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English CBSE Class 11 NCERT Snapshot Chapter 5 Mother’s Day Line by Line Explanation and Meaning of Difficult Words

MOTHER’S DAY

(Explanation)

Characters

MRS ANNIE PEARSON

GEORGE PEARSON

DORIS PEARSON

CYRIL PEARSON

MRS FITZGERALD

The action takes place in the living-room of the Pearsons’ house in a London suburb.

Time: The Present

Word Meaning
Pearson’s Pearson family
Suburb Area just outside urban area

The action of the act is in living room of house of Pearson family. The house is situated in suburban area of London city. Period of the action is present time.

 

Scene: The living-room of the Pearson family. Afternoon. It is a comfortably furnished, much lived-in room in a small suburban semi-detached villa.

Word Meaning
Comfortably furnished Having comfortable furniture
Much lived-in room Homely, Used since long time
Semi detached Not fully independent, Some wall is common
Villa Bungalow

It is afternoon time. The scene is of living room of Pearson family. Furniture in the living room is comfortable. It appears that it is being used since long time. The house is a bungalow that is not fully independent.

 

If necessary only one door need be used, but it is better with two—one up left leading to the front door and the stairs and the other in the right wall leading to the kitchen and the back door.

If required only one door can be used. But this house has two doors. The door on the left side leads to front door and stairs. The second door is on the right side. It leads to kitchen and the back door of the house.

 

There can be a muslin covered window in the left wall and possibly one in the right wall, too. The fireplace is assumed to be in the fourth wall.

Word Meaning
Muslin A type of cotton cloth
Fireplace The place for heating the room

Windows on the left side of the wall are covered with curtains of muslin. Probably right side windows also have curtains. The fireplace is along the fourth side wall of the room.

 

There is a settee up right, an armchair down left and one down right. A small table with two chairs on either side of it stands at the centre. When the curtain rises it is an afternoon in early autumn and the stage can be well lit.

Word Meaning
Settee Sofa, Couch, Divan
Armchair Chair with arms

A sofa has been placed in the room. An armchair on left of it and another on right of it. At the centre of the room a small table and two chairs are placed. When curtain rises, one can see that it is afternoon of autumn season and the room has sufficient light.

 

Mrs Pearson at right, and Mrs Fitzgerald at left, are sitting opposite each other at the small table, on which are two tea-cups and saucers and the cards with which Mrs Fitzgerald has been telling Mrs Pearson’s fortune.

Word Meaning
Saucers Plate
Fortune Luck

At the table Mrs. Pearson is sitting on the right and Mrs. Fitzgerald on the left side. They are sitting opposite to each other. On the table two cups and two saucers are lying. A pack of cards is also on the table. Mrs. Fitzgerald has been using these cards to predict fortune of Mrs. Pearson.

 

Mrs Pearson is a pleasant but worried-looking woman in her forties. Mrs Fitzgerald is older, heavier and a strong and sinister personality. She is smoking.

Word Meaning
Heavier More fatty
Sinister Inauspicious, Wicked

Mrs. Pearson has attractive personality. But she is looking very much worried. She is above 40 but less than 50. Mrs. Fitzgerald is older, more fatty and stronger than Mrs. Pearson. She has an inauspicious personality. She is smoking.

 

It is very important that these two should have sharply contrasting voices—Mrs Pearson speaking in a light, flurried sort of tone, with a touch of suburban Cockney perhaps; and Mrs Fitzgerald with a deep voice, rather Irish perhaps.

Word Meaning
Sharply contrasting Clearly different
Flurried Nervous, Agitated
Cockney Name of a language
Irish Of or belonging to Ireland

It is important that these two ladies should have clearly different voices. Mrs. Person is speaking is a soft and nervous type of tone. She is using words and style of Cockney language also. Mrs. Fitzgerald has a heavy voice. Her accent is probably of Irish language.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [collecting up the cards] And that’s all I can tell you, Mrs Pearson. Could be a good fortune. Could be a bad one. All depends on yourself now. Make up your mind—and there it is.

