Sunday, July 26, 2020

Snippets From Pygmalion

Pygmalion is an all-time favorite book, and so is its author. I love Shaw's humour, and I happened to have some snippets and quotes from the book that I had written down when I read it.

Eliza, a cockney flower girl, goes to Prof. Higgins to learn phonetics. I became a fan of Shaw, his plays, and I absolutely love this one.I felt happy rediscovering that document, and hence I present to you my collection!

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she’s treated.”

“The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no thirdclass carriages, and one soul is as good as another.”

"Simply phonetics. The science of speech. That's my profession; also my hobby. Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby! You can spot an Irishman or a Yorkshireman by his brogue. I can place any man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets."

"What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn't come every day. I shall make a duchess of this draggletailed guttersnipe."

Here's a excerpt of a conversation that I had put up in my review:
WHISKERS : Maestro, Maestro (he embraces Higgins and kisses him on both cheeks). You remember me?
HIGGINS: No I don’t. Who the devil are you?
WHISKERS: I am your pupil: your first pupil, your best and greatest pupil. I am little Nepommuck, the marvellous boy. I have made your name famous throughout Europe. You teach me phonetic. You cannot forget ME.
HIGGINS: Why don’t you shave?
NEPOMMUCK: I have not your imposing appearance, your chin, your brow. Nobody notices me when I shave. Now I am famous: they call me Hairy Faced Dick.
HIGGINS: And what are you doing here among all the swells?
NEOPOMMUCK: I am interpreter. I speak 32 languages. I am indispensable at these international parties. You are great cockney specialist: you place a man anywhere in London the moment he opens his mouth. I place any man in Europe.
(a footman hurries down the grand staircase and comes to Nepommuck).
FOOTMAN: You are wanted upstairs. Her excellency cannot understand the Greek gentleman.
NEPOMMUCK: Thank you, yes, immediately.
(the footman goes and is lost in the crowd)
NEPOMMUCK: (to Higgins) This Greek diplomatist pretends he cannot speak nor understand English. He cannot deceive me. He is the son of a Clerkenwell watchmaker. He speaks English so villainously that he dare not utter a word of it without betraying his origin. I help him to pretend; but I make him pay through the nose. I make them all pay. Ha Ha! (he hurries upstairs).
Pygmalion is a book that talks about a wide range of things from language and art of phonetics to behaviour and how women ought to be treated, all in the style of classic Shaw humour. It is a brilliant play that is a must-read! 

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