BLTC Press Titles

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My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse

Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller

Further Adventures of an Irish R. M.

Edith Somerville and Martin Ross

The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois

Major Barbara

by Bernard Shaw


(Stephen submissively walks to the settee and sits down. He takes up The Speaker.)

Lady Britomart. Dont begin to read, Stephen. I shall require all your attention.

Stephen. It was only while I was waiting—

Lady Britomart. Dont make excuses, Stephen. (He puts down The Speaker.) Now! (She finishes her writing; rises; and comes to the settee.) I . have not kept you waiting very long, I think.

Stephen. Not at all, mother.

Lady Britomart. Bring me my cushion. (He takes the cushion from the chair at the desk and arranges it for her as she sits down on the settee.) Sit down. (He sits down and fingers his tie nervously.) Dont fiddle with your tie, Stephen: there is nothing the matter with it.

Stephen. I beg your pardon. (He fiddles with his watch chain instead.)

Lady Britomart. Now are you attending to me, Stephen-?

Stephen. Of course, mother.

Lady Britomart. No: it's not of course. I want something much more than your everyday matter-ofcourse attention. I am going to speak to you very seri-**' ously, Stephen. I wish you would let that chain alone.

Stephen (hastily relinquishing the chain). Have I done anything to annoy you, mother? If so, it was quite unintentional. *

Lady Britomart (astonished). Nonsense! (With some remorse.) My poor boy, did you think I was angry with you?

Stephen. What is it, then, mother? You are making me very uneasy.

Lady Britomart (squaring herself at him rather aggressively). Stephen: may I ask how soon you intend to realize that you are a grown-up man, and that I am only a woman?

Stephen (amazed). Only a—

Lady Britomart. Dont repeat my words, please: it is a most aggravating habit. You must learn to face life seriously, Stephen. I really cannot bear the whole burden of our family affairs any longer. You must advise me: you must assume the responsibility.

Stephen. I!

Lady Britomart. Yes, you, of course. You were 24 last June. Youve been at Harrow and Cambridge. Youve been to India and Japan. You must know a lot of things, now; unless you have wasted your time most scandalously. Well, advise me.

Stephen (much perplexed). You know I have never interfered in the household—

Lady Britomart. No: I should think not. I dont want you to order the dinner.

Stephen. I mean in our family affairs.

Lady Britomart. Well, you must interfere now; for they are getting quite beyond me.

Stephen (troubled). I have thought sometimes that perhaps I ouglnV; but really, mother, I know so little about them; and what I do know is so painful—it is so. impossible to mention some things te you— (he stops, ashamed).

Lady Britomart. I suppose you mean your father.

Stephen (almost inaudibly). Yes.

Lady Britomart. My-dear: we cant go .on all our lives not mentioning him. Of course you were quite right not to open the subject until I asked you to; but you are old enough now to be taken into my confidence, and to help me to deal with him about the girls.

Stephen. But the girls are all right. They are engaged.

Lady Britomart (complacently). Yes: I have made a very good match for Sarah. Charles Lomax will be a millionaire at 35. But that is ten years ahead; and in the meantime his trustees cannot under the terms of his father's will allow him more than £800 a year.

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