Pygmalion

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Higgins is a brilliant linguist, who studies phonetics and documents different dialects and ways of speaking. He first appears in Act One as the suspicious man in the back of the crowd jotting down notes on everyone's manner of speech. Higgins is so focused on his academic interest that he lacks empathy and fails to consider other people's feelings or concerns. Instead, he sees people mainly as subjects of study. He views Eliza, for example, as an experiment and a "phonetic job." He doesn't so much invite Eliza to stay with him and learn to speak like a lady, but rather orders her to. Higgins is rude not only to Eliza, but generally to everyone he meets. He is impatient with class hierarchy and the Victorian obsession with manners. As he tells Eliza in Act Five, he treats everyone the same (that is, rudely) regardless of social class. Thus, while an inconsiderate character—and often a misogynist—Higgins at least sees through the hypocrisy and fallacies of the Victorian social hierarchy, and relishes the opportunity to beat high society at its own game by making Eliza pass as a lady.

Henry Higgins Quotes in Pygmalion

The Pygmalion quotes below are all either spoken by Henry Higgins or refer to Henry Higgins. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Language and Speech Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Pygmalion published in 2000.
Act 1 Quotes

It's aw rawt: e's a genleman: look at his ba-oots.

Related Characters: Bystander (speaker), Henry Higgins
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

When a bystander notes to Eliza that there is a man writing down everything she is saying, she's immediately concerned that he is a policeman, and that she has unwittingly committed a crime. When the note-taker comes forward, however, a bystander notes that he is a gentleman, not a policeman, as is apparent by his manner of dress (his boots in particular). 

In Victorian society, the way one looked and acted was meant to be indicative of their status in society. By this standard, it was generally believed that one who had manners and money had higher morals than those who were poor and unkempt (thus the way the word "gentleman" has come to mean someone with integrity and manners, whereas once it was only a marker of wealth and social rank). Because of this, the bystander (who's way of speaking itself identifies her as being of the lower class) immediately believes the man is to be trusted simply by the luxury he exudes by the shoes on his feet. Eliza, by contrast, is considered unclean and inferior because she is poor, does not speak like the upper class, and sells flowers on the street to earn a living. Side by side, Higgins is considered to be much more trustworthy simply based on the way he dresses. 

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And how are all your people down at Selsey?
Who told you my people come from Selsey?

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Bystander
Page Number: 14
Explanation and Analysis:

Higgins impresses everyone in the crowd by showing off his skills as a linguist, particularly in his recognition of English dialects. In this quote, he correctly identifies that a bystander is from Selsey, an English seaside town, just by hearing the way he talks.

In this instance, Higgins, an educated, wealthy, and supremely talented linguist uses his skills not only to qualify his reasoning for writing down Eliza's speech, but also to assert his superiority. Higgins believes that his education, wealth, and wit mean that he is intrinsically superior to the lower classes, and he is eager to cleverly assert his dominance over them any way he can. By catching people off guard by naming where they are from simply by their speech, he essentially tells these people that he knows who they are and what their entire background is without even an introduction. Higgins is supremely concerned with manners and appearance, and he prides himself by being able to tell a person's background and to essentially see through any facades or airs that the person might put on to appear more high-class. It is this belief that makes the challenge of fooling others with Eliza's false upper-class exterior particularly delightful to him. 

A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere—no right to live. Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech: that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible; and don't sit there crooning like a bilious pigeon.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

Eliza becomes angry with Higgins and tells him to mind his own business. Higgins becomes angry with Eliza in return, retorting that her walking around and speaking the way she does is exactly his business. In this quote, he goes so far as to say that a woman who speaks the way Eliza does has "no right to live." 