Word Meaning
Make up your mind Decide yourself

Mrs. Fitzgerald collects all the cards. She tells Mrs. Pearson that she may have good fortune or she may have bad fortune. It will depend of Mrs. Pearson herself. And finally you need to decide.

 

MRS PEARSON: Yes, thank you, Mrs Fitzgerald. I’m much obliged, I’m sure. It’s wonderful having a real fortune-teller living next door. Did you learn that out East, too?

Word Meaning
Obliged Thankful
Living next door Living in neighbourhood

Mrs. Pearson thanks Mrs. Fitzgerald. I am certainly thankful to you. It is very nice that a fortune teller lives in the neighbourhood. She asks Mrs. Fitzgerald if she knows Eastern method (Asian method) of fortune reading.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: I did. Twelve years I had of it, with my old man rising to be Lieutenant Quartermaster. He learnt a lot, and I learnt a lot more. But will you make up your mind now, Mrs Pearson dear? Put your foot down, once an’ for all, an’ be the mistress of your own house an’ the boss of your own family.

Word Meaning
Make up the mind To decide
Put your foot down Use authority to stop something

To refuse to accept something

Mistress Lady owner
Once and for all Finally, Conclusively

She replies that she had learnt it about 12 years ago. At that time her husband was promoted to Lieutenant Quartermaster. They both had learnt about the Eastern method. But Mrs. Pearson, now you need to finally take a decision to be owner of your own house and be the boss of your own family.

 

MRS PEARSON: [smiling apologetically] That’s easier said than done. Besides I’m so fond of them even if they are so thoughtless and selfish. They don’t mean to be…

Word Meaning
Apologetically Feeling sorry, Feeling regret
Easier said than done Difficult to do
Besides Apart from, Additionally
Thoughtless Not caring
Selfish Caring about one self only

Mrs. Pearson smiled while feeling sorry. She said that it was difficult to do. I like them so much. Although they do not care about me. They care about themselves only.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [cutting in] Maybe not. But it’ud be better for them if they learnt to treat you properly…

MRS PEARSON: Yes, I suppose it would, in a way.

Word Meaning
Cutting in Speaking before other has stopped speaking
it’ud be it would be
Treat Behave with

Mrs. Fitzgerald starts speaking even before Mrs. Pearson had stopped speaking. She says that it would be better if people started behaving in a better manner with Mrs. Pearson.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: No doubt about it at all. Who’s the better for being spoilt—grown man, lad or girl? Nobody. You think it does ’em good when you run after them all the time, take their orders as if you were the servant in the house, stay at home every night while they go out enjoying themselves? Never in all your life.

Word Meaning
Grown man Grown up person
Spoilt One with bad habits
Lad Boy
Run after them Serve them

Mrs. Fitzgerald continues to advise Mrs. Pearson. She says nobody should have bad habits. Neither a grown up man nor a boy nor a girl. It is not correct for you to serve them all the time. You should not obey their orders. You are not their servant. They go out of the house even during night to enjoy and you stay at home. You should not do this anytime during your life time.

 

It’s the ruin of them as well as you. Husbands, sons, daughters should be taking notice of wives an’ mothers, not giving ’em orders an’ treating ’em like dirt. An’ don’t tell me you don’t know what I mean, for I know more than you’ve told me.

Word Meaning
Ruin of them Bad on their part
Treating them like dirt Behaving badly

Mrs. Fitzgerald continues to advise Mrs. Pearson. It is bad on their part and on your part also. People should not be giving orders to lady of the house. They should behave with her nicely. You also know about it. I have understood more than what you have told me.

 

MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] I—keep dropping a hint…

MRS FITZGERALD: Hint? It’s more than hints your family needs, Mrs Pearson.

Word Meaning
Dubiously Hesitantly, With a feeling of doubt
Keep dropping a hint Go on giving a hint

Mrs. Pearson tells with hesitation that she always given them a hint. Mrs. Fitzgerald says that her family needs something more than a hint.

