLET. [putting that aside rather impatiently] Oh, well, let us
talk sense, Mr Malone. You must feel that we haven't been talking
sense so far.

MALONE. I can't say I do. I mean all I say.

VIOLET. Then you don't know Hector as I do. He is romantic and
faddy--he gets it from you, I fancy--and he wants a certain sort
of wife to take care of him. Not a faddy sort of person, you

MALONE. Somebody like you, perhaps?

VIOLET. [quietly] Well, yes. But you cannot very well ask me to
undertake this with absolutely no means of keeping up his

MALONE. [alarmed] Stop a bit, stop a bit. Where are we getting
to? I'm not aware that I'm asking you to undertake anything.

VIOLET. Of course, Mr Malone, you can make it very difficult for
me to speak to you if you choose to misunderstand me.

MALONE. [half bewildered] I don't wish to take any unfair
advantage; but we seem to have got off the straight track

Straker, with the air of a man who has been making haste, opens
the little gate, and admits Hector, who, snorting with
indignation, comes upon the lawn, and is making for his father
when Violet, greatly dismayed, springs up and intercepts him.
Straker doer not wait; at least he does not remain visibly within

VIOLET. Oh, how unlucky! Now please, Hector, say nothing. Go away
until I have finished speaking to your father.

HECTOR. [inexorably] No, Violet: I mean to have this thing out,
right away. [He puts her aside; passes her by; and faces his
father, whose cheeks darken as his Irish blood begins to simmer].
Dad: you've not played this hand straight.

MALONE. Hwat d'y'mean?

HECTOR. You've opened a letter addressed to me. You've
impersonated me and stolen a march on this lady. That's

MALONE. [threateningly] Now you take care what you're saying,
Hector. Take care, I tell you.

HECTOR. I have taken care. I am taking care. I'm taking care of
my honor and my position in English society.

MALONE. [hotly] Your position has been got by my money: do you
know that?

HECTOR. Well, you've just spoiled it all by opening that letter.
A letter from an English lady, not addressed to you--a
confidential letter! a delicate letter! a private letter opened
by my father! That's a sort of thing a man can't struggle against
in England. The sooner we go back together the better. [He
appeals mutely to the heavens to witness the shame and anguish of
two outcasts].

VIOLET. [snubbing him with an instinctive dislike for scene
making] Don't be unreasonable, Hector. It was quite natural of Mr
Malone to open my letter: his name was on the envelope.

MALONE. There! You've no common sense, Hector. I thank you, Miss

HECTOR. I thank you, too. It's very kind of you. My father knows
no better.

MALONE. [furiously clenching his fists] Hector--

HECTOR. [with undaunted moral force] Oh, it's no use hectoring
me. A private letter's a private letter, dad: you can't get over

MALONE [raising his voice] I won't be talked back to by you,
d'y' hear?

VIOLET. Ssh! please, please. Here they all come.

Father and son, checked, glare mutely at one another as Tanner
comes in through the little gate with Ramsden, followed by
Octavius and Ann.

VIOLET. Back already!

TANNER. The Alhambra is not open this afternoon.

VIOLET. What a sell!

Tanner passes on, and presently finds himself between Hector and
a strange elder, both apparently on the verge of personal combat.
He looks from one to the other for an explanation. They sulkily
avoid his eye, and nurse their wrath in silence.

RAMSDEN. Is it wise for you to be out in the sunshine with such a
headache, Violet?

TANNER. Have you recovered too, Malone?

VIOLET. Oh, I forgot. We have not all met before. Mr Malone:
won't you introduce your father?

HECTOR. [with Roman firmness] No, I will not. He is no father of

MALONE. [very angry] You disown your dad before your English
friends, do you?

VIOLET. Oh please don't make a scene.

Ann and Octavius, lingering near the gate, exchange an astonished
glance, and discreetly withdraw up the steps to the garden, where
they can enjoy the disturbance without intruding. On their way to
the steps Ann sends a little grimace of mute sympathy to Violet,
who is standing with her back to the little table, looking on in
helpless annoyance as her husband soars to higher and higher
moral eminences without the least regard to the old man's

HECTOR. I'm very sorry, Miss Robinson; but I'm contending for a
principle. I am a son, and, I hope, a dutiful one; but before
everything I'm a Man!!! And when dad treats my private letters as
his own, and takes it on himself to say that I shan't marry you
if I am happy and fortunate enough to gain your consent, then I
just snap my fingers and go my own way.

TANNER. Marry Violet!

RAMSDEN. Are you in your senses?

TANNER. Do you forget what we told you?

HECTOR. [recklessly] I don't care what you told me.

RAMSDEN. [scandalized] Tut tut, sir! Monstrous! [he flings away
towards the gate, his elbows quivering with indignation]

TANNER. Another madman! These men in love should be locked up.
[He gives Hector up as hopeless, and turns away towards the
garden, but Malone, taking offence in a new direction, follows
him and compels him, by the aggressivenes of his tone, to stop].

MALONE. I don't understand this. Is Hector not good enough for
this lady, pray?

TANNER. My dear sir, the lady is married already. Hector knows
it; and yet he persists in his infatuation. Take him home and
lock him up.

MALONE. [bitterly] So this is the high-born social tone I've
spoilt by my ignorant, uncultivated behavior! Makin love to a
married woman! [He comes angrily between Hector and Violet, and
almost bawls into Hector's left ear] You've picked up that habit
of the British aristocracy, have you?

HECTOR. That's all right. Don't you trouble yourself about that.
I'll answer for the morality of what I'm doing.

TANNER. [coming forward to Hector's right hand with flashing
eyes] Well said, Malone! You also see that mere marriage laws are

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