Higgins represents an extreme of Victorian society, which associated wealth and high status with high morality, and associated the lower classes with dirtiness and a lack of morals. In this instance, without knowing Eliza at all, Higgins decides that she is not worthy of a life because she is a lower class than he and speaks in a dialect that is associated with the lower classes. While he tells her that she is a scourge upon a language that produced great works of literature (although, of course, the Bible—one of Higgins' examples—wasn't originally written in English), he fails to comprehend that her lower status means that she has not had access to the same education he has had the privilege of receiving. To Higgins, appearance is everything, closely followed by birth. Eliza has neither a classy appearance nor notable birth; to him, she might as well be dead. 

You see this creature with her kerbstone English: the English that will keep her in the gutter to the end of her days. Well, sir, in three months I could pass that girl off as a duchess at an ambassador's garden party.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

After astonishing the crowd by telling everyone that he knows where they are from, Higgins contends that he is so skilled in teaching dialects that he could teach the flower girl how to speak like a duchess in three months. 

Higgins' ego as an educated and wealthy man means that while he believes Eliza could pass as a noblewoman, she will never actually be one. In tracing everyone's accents, and taking great pride in doing so, Higgins shows that he believes class is inborn and intrinsic. He takes great delight in teaching other people how to speak nobly, though with his excellent ear, he alone can likely tell that their accents and mannerisms are not completely genuine. While Higgins believes accent and success are intrinsically linked, he holds the Victorian notion that class is something one is born with, not something you can learn or earn. From this idea comes Higgins' delight in the challenge of fooling the upper crust into thinking a lowly flower girl is one of them. Though Higgins is wealthy, he is not noble, and is excited at the notion of using his skill and wit to beat the nobility at their own game. 

Act 2 Quotes

A young woman! What does she want?
Well, sir, she says you'll be glad to see her when you know what she's come about. She's quite a common girl, sir. Very common indeed.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Mrs. Pearce (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

The next day, Henry Higgins shows Colonel Pickering around his linguistic laboratory. As the tour completes, Mrs. Pearce, Higgins' housekeeper, comes to tell him that a "common" young woman is at the door and would like to see him. Immediately, the reader/audience knows that it is Eliza.

This quote is telling of how Higgins' prejudice against "common" people is indicative of all of Victorian society, though it is rather extreme in his case. Mrs. Pearce, though lower class than her employer, is still of a higher class than Eliza, and she, too, looks down upon the "common" girl. This shows a hierarchy of classes where all that one requires to look down upon others is to be at least one social rung above. However, it is also telling that Mrs. Pearce will not refer to her as "lower class," but rather, as "common," suggesting that most of society is of this lower class, and to be uncommon is to be part of a special, unique sector of society. 

You know, Pickering, if you consider a shilling, not as a simple shilling, but as a percentage of this girl's income, it works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy guineas from a millionaire.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

When Eliza asks Higgins to give her elocution lessons, she offers to pay him a shilling per lesson, which she believes to be his going rate (as Higgins is a very wealthy man, it is likely much, much higher). In this quote, Higgins addresses Pickering as if Eliza is not present. This further exemplifies his rudeness towards her: he does not consider her to be of the same intelligence of himself and Pickering, and therefore does not even think to include her in the conversation.

Here, Higgins reasons that as a ratio of Eliza's income, a shilling is comparable to "sixty or seventy guineas from a millionaire." Rather than feeling touched that Eliza would be willing to part with such a large part of her income in order for his expertise, Higgins' merely calculates this ratio for his own amusement. Higgins' interest in Eliza is purely for entertainment, not because he has an investment in bettering her future by "fixing" her speech to a standard that society perceives to be higher class. Comparing Eliza to a millionaire also reveals how Higgins' mind works--he is constantly determining class distinctions in his mind about the people he interacts with. Eliza does not exist as simply who she is, rags and all, but rather within the context of how she stacks up--or doesn't--to the rest of Victorian society. 

Well, the matter is, sir, that you can't take a girl up like that as if you were picking up a pebble on the beach.