 

MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] I suppose it is. But I do hate any unpleasantness. And it’s so hard to know where to start. I keep making up my mind to have it out with them but somehow I don’t know how to begin. [She glances at her watch or at a clock ] Oh good gracious! Look at the time. Nothing ready and they’ll be home any minute and probably all in a hurry to go out again. [As she is about to rise, Mrs Fitzgerald reaches out across the table and pulls her down.]

Word Meaning
Unpleasantness Unfriendliness, Not cordial
To have it out Discuss to solve a problem
Good gracious Words of exclamation or surprise
Glance A quick look

Mrs. Pearson tells with hesitation that she does not like the unfriendly behaviour towards her. Many times she had decided to resolve the situation. But she did not know how to start the discussion. She looks at the watch and says with exclamation that they are about to come home. Nothing is ready. They may be in hurry to go out again. She is about get up from her chair. But Mrs. Fitzgerald walks to the other side of the table and forces her to sit down.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: Let ’em wait or look after themselves for once. This is where your foot goes down. Start now. [She lights a cigarette from the one she has just finished.]

Word Meaning
Look after Take care
For once On one occasion

Mrs. Fitzgerald advises Mrs. Pearson that they (family members of Mrs. Pearson) should wait. They should take care of themselves. This is how you should start using your authority from right now. Mrs. Fitzgerald lights another cigarette from the cigarette she was smoking.

 

MRS PEARSON: [embarrassed] Mrs Fitzgerald—I know you mean well—in fact, I agree with you— but I just can’t—and it’s no use you trying to make me. If I promise you I’d really have it out with them, I know I wouldn’t be able to keep my promise.

MRS FITZGERALD: Then let me do it.

Word Meaning
Embarrassed Felt shy
Trying to make me Force me to behave in a particular way

Mrs. Pearson is feeling shy. She tells that although advice of Mrs. Fitzgerald is good. Mrs. Pearson actually agrees with Mrs. Fitzgerald. But Mrs. Pearson says that she cannot implement the advice. Please do not force me. I cannot make promise to have a discussion with them to resolve the situation. Because I will not be able to maintain that promise.

 

Mrs. Fitzgerald says that she can do it on behalf Mrs. Pearson.

MRS PEARSON: [flustered] Oh no—thank you very much, Mrs Fitzgerald—but that wouldn’t do at all. It couldn’t possibly be somebody else— they’d resent it at once and wouldn’t listen— and really I couldn’t blame them. I know I ought to do it—but you see how it is? [She looks apologetically across the table, smiling rather miserably.]

Word Meaning
Flustered Confused, Agitated
Resent Dislike

Mrs. Pearson gets slightly agitated and tells Mrs. Fitzgerald not to do it on her behalf. She says that this will not help her. Her family members will not like it and they will not accept it. She needs to do it herself. With a feeling of regret she looks across the table towards Mrs. Fitzgerald. Mrs. Pearson is trying to smile but she is not looking good.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] You haven’t got the idea.

MRS PEARSON: [bewildered] Oh—I’m sorry—I thought you asked me to let you do it.

MRS FITZGERALD: I did. But not as me—as you.

MRS PEARSON: But—I don’t understand. You couldn’t be me.

MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] We change places. Or—really— bodies. You look like me. I look like you.

Word Meaning
Bewildered Surprised

Mrs. Fitzgerald says that Mrs. Pearson has not understood. Mrs. Pearson is surprised and says that Mrs. Fitzgerald had asked her to do the discussion. Mrs. Fitzgerald says that she would do the discussion as if she were Mrs. Pearson. They would exchange the places. They look like each other.

 

MRS PEARSON: But that’s impossible.

MRS FITZGERALD: How do you know? Ever tried it?

MRS PEARSON: No, of course not…

Mrs. Pearson says that it is impossible. Mrs. Fitzgerald asks if Mrs. Pearson had ever tried it. She says that she had never tried it.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [coolly] I have. Not for some time but it still ought to work. Won’t last long, but long enough for what we want to do. Learnt it out East, of course, where they’re up to all these tricks. [She holds her hand out across the table, keeping the cigarette in her mouth] Gimme your hands, dear.

