List Of Contents | Contents of Man and Superman, by Bernard Shaw
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TANNER. For mine! [Correcting himself savagely] I mean for his.

ANN.[ignoring the correction] Yes, for yours. You had better
marry what you call a hypocrite, Jack. Women who are not
hypocrites go about in rational dress and are insulted and get
into all sorts of hot water. And then their husbands get dragged
in too, and live in continual dread of fresh complications.
Wouldn't you prefer a wife you could depend on?

TANNER. No, a thousand times no: hot water is the revolutionist's
element. You clean men as you clean milkpails, by scalding them.

ANN. Cold water has its uses too. It's healthy.

TANNER. [despairingly] Oh, you are witty: at the supreme moment
the Life Force endows you with every quality. Well, I too can be
a hypocrite. Your father's will appointed me your guardian, not
your suitor. I shall be faithful to my trust.

ANN. [in low siren tones] He asked me who would I have as my
guardian before he made that will. I chose you!

TANNER. The will is yours then! The trap was laid from the

ANN. [concentrating all her magic] From the beginning from our
childhood--for both of us--by the Life Force.

TANNER. I will not marry you. I will not marry you.

ANN. Oh; you will, you will.

TANNER. I tell you, no, no, no.

ANN. I tell you, yes, yes, yes.


ANN. [coaxing--imploring--almost exhausted] Yes. Before it is too
late for repentance. Yes.

TANNER. [struck by the echo from the past] When did all this
happen to me before? Are we two dreaming?

ANN. [suddenly losing her courage, with an anguish that she does
not conceal] No. We are awake; and you have said no: that is all.

TANNER. [brutally] Well?

ANN. Well, I made a mistake: you do not love me.

TANNER. [seizing her in his arms] It is false: I love you. The
Life Force enchants me: I have the whole world in my arms when I
clasp you. But I am fighting for my freedom, for my honor, for
myself, one and indivisible.

ANN. Your happiness will be worth them all.

TANNER. You would sell freedom and honor and self for happiness?

ANN. It will not be all happiness for me. Perhaps death.

TANNER. [groaning] Oh, that clutch holds and hurts. What have you
grasped in me? Is there a father's heart as well as a mother's?

ANN. Take care, Jack: if anyone comes while we are like this, you
will have to marry me.

TANNER. If we two stood now on the edge of a precipice, I would
hold you tight and jump.

ANN. [panting, failing more and more under the strain] Jack: let
me go. I have dared so frightfully--it is lasting longer than I
thought. Let me go: I can't bear it.

TANNER. Nor I. Let it kill us.

ANN. Yes: I don't care. I am at the end of my forces. I don't
care. I think I am going to faint.

At this moment Violet and Octavius come from the villa with Mrs
Whitefield, who is wrapped up for driving. Simultaneously Malone
and Ramsden, followed by Mendoza and Straker, come in through the
little gate in the paling. Tanner shamefacedly releases Ann, who
raises her hand giddily to her forehead.

MALONE. Take care. Something's the matter with the lady.

RAMSDEN. What does this mean?

VIOLET. [running between Ann and Tanner] Are you ill?

ANN. [reeling, with a supreme effort] I have promised to marry
Jack. [She swoons. Violet kneels by her and chafes her band.
Tanner runs round to her other hand, and tries to lift her bead.
Octavius goes to Violet's assistance, but does not know what to
do. Mrs Whitefield hurries back into the villa. Octavius, Malone
and Ramsden run to Ann and crowd round her, stooping to assist.
Straker coolly comes to Ann's feet, and Mendoza to her head, both
upright and self-possessed].

STRAKER. Now then, ladies and gentlemen: she don't want a crowd
round her: she wants air--all the air she can git. If you please,
gents-- [Malone and Ramsden allow him to drive them gently past
Ann and up the lawn towards the garden, where Octavius, who has
already become conscious of his uselessness, joins them. Straker,
following them up, pauses for a moment to instruct Tanner]. Don't
lift er ed, Mr Tanner: let it go flat so's the blood can run back
into it.

MENDOZA. He is right, Mr Tanner. Trust to the air of the Sierra.
[He withdraws delicately to the garden steps].

TANNER. [rising] I yield to your superior knowledge of physiology,
Henry. [He withdraws to the corner of the lawn; and Octavius
immediately hurries down to him].

TAVY. [aside to Tanner, grasping his hand] Jack: be very happy.

TANNER. [aside to Tavy] I never asked her. It is a trap for me.
[He goes up the lawn towards the garden. Octavius remains

MENDOZA. [intercepting Mrs Whitefield, who comes from the villa
with a glass of brandy] What is this, madam [he takes it from

MRS WHITEFIELD. A little brandy.

MENDOZA. The worst thing you could give her. Allow me. [He
swallows it]. Trust to the air of the Sierra, madam.

For a moment the men all forget Ann and stare at Mendoza.

ANN. [in Violet's ear, clutching  her round the neck] Violet,
did Jack say anything when I fainted?


ANN. Ah! [with a sigh of intense relief she relapses].

MRS WHITEFIELD. Oh, she's fainted again.

They are about to rush back to her; but Mendoza stops them with a
warning gesture.

ANN. [supinej No I haven't. I'm quite happy.

TANNER. [suddenly walking determinedly to her, and snatching her
hand from Violet to feel her pulse] Why, her pulse is positively
bounding. Come, getup. What nonsense! Up with you. [He gets her
up summarily].

ANN. Yes: I feel strong enough now. But you very nearly killed
me, Jack, for all that.

MALONE. A rough wooer, eh? They're the best sort, Miss
Whitefield. I congratulate Mr Tanner; and I hope to meet you and
him as frequent guests at the Abbey.

ANN. Thank you. [She goes past Malone to Octavius] Ricky Ticky
Tavy: congratulate me. [Aside to him] I want to make you cry for
the last time.

TAVY. [steadfastly] No more tears. I am happy in your happiness.
And I believe in you in spite of everything.

RAMSDEN. [coming between Malone and Tanner] You are a happy man,
Jack Tanner. I envy you.

MENDOZA. [advancing between Violet and Tanner] Sir: there are two
tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The
other is to get it. Mine and yours, sir.

TANNER. Mr Mendoza: I have no heart's desires. Ramsden: it is
very easy for you to call me a happy man: you are only a
spectator. I am one of the principals; and I know better. Ann:
stop tempting Tavy, and come back to me.

ANN. [complying] You are absurd, Jack. [She takes his proffered

TANNER. [continuing] I solemnly say that I am not a happy man.
Ann looks happy; but she is only triumphant, successful,
victorious. That is not happiness, but the price for which the
strong sell their happiness. What we have both done this
afternoon is to renounce tranquillity, above all renounce the
romantic possibilities of an unknown future, for the cares of a
household and a family. I beg that no man may seize the occasion
to get half drunk and utter imbecile speeches and coarse
pleasantries at my expense. We propose to furnish our own house
according to our own taste; and I hereby give notice that the
seven or eight travelling clocks, the four or five dressing
cases, the salad bowls, the carvers and fish slices, the copy of
Tennyson in extra morocco, and all the other articles you are
preparing to heap upon us, will be instantly sold, and the
proceeds devoted to circulating free copies of the
Revolutionist's Handbook. The wedding will take place three days
after our return to England, by special license, at the office of
the district superintendent registrar, in the presence of my
solicitor and his clerk, who, like his clients, will be in
ordinary walking dress.

VIOLET. [with intense conviction] You are a brute, Jack.

ANN. (looking at him with fond pride and caressing his arm] Never
mind her, dear. Go on talking.

TANNER. Talking!

Universal laughter.

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