Related Characters: Mrs. Pearce (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

When Higgins orders Mrs. Pearce to burn Eliza's clothes and fetch her new ones, the housekeeper stands up for the young girl and tells Higgins he can't casually "take a girl up" as if he "were picking up a pebble on the beach."

Mrs. Pearce, though class-conscious like the rest of Victorian London, is more sympathetic to Eliza's plight than her employer. As Higgins' housekeeper, she knows his habits and prejudices, and worries that his passing interest in Eliza as a hobby or "project" will result in her danger or harm. Higgins does not think of Eliza as a human, or at least one with similar intelligence to him, but rather as some kind of "creature." Mrs. Pearce can tell he's interested in her as an oddity or curiosity, not in her future, regardless of his protests to the contrary. Mrs. Pearce is crucial as Eliza's only advocate in this situation, and the first person to express concern over Higgins' intentions and Eliza's physical and emotional safety.

Mrs. Pearce's interest in Eliza is also evidence of the gender divide in Victorian England--she, as a woman, feels that she must protect a vulnerable younger woman from the misogyny of Higgins' patriarchal position and views. 

I find that the moment I let a woman make friends with me, she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damned nuisance. I find that the moment I let myself make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical. Women upset everything.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

After Mrs. Pearce takes Eliza away to for a bath and new clothing, Pickering asks Higgins about his relationships with women. In this quote, Higgins replies that he does not like to be friends with women for a variety of misogynistic reasons. Though Victorian society was notoriously sexist, with strict gender roles for men and women, Higgins is particularly rude when it comes to his ideas about women. Here, he complains that women whom he is friends with inevitably become infatuated with him, thus forcing him to become "selfish and tyrannical."

Of course, Higgins' rudeness and generally unpleasant demeanor are nobody's fault except his own. Though Higgins utters this statement to prove that his relationship with Eliza will remain purely pedagogical (that of teacher and student), it further reveals his sexist views and helps to explain why he is rudest, in particular, to a young lower-class woman like Eliza. 

Then might I ask you not to come down to breakfast in your dressing-gown, or at any rate not to use it as a napkin to the extent you do, sir. And if you would be so good as not to eat everything off the same plate, and to remember not to put the porridge saucepan out of your hand on the clean tablecloth, it would be a better example to the girl.

Related Characters: Mrs. Pearce (speaker), Henry Higgins
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

After taking Eliza away to wash up and change, Mrs. Pearce comes back into Higgins' study to ask him to promise not to practice some of his bad habits in Eliza's presence.

Higgins, a "confirmed old bachelor," has lived along with just Mrs. Pearce for years, and as a result, has acquired a number of habits, such as walking around in his pajamas and cursing, that the housekeeper does not believe are suitable for a young woman (particularly one to whom Higgins is supposedly going to give elocution and etiquette lessons). Given Higgins' classist and sexist views, it is ironic that his housekeeper, a woman and a member of a lower class, is reprimanding him for his manners. Here Mrs. Pearce acts as a foil to Higgins' ego--though he talks a big game, he requires Mrs. Pearce's care to live his day-to-day life, and he often acts immaturely, despite his supposedly upper class etiquette. Mrs. Pearce reveals his true habits when no one is looking, thus confirming them as his hypocrisies.

This sentiment is similar to Higgins' hope to pass Eliza off as a noblewoman, not actually make her into a genuine member of the upper class: class is all about how one hopes to be perceived, not how they truly are as a human being. For all of her faults, Eliza is true to herself, whereas Higgins' pretension is almost entirely an act. 

Act 3 Quotes

I shall never get into the way of seriously liking young women: some habits lie too deep to be changed. [Rising abruptly and walking about, jingling his money and his keys in his trouser pockets] Besides, they're all idiots.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

Henry visits his mother on a day she is scheduled to entertain other visitors. He asks that she allow Eliza to join in on the visit, to test how she interacts in a group of strangers. Hearing about a girl, Mrs. Higgins suddenly becomes interested, and she asks her son if this young woman is a romantic interest of his. 