Mrs. Fitzgerald calmly says that she had tried it. It does not work for a long time but it works for some short time. And that time will be sufficient to execute our planning. I have learnt that trick from the eastern countries. It is used quite often there. [She holds her hand across the table. The cigarette is in her mouth. ] She requests Mrs. Pearson to touch her hands.

 

MRS PEARSON: [dubiously] Well—I don’t know—is it right?

MRS FITZGERALD: It’s your only chance. Give me your hands an’ keep quiet a minute. Just don’t think about anything. [Taking her hands] Now look at me. [They stare at each other. Muttering] Arshtatta dum—arshtatta lam—arshtatta lamdumbona…

Mrs. Pearson has a doubt id it will work. Mrs. Fitzgerald says that it was the only opportunity for Mrs. Pearson. She tells her not to think about anything else. She take hands of Mrs. Pearson in her own hand. They look at each other. Mrs. Fitzgerald says some words in unclear voice.

 

[This little scene should be acted very carefully. We are to assume that the personalities change bodies. After the spell has been spoken, both women, still grasping hands, go lax, as if the life were out of them. Then both come to life, but with the personality of the other. Each must try to adopt the voice and mannerisms of the other. So now Mrs Pearson is bold and dominating and Mrs. Fitzgerald is nervous and fluttering.]

Word Meaning
Spell Mantra,
Lax Loose
Mannerism Behaviour
Fluttering Shy, Timid, fearful

This scene should be done carefully. We assume that personalities can move from one body to another body. After the mantra has been spoken, both women are holding hands. Their body become loose as if it does not have life. Soon their bodies start moving. Their personality has changed. Each should be able to adopt personality of other. Now Mrs. Pearson is bold and authoritative. Mrs. Fitzgerald has become nervous and fearful.

 

MRS PEARSON: [now with Mrs Fitzgerald’s personality] See what I mean, dear? [She notices the cigarette] Here—you don’t want that. [She snatches it and puts it in her own mouth, puffing contentedly.]

[Mrs Fitzgerald, now with Mrs Pearson’s personality, looks down at herself and sees that her body has changed and gives a scream of fright.]

Word Meaning
Snatch Pull forcefully and quickly
Puffing Pull air repeatedly
Contentedly With satisfaction
Scream Shout
Fright Fear

Mrs. Pearson now has personality of Mrs. Fitzgerald. She notices the cigarette. She pulls it away from lips of Mrs. Fitzgerald and she starts smoking. Mrs. Fitzgerald now has personality of Mrs. Pearson. She looks at herself and shouts because of fear.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [with Mrs Pearson’s personality] Oh—it’s happened.

MRS PEARSON: [complacently] Of course it’s happened. Very neat. Didn’t know I had it in me.

MRS FITZGERALD: [alarmed] But whatever shall I do, Mrs Fitzgerald? George and the children can’t see me like this.

MRS PEARSON: [grimly] They aren’t going to—that’s the point. They’ll have me to deal with—only they won’t know it.

Word Meaning
Complacently With satisfaction

Mrs. Fitzgerald says that change in personality has occurred. Mrs Pearson is satisfied and says that it has happened. She wonders that she had such a personality in her. Mrs. Fitzgerald is careful. She says what she should do now. Because George and children will not be able to accept her new personality. Mrs. Pearson says with a sad tone that they will not be able to notice this change. Because they will have to deal with her.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [still alarmed] But what if we can’t change back? It’ud be terrible.

MRS PEARSON: Here—steady, Mrs Pearson—if you had to live my life it wouldn’t be so bad. You’d have more fun as me than you’ve had as you.

MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—but I don’t want to be anybody else…

Word Meaning
Alarmed Worried
Terrible Very bad

But Mrs. Fitzgerald is still worried. She says what will happen if she is not able to change back to her original personality. It will be very bad. Mrs. Pearson asks her to remain calm. Mrs. Pearson says that even Mrs. Fitzgerald had to lead her life, it would be quite good. You will have good fun. But Mrs. Fitzgerald does not want to have personality of any other person.

 

MRS PEARSON: Now—stop worrying. It’s easier changing back—I can do it any time we want…

MRS FITZGERALD: Well—do it now…

MRS PEARSON: Not likely. I’ve got to deal with your family first. That’s the idea, isn’t it? Didn’t know how to begin with ‘em, you said. Well. I’ll show you.

MRS FITZGERALD: But what am I going to do?

Mrs. Pearson advises Mrs. Fitzgerald not to worry. She says that it easier to change back to original. Mrs. Fitzgerald asks her to do now itself. But she refuses because she wanted to deal with the family of Mrs. Pearson. She does not know how to start. She says that she will demonstrate to Mrs. Pearson. Mrs. Fitzgerald asks what should she do now.

 

MRS PEARSON: Go into my house for a bit—there’s nobody there—then pop back and see how we’re doing. You ought to enjoy it. Better get off now before one of ’em comes.

MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously rising] Yes—I suppose that’s best. You’re sure it’ll be all right?

MRS PEARSON: [chuckling] It’ll be wonderful. Now off you go, dear.

Word Meaning
For a bit For some time
Pop back Come back
Get off Go away
Chuckling Laughing with making sound

Mrs. Pearson suggests Mrs. Fitzgerald to go to her house. She says nobody is there. She can comeback after some time to see how things are happening. You would surely enjoy it. It is better to go away now before anyone comes back to the house.

 

[Mrs Fitzgerald crosses and hurries out through the door right. Left to herself, Mrs Pearson smokes away—lighting another cigarette—and begins laying out the cards for patience on the table. After a few moments Doris Pearson comes bursting in left. She is a pretty girl in her early twenties, who would be pleasant enough if she had not been spoilt.]

Word Meaning
Left to herself Being alone
Patience Game of cards played by one person

Mrs. Fitzgerald crosses the room and quickly goes out of the left door. Now Mrs. Pearson is alone in the house. She lights a cigarette for herself. She spreads cards on the table to play patience. Her daughter comes quickly from left door. She is a beautiful girl in twenties. She would be a nice girl if she did not have bad habits.

 

DORIS: [before she has taken anything in] Mum— you’ll have to iron my yellow silk. I must wear it tonight. [She now sees what is happening, and is astounded.] What are you doing? [She moves down left centre.]

[Mrs Pearson now uses her ordinary voice, but her manner is not fluttering and apologetic but cool and incisive.]

Word Meaning
Take anything in Completely understand
Astounded Greatly surprised
Incisive Sharp, Crisp

Doris does not understand everything immediately. She asks her mother to iron out her yellow silk dress. She wants to wear it during the same night. Now she sees what is happening. She is greatly surprised. She moves to the centre of the room and asks her mother what she is doing.

 

[Mrs. Pearson speaks in her normal voice. But the voice is not fearful or of feeling sorry. Her voice is calm and crisp.]

MRS PEARSON: [not even looking up] What d’you think I’m doing—whitewashing the ceiling?

DORIS: [still astounded] But you’re smoking!

MRS PEARSON: That’s right, dear. No law against it, is there?

DORIS: But I thought you didn’t smoke.

MRS PEARSON: Then you thought wrong.

Mrs. Pearson does not even look at Doris. She replies that she is not doing white washing on the ceiling. Doris asks her mother with surprise that she was smoking. Her mother agrees and say that it not against the law. Doris says the she knew that her mother did not smoke.

 

DORIS: Are we having tea in the kitchen?

MRS PEARSON: Have it where you like, dear.

DORIS: [angrily] Do you mean it isn’t ready?

MRS PEARSON: Yours isn’t. I’ve had all I want. Might go out later and get a square meal at the Clarendon.

Doris asks if they would tea in the kitchen. Mrs. Pearson replies that she can have wherever she wants. Doris asks does it mean that tea is not ready. Her mother replies that tea is not ready for Doris. Mrs. Pearson further says that she may go out of the house after some time to have dinner at hotel Clarendon.

 

DORIS: [hardly believing her ears] Who might?

MRS PEARSON: I might. Who d’you think?

DORIS: [staring at her] Mum—what’s the matter with you?

MRS PEARSON: Don’t be silly.

Word Meaning
Silly Fool

Doris cannot believe what she heard. Mrs. Pearson confirms that she may go out of the house. Doris stares at her mother and enquires if something is wrong with her. Mrs. Pearson advises Doris not to behave like a fool.

 

DORIS: [indignantly] It’s not me that’s being silly— and I must say it’s a bit much when I’ve been working hard all day and you can’t even bother to get my tea ready. Did you hear what I said about my yellow silk?

MRS PEARSON: No. Don’t you like it now? I never did.

Word Meaning
Indignantly Angrily

Doris angrily says that she is not behaving like a fool. It is too much that when I come home after working, and you do not care to keep tea ready for me. Have you heard what I said about my yellow silk dress? Mrs. Pearson replies that she has not heard about it. She does not like that dress. She asks if Doris does not like the dress.

 

DORIS: [indignantly] Of course I like it. And I’m going to wear it tonight. So I want it ironed.

MRS PEARSON: Want it ironed? What d’you think it’s going to do—iron itself?

DORIS: No, you’re going to iron it for me… You always do.

Doris angrily says that she certainly likes that dress. She would wear it tonight. So she wants it be ironed. Mrs. Pearson replies that the dress will not iron by itself. . Doris replies that Mrs. Pearson should iron the dress because she always does.

 

MRS PEARSON: Well, this time I don’t. And don’t talk rubbish to me about working hard. I’ve a good idea how much you do, Doris Pearson. I put in twice the hours you do, and get no wages nor thanks for it. Why are you going to wear your yellow silk? Where are you going?

Word Meaning
Rubbish Foolish
Put in Devotes, Works
Wages Salary

Mrs. Pearson says that this time she will not iron the dress. She advises Doris to not to talk foolish things like working hard. She knows how hard Doris works. She works for double the hours Doris works. And she does not get any salary for working. Mrs. Pearson asks Doris why she wants to wear yellow silk dress. Where she wants to go.

 

DORIS: [sulkily] Out with Charlie Spence.

MRS PEARSON: Why?

DORIS: [wildly] Why? Why? What’s the matter with you? Why shouldn’t I go out with Charlie Spence if he asks me and I want to? Any objections? Go on—you might as well tell me…

Word Meaning
Sulkily With annoyance, Unpleasantly
Go on Continue
Wildly With lot of anger

In an unpleasant manner Doris replies that she is going out with Charlie Spence. Probably Charlie is her boyfriend. Mrs. Pearson asks her why she is going. Doris becomes very angry. She asks what problem Mrs. Pearson is having. If he asks me and I want to go with him, I will go. You should not object. You may continue to say whatever you want to.

 

MRS PEARSON: [severely] Can’t you find anybody better? I wouldn’t be seen dead with Charlie Spence. Buck teeth and half-witted…

DORIS: He isn’t…

MRS PEARSON: When I was your age I’d have found somebody better than Charlie Spence—or given myself up as a bad job.

DORIS: [nearly in tears] Oh—shut up!

Word Meaning
Severely Harshly,
Buck teeth Projected upper teeth
Half witted Unintelligent, Stupid
Give up as a bad job Stop making efforts

Mrs. Pearson harshly says that Doris should find somebody better that Charlie. Even my dead body will not go with Charlie. His upper teeth are projecting outside his mouth. He is not intelligent.

Doris denies these statements. Mrs. Pearson says that at the age of Doris, she would find somebody better that Charlie. And if she could not find then she would stop making any efforts. She wants to say she will never become friend of Charlie.

Doris is about to cry. She asks her mother to keep quiet.

 

[Doris runs out left. Mrs Pearson chuckles and begins putting the cards together. After a moment Cyril Pearson enters left. He is the masculine counterpart of Doris.]

Word Meaning
Chuckle Laugh without making sound

Doris goes out of the room from left door. Mrs. Pearson laughs but does not make any sound. She starts collecting cards from the table. After some time Cyril Pearson enters the room. He is brother of Doris.

 

CYRIL: [briskly] Hello—Mum. Tea ready?

MRS PEARSON: No.

CYRIL: [moving to the table; annoyed] Why not?

MRS PEARSON: [coolly] I couldn’t bother.

CYRIL: Feeling off-colour or something?

MRS PEARSON: Never felt better in my life.

Word Meaning
Briskly Quickly
Off-colour In a bad mood

Quickly Cyril says hello to her mom and asks if the tea is ready. Mrs. Persons replies it is not ready. Cyril is annoyed and asks why teas is not ready. Mrs. Pearson says she did not want to prepare tea. Cyril asks why she is in a bad mood. Mrs. Pearson says that it her best mood.

 

CYRIL: [aggressively] What’s the idea then?

MRS PEARSON: Just a change.

CYRIL: [briskly] Well, snap out of it, Ma—and get cracking. Haven’t too much time.

[Cyril is about to go when Mrs Pearson’s voice checks him.]

Word Meaning
Aggressively Forcefully, With hostility
Snap out of it Come out of it, Stop doing it
Get cracking Start working
Checks him Stops him

Forcefully Cyril asks the reason of such behaviour . Mrs. Pearson says it is just for a change. Quickly Cyril asks to stop doing that and to start working. He says that he does not have much time.

Cyril is about to go out but stops after listening to the voice of his mother.

 

MRS PEARSON: I’ve plenty of time.

CYRIL: Yes, but I haven’t. Got a busy night tonight. [moving left to the door] Did you put my things out?

MRS PEARSON: [coolly] Can’t remember. But I doubt it.

Word Meaning
Put my thing out Bring clothes out of box or cupboard

Mrs. Pearson declares that she has lot of time.Cyril says that he does not have much time. He is busy during the night. He asks if she has taken out his clothes. Calmly she says I do not remember. Probably I have not done.

 

CYRIL: [moving to the table; protesting] Now—look. When I asked you this morning, you promised. You said you’d have to look through ‘em first in case there was any mending.

MRS PEARSON: Yes—well now I’ve decided I don’t like mending.

CYRIL: That’s a nice way to talk—what would happen if we all talked like that?

Word Meaning
Protesting Objecting
Mending Repairing

Cyril comes near the table. In a tone of objection he says that in the morning she had agreed to do it. She had also said that she would check if any repairing was to be done in those clothes.

Mrs. Pearson says that now she has decided that she does like repairing clothes.

Cyril says that it is not the right way of talking. What will happen if we all start talking this way?

 

MRS PEARSON: You all do talk like that. If there’s something at home you don’t want to do, you don’t do it. If it’s something at your work, you get the Union to bar it. Now all that’s happened is that I’ve joined the movement.

Word Meaning
Bar To stop
Movement Action

Mrs. Pearson says that you all talk like that. If you do not want to do anything at home, you do not do it. If you do not want to do anything in the office, you take help of Union to stop that work. Now I have also started taking such actions.

 

CYRIL: [staggered] I don’t get this, Mum. What’s going on?

MRS PEARSON: [laconic and sinister] Changes.

[Doris enters left. She is in the process of dressing and is now wearing a wrap. She looks pale and red-eyed.]

Word Meaning
Staggered Unsteady
Laconic Brief, Speaking less
Sinister Wicked, Clever
Wrap A loose outer garment

Unsteadily Cyril asks his mother that he has not understood her behaviour. He asks what is happening. In very few words and cleverly she replies – change.

Doris enter from left of the room. She is getting ready. She is wearing a cover on her body. She is looking yellowish and her eyes are red.

 

MRS PEARSON: You look terrible. I wouldn’t wear that face even for Charlie Spence.

DORIS: [moving above the table; angrily] Oh—shut up about Charlie Spence. And anyhow I’m not ready yet—just dressing. And if I do look terrible, it’s your fault—you made me cry.

CYRIL: [curious] Why—what did she do?

DORIS: Never you mind.

Word Meaning
Wear that face Show emotions on the face, Expression
Never you mind You should not bother about it

Mrs. Pearson told Doris that she was looking unpleasant. She would not have that type of expressions even for Charlie Spence.

Doris come near the table and speaks angrily. She advises her mother to not to talk about Charlie. I am not yet ready. I am wearing my clothes. I cried because of you so I am looking bad.

Cyril wants to know what their mother had done. Doris tells Cyril not to bother about it.

 

MRS PEARSON: [rising and preparing to move to the kitchen] Have we any stout left? I can’t remember.

CYRIL: Bottle or two, I think. But you don’t want stout now.

MRS PEARSON: [moving left slowly] I do.

CYRIL: What for?

MRS PEARSON: [turning at the door] To drink—you clot!

Word Meaning
Stout A kind of beer
Clot Fool, Idiot

Mrs. Pearson gets up from her chair and starts going towards kitchen. She asks if some beer is available in the kitchen. She is not able to recollect. Cyril replies that one or two bottles may be available. He asks why she is asking about beer. Mrs Pearson looks back from the kitchen door and says it for drinking, you fool.

 

[Mrs Pearson exits right. Instantly Cyril and Doris are in a huddle, close together at left centre, rapidly whispering.]

DORIS: Has she been like that with you, too?

CYRIL: Yes—no tea ready—couldn’t care less…

DORIS: Well, I’m glad it’s both of us. I thought I’d done something wrong.

CYRIL: So did I. But it’s her of course…

Word Meaning
Instantly Immediately, At once
Huddle Come near

Mrs. Pearson goes out from the right door. Immediately Doris and Cyril come together and start talking quickly but in low voice.

They both confirm to each other that their mother had behaved differently to each of them. Doris says she thought that she had done something wrong. Cyril also thought so. But now he thinks that his mother is behaving differently.

 

DORIS: She was smoking and playing cards when I came in. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

CYRIL: I asked her if she was feeling off-colour and she said she wasn’t.

DORIS: Well, she’s suddenly all different. An’ that’s what made me cry. It wasn’t what she said but the way she said it—an’ the way she looked.

Doris confirms that when she come into the house mother was smoking and playing cards. I could not believe that.

Cyril says that he had asked if her mood was off. But she denied it.

Doris says that suddenly mother is a different personality. I cried because of that. It was not because of what she said. But I cried because she said in a bad way and she was looking bad.

 

CYRIL: Haven’t noticed that. She looks just the same to me.

DORIS: She doesn’t to me. Do you think she could have hit her head or something—y’know— an’ got—what is it?—y’know…

CYRIL: [staggered] Do you mean she’s barmy?

DORIS: No, you fathead. Y’know—concussion. She might have.

CYRIL: Sounds far-fetched.

Word Meaning
Barmy Mad, Crazy, Silly
Concussion Temporary damage to brain,
Far fetched Unlikely, Doubtful

Cyril says he has not noticed any difference in his mom. She looks same to him.

Doris thinks that mother is behaving as if she has been hit on her head. Cyril asks if Doris thinks that mother has become mad.

Doris think that she is having concussions – a temporary damage to brain. Cyril thinks it is unlikely.

 

DORIS: Well, she’s far-fetched, if you ask me. [She suddenly begins to giggle.]

CYRIL: Now then—what is it?

DORIS: If she’s going to be like this when Dad comes home… [She giggles again.]

CYRIL: [beginning to guffaw] I’m staying in for that—two front dress circles for the first house…

Word Meaning
Giggle Laugh in a low voice
Guffaw A loud laugh
Front dress circle for the first house Front row ticket for the first show of act

Doris says that behaviour of mother is very different and unexpected. Suddenly she starts laughing in a low voice. She wonders what will be the scene in house when their father comes home.

Cyril starts laughing loudly. He decides to stay at home. He thinks it would be as exciting as watching first show of an act or a movie.

 

[Mrs Pearson enters right, carrying a bottle of stout and a half filled glass. Cyril and Doris try to stop their guffawing and giggling, but they are not quick enough. Mrs Pearson regards them with contempt.]

MRS PEARSON: [coldly] You two are always talking about being grown-up—why don’t you both try for once to be your age? [She moves to the settee and sits.]

Word Meaning
Regards Considers, Looks at
Contempt Insult

Mrs. Pearson enters from the right side door. She is carrying a bottle of beer and a glass that is half filled. Cyril and Doris try  to