In this quote, Higgins immediately dismisses any idea that Eliza is a potential romantic partner. He, according to his mother, never falls in love with anyone under "forty-five," likely because he has an intense disdain for immaturity and naivety. Ironically, he claims that "some habits lie too deep to be changed," although changing habits is exactly at the root of his experiment with Eliza. Higgins believes that he is a singular creature, immune to all of the fallacy of human beings, particularly those that he believes "afflict" women. His prejudices therefore maintain his status as a bachelor. 

You certainly are a pretty pair of babies, playing with your live doll.

Related Characters: Mrs. Higgins (speaker), Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

After the guests leave, Mrs. Higgins grills Pickering and her son as to their true intentions for Eliza. When they explain their project and bet, Mrs. Higgins is horrified and points out the fallacies in their experimental design: Eliza is a human, and she will continue to live a life after the project is over. 

In this quote, Mrs. Higgins points out that the two men are acting like children delighting over the intricacies of their "live doll." When children play with a doll, they manipulate its movements and perhaps make up what it says, but they don't actually believe that the doll has a mind of its own. This is how Pickering and Higgins approach Eliza: as a toy for their amusement, without consulting her on her own beliefs and thoughts, because it has never occurred to them that she has any. Their project, though supposedly intended for real-world application, ultimately lives in the world of academia, especially since they have not thought of what to do with Eliza when she succeeds, or doesn't, at the garden party. This lack of foresight is what truly makes their experiment and actions immature. 

Act 4 Quotes

Well, I feel a bit tired. It's been a long day. The garden party, a dinner party, and the opera! Rather too much of a good thing. But you've won your bet, Higgins. Eliza did the trick, and something to spare, eh?
Thank God it's over!

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Colonel Pickering (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

The garden party is a success, and Eliza "fools" all of the noblemen into believing she is a duchess. After returning from the party, Pickering and Higgins congratulate themselves on a job well-done, and completely ignore Eliza's presence. In this quote, Pickering and Higgins are smugly satisfied with their work on Eliza, completely ignoring the fact that it was she who was the actual success at the party, not just them. Higgins' comment about being grateful it is over is particularly hurtful to Eliza--it is further confirmation that they were really interested in their fun and games, and not her feelings or future, in initiating this project. She as a "success" story matters very little to them--they are only interested in using their wit and wealth to mold her and amuse themselves. Now, they can move on to whatever else will entertain them, and have little regard for what happens to Eliza now that she has been molded into a semblance of a noblewoman, and cannot return to the "gutter." This quote is evidence of the crass and blasé nature that the two men inspire in each other, in particular the insensitive remarks that Higgins frequently doles out without regard to Eliza's feelings or literal presence in the room.

It was interesting enough at first, while we were at the phonetics; but after that I got deadly sick of it. If I hadn't backed myself to do it I should have chucked the whole thing up two months ago. It was a silly notion: the whole thing has been a bore.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Completely ignoring Eliza's presence in the room, Higgins complains that the experiment had become a bore, and that he would have given up months ago had there not been a bet at stake. In this quote, Higgins speaks incredibly rudely about Eliza in a manner that is particularly unacceptable given that she can hear everything he is saying. His statement that he was only interested in the phonetics aspect of the experiment is further evidence that he only regarded Eliza as an academic curiosity, not as a human--he became "bored," as he claims, of the whole matter once he learned that he actually had to attend to her as a whole human being, not just as a speaking machine, in order to mold her into an entirely new member of Victorian high society. This statement is a new low, even for Higgins: it shows a blatant disregard not just for Eliza as a lower-class woman, but for a human life and mind that he has lived and worked with intimately for six months. Higgins respects Pickering because he believes him to be his moral and intellectual equal; anyone he perceives as inferior and subject to his whims, such as Eliza, might as well not have a mind at all.

I'd like to kill you, you selfish brute. Why didn't you leave me where you picked me out of—in the gutter? You thank God it's all over, and that now you can throw me back again there, do you?

Related Characters: Eliza Doolittle (speaker), Henry Higgins
Page Number: 76
Explanation and Analysis:

Incensed about Higgins' and Pickering's statements, Eliza throws Higgins' slippers at him in a rage. In this quote, she acknowledges that she has heard everything he has said, and expresses her fury at his sentiments.

Throughout the last six months, Eliza has taken Pickering and Higgins' emotional abuse for the sake of learning how to be a genteel woman so that she might have a better shot at her future than she did before they met. However, all of her rage at their condescension comes to a head after she performs admirably at the garden party, and they pat each other on the back rather than praising her for her excellent work over the past few months. 

Eliza accuses Higgins of being selfish--his statements about being grateful that the experiment was over show that he had no interest in her beyond the amusement she provided. Once the amusement was gone, he has no use for her. Just like Mrs. Higgins warned, neither man considered what would become of Eliza once the project was over. Here, Eliza shows that she, too, is concerned about her life--now that she has been shown what a life of leisure and luxury is, she has the choice of continuing to live with a man who considers her less than human, or returning to the "gutter" in a life of poverty and squalor.  In the intervening months, the two men failed to realize that Eliza's beliefs and goals--not just her appearance and speech--had evolved to be greater than one expects of a flower girl.  

Do my clothes belong to me or to Colonel Pickering?

Related Characters: Eliza Doolittle (speaker), Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

After fighting with Higgins, Eliza declares that she has no choice but to leave Wimpole Street. In this quote, before she leaves, she asks Higgins if the clothes she is wearing belong to her, or to Pickering, since he was the one who technically paid for her entire transformation. 

As the two men's "doll," Eliza is unsure what is now hers--tangibly, or emotionally--and what is property of Pickering and Higgins. This comment deeply wounds Higgins, since he genuinely did not realize that she felt this complexly about anything, let alone that she was smart enough to realize the sarcasm and condescension entrenched in his treatment towards her. Higgins considers himself charitable for having taken Eliza in, given her fancy things and an upper-crust attitude. By asking whether her clothing is her own or if she must return it to Pickering--presumably, for their next experiment with a girl they find on the street--hurts him, since he feels that she has not been grateful or understood the act of charity. 

Act 5 Quotes

Nonsense! He can't provide for her. He shan't provide for her. She doesn't belong to him. I paid him five pounds for her.

Related Characters: Henry Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Alfred Doolittle
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:

After hearing of Doolittle's newfound wealth, Mrs. Higgins suggests that he can now support Eliza. In this quote, Higgins replies that this is nonsense, since he technically "bought" Eliza for five pounds at the beginning of the experiment.

Despite Eliza's protests, and Mrs. Higgins' reprimands, Higgins still believes that Eliza, as an entity, is entirely indebted to his expertise and generosity. He has never worried about what will happen to her because he simply expected her to continue existing alongside him: he never states that he is fond of her, but merely that he has "grown accustomed" to her presence in his life. Like his different phonetics equipments and academic books, Higgins hopes to "collect" Eliza and keep her alongside him, as evidence of his success and brilliance. He continues to fail to comprehend that she is a separate human being with her own wants and desires, and flippantly expects her to truly remain on Wimpole Street because he gave her food and clothing, and paid her father five pounds. Higgins, as Shaw comments, is "incorrigible" and stubbornly believes that what he thinks is pure truth, and will never accept that he is less than the smartest person in the room, despite loud cries towards the contrary. 

She had become attached to you both. She worked very hard for you, Henry! I don't think you quite realize what anything in the nature of brain work means to a girl like that. Well, it seems that when the great day of trial came, and she did this wonderful thing for you without making a single mistake, you two sat there and never said a word to her, but talked together of how glad you were that it was all over and how you had been bored with the whole thing. And then you were surprised because she threw your slippers at you!

Related Characters: Mrs. Higgins (speaker), Eliza Doolittle, Henry Higgins, Colonel Pickering
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

After storming out of Higgins' house, Eliza goes to Mrs. Higgins to spend the night and relate her woes from Wimpole Street. In this quote, Mrs. Higgins explains to her son all the ways he has failed his protégé. 

Higgins' views of wealth and class meant that he felt that his work on Eliza was very generous, and that it was he who succeeded at the garden party, not her--similar to the way he would have been proud of himself for publishing an academic paper, not for the paper due to its personal achievements. Eliza, however, is a human being, and feels that her own achievements have been completely ignored. Everyone besides Pickering, it appears, sees very clearly how poorly Higgins has treated Eliza, including his own mother. Higgins' disdain for young women meant that though he worked with Eliza, he never truly got to know her, since he didn't feel like she was worth it. Yet when she became angry at him, he felt very hurt, since he had assumed she felt fondly for him and grateful for his "service." Higgins can almost, but not quite, be forgiven for his behavior, since he is completely ignorant of how his actions and words affect others. However, his refusal to believe other people when they tell him he has misbehaved qualifies Shaw's statement that the character he has created is utterly "incorrigible." 

Liza: Freddy loves me: that makes him king enough for me. I don't want him to work: he wasn't brought up to it as I was. I'll go and be a teacher.
Higgins: What'll you teach, in heaven's name?
Liza: What you taught me. I'll teach phonetics.

Related Characters: Eliza Doolittle (speaker), Henry Higgins (speaker)
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

Eliza and Higgins continue to bicker about their mutual woes regarding their time together, and Eliza argues that she's not so dependent on Higgins as to be stuck with him, and reveals her plan to marry Freddy and teach to support him. Higgins scoffs at the notion, mocking both the idea that Eliza would work at all and the idea that she might have any knowledge that she could teach to others. 

Eliza has at least learned one good thing beyond proper phonetics: she has learned that she deserves better than what she has received from Higgins. To try and make her own way in the world, she decides, is worth the struggle, rather than remaining in the lap of luxury and guarded by a pretentious man who does not respect her intelligence and emotions. Ultimately, Eliza is successful in the experiment beyond Higgins' imagination – she has both presented herself as, and become, a superior moral being than when she first arrived at Wimpole Street. Yet Higgins' own intellectual, moral, and emotional shortcomings (and his own failure to develop them even as Eliza has developed hers) failed to foresee that this transformation would come along with greater goals and expectations for Eliza and the people around her. Thus, Eliza leaves both Higgins and her old life behind her, in the hopes of finding someone who loves and respects her for who she is, inside and out, and to teach others phonetics, though with far more kindness than she received from her own instructor.  

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Henry Higgins Character Timeline in Pygmalion

The timeline below shows where the character Henry Higgins appears in Pygmalion. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
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...a variety of pedestrians seek shelter under the portico of a church, including a wealthy woman and her daughter, Clara. The mother and daughter are waiting impatiently for Freddy, Clara's brother,... (full context)
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...The mother agrees and gives her six-pence. The flower-girl says that she just called the man Freddy because that is how she would refer to any random person she doesn't know.... (full context)
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The flower-girl asks the gentleman to buy a flower, but he says he doesn't have any change. He rummages in... (full context)
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The flower-girl worries that she is in trouble but the man taking notes steps forward and asks what the matter is. A bystander tells him the... (full context)
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Some of the bystanders think the man is a policeman and tell him not to worry about the flower-girl. One bystander says... (full context)
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The note-taking man continues to guess where everyone is from, to all the bystanders' surprise. The rain begins... (full context)
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The gentleman asks the note-taker how he knows where everyone is from, and he answers that he... (full context)
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The note-taking man then says to the gentleman that the flower-girl's accent and dialect will keep her in... (full context)
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The gentleman says that he himself is "a student of Indian dialects." He introduces himself as Colonel... (full context)
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Higgins and Pickering leave to get dinner together. Higgins reluctantly gives the flower-girl some money. Freddy... (full context)
Act 2
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The next morning, Higgins and Pickering are at Higgins' "laboratory," a huge room filled with various tools and devices... (full context)
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Higgins' housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, comes in and announces that a young woman is here to see... (full context)
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Higgins is frustrated because he has already recorded her accent, and tells her to leave. But... (full context)
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...flower-girl says her name is Eliza Doolittle, and offers to pay a shilling for lessons. Higgins reflects aloud that this sum of money is a sizable percentage of what she makes,... (full context)
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Amused by Eliza, Pickering offers to pay for her lessons and bets Higgins that he can't teach Eliza to speak so well that she passes as a noble... (full context)
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Higgins tells Mrs. Pearce to wash Eliza, throw out her dirty clothes, and get new ones.... (full context)
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Higgins says that when he is done teaching her, Eliza will have countless men courting her.... (full context)
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Higgins says that Eliza is "no use to anybody but me," and tells Mrs. Pearce that... (full context)
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Eliza is upset and prepares to leave, but Higgins gives her a chocolate and promises her boxes and barrels of them if she stays.... (full context)
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Higgins tells Eliza that she will live with him for six months, learning how to speak... (full context)
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...leaves, saying she hasn't asked for any of this. Once she is gone, Pickering asks Higgins if he is "a man of good character where women are concerned." Higgins says that... (full context)
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Pickering tells Higgins that if he is involved with teaching Eliza, he will feel responsible for her. Higgins... (full context)
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Mrs. Pearce asks Higgins to behave with good manners while Eliza is around—for example, not to come to breakfast... (full context)
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Mrs. Pearce leaves but returns quickly, saying that a man is at the door claiming to be Eliza's father. Higgins has her bring the man... (full context)
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...two months, but learned of her whereabouts from the cab driver who brought her to Higgins' place. Higgins comments on his accent, saying his Welsh origins account for his "mendacity and... (full context)
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Mr. Doolittle has brought some of Eliza's things to the house. Higgins calls Mrs. Pearce and tells her that Mr. Doolittle has come to take Eliza away,... (full context)
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...leaves and Mr. Doolittle asks for five pounds in return for letting Eliza stay with Higgins. Pickering and Higgins are shocked at his willingness to sell his own daughter and think... (full context)
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Higgins proposes to take Mr. Doolittle in along with Eliza and teach him to speak nobly,... (full context)
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...get into an argument as she says he has only come to get money from Higgins for his drinking habit. Mr. Doolittle prepares to leave. Higgins asks him to come visit... (full context)
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...that she has more clothes for her to try on. She leaves eagerly, saying "Ah-ow-oo-ooh!" Higgins and Pickering reflect on the difficult task ahead of them in making Eliza pass for... (full context)
Act 3
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Higgins barges into his mother's home one afternoon. Mrs. Higgins is surprised to see her son... (full context)
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Higgins tells his mother about Eliza and says that she is to sit with Mrs. Higgins... (full context)
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Freddy Eynsford Hill enters, and Higgins again thinks he looks familiar but can't remember why. He wonders what everyone will talk... (full context)
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Higgins goes on to say that all people are really "savages, more or less," even though... (full context)
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Higgins finally realizes where he knows the Eynsford Hills from. Everyone discusses the weather and Eliza... (full context)
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...fond of her, and Eliza asks if she has said anything she shouldn't have. Mrs. Higgins assures her she hasn't. She begins to speak again, but Higgins interrupts her, signaling that... (full context)
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The Eynsford Hills prepare to leave, and Higgins encourages Clara to try out the new fashion of speaking (Eliza's). Clara calls the Victorian... (full context)
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...that Clara is annoyed when she is not up to date with "the latest slang." Higgins asks his mother if Eliza was presentable, and Mrs. Higgins says she isn't. She says... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins asks about the state of Higgins' home, and learns that Higgins, Pickering, and Eliza are... (full context)
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Pickering assures Mrs. Higgins that they take Eliza very seriously, and Higgins calls her "the most absorbing experiment I... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins says that Eliza will have all "the manners and habits that disqualify a fine lady... (full context)
Act 4
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It is midnight at Higgins' house. Eliza, Higgins, and Pickering all enter, tired and dressed formally. Eliza is quiet, as... (full context)
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Higgins says he knew Eliza would be fine, and tells Pickering that he has long been... (full context)
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Preparing for bed, Higgins tells Eliza to turn out the lights. Eliza is becoming increasingly upset. Higgins can't find... (full context)
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Eliza calls Higgins a "selfish brute," and says that now she will be thrown back "in the gutter,"... (full context)
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...regains her composure, but is still upset. She wonders what will happen to her now. Higgins tells her she will be alright, and suggests she marries someone. He offers for his... (full context)
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Higgins is annoyed by Eliza's comment, and tells her she doesn't have to marry. He says... (full context)
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Higgins is offended at the question, but Eliza says that she has to be mindful of... (full context)
Act 5
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Mrs. Higgins is sitting in her drawing room. Her parlor-maid announces that Higgins and Pickering are downstairs,... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins tells her son to calm down and says that Eliza has the right to leave... (full context)
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The parlor-maid enters and announces that a gentleman named Mr. Doolittle has arrived at the house. Higgins assumes that it is a relative... (full context)
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Mr. Doolittle is not aware that Eliza is missing, though, and so Higgins is confused as to why he is mad at him. Doolittle says that Higgins mentioned... (full context)
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Mr. Doolittle says that now he has to learn proper English from Higgins, and suspects this was Higgins' plan all along. Mrs. Higgins tells him that he can... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins says that Mr. Doolittle can take care of Eliza now that he has money. Higgins... (full context)
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Mrs. Higgins scolds them for having talked about how glad they were that their experiment was over,... (full context)
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Eliza enters and is very polite, which is baffling to Higgins. He tells her to "get up and come home." He says she doesn't have an... (full context)
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Eliza tells Pickering that she is grateful to him for teaching her proper manners, unlike Higgins, who set a bad example for her. She says that she grew up... (full context)
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...is not how she behaves, but how she's treated." Eliza says that she would like Higgins to call her Miss Doolittle, and Higgins curses. (full context)
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Pickering tells Eliza to curse back at Higgins, but she says she cannot now. She says that she has forgotten her old way... (full context)
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...behind Eliza and surprises her. She cries out, "A-a-a-a-a-ah-ow-ooh!" just as she used to, and Higgins is delighted that she has relapsed into one of her old speech habits. Mr. Doolittle... (full context)
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...didn't marry Eliza's mother, because marriage isn't natural, but merely "the middle class way." Mrs. Higgins asks if she can come to the wedding, as well, and then leaves to get... (full context)
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Higgins explains to Eliza that he is rude to everyone, regardless of social class, whereas Pickering... (full context)
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Higgins says that he will miss Eliza if she leaves. He says he has grown fond... (full context)
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Higgins says that if she comes back, he will throw her out if she doesn't do... (full context)
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Higgins offers to adopt Eliza, or marry her to Pickering. Eliza says she doesn't want this,... (full context)
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...she is not interested in anyone making anything of someone else, whereas that is all Higgins cares about. Higgins asks if Eliza wants him to care about her like Freddy does,... (full context)
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Higgins tells Eliza that if she can't deal with his coldness, she can leave and return... (full context)
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Eliza responds that if she can't have kindness from Higgins, she'll have independence. She says she could become a teacher of phonetics, advertising that she... (full context)
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Just then, Mrs. Higgins returns and tells Eliza a carriage is ready to take them to her father's wedding.... (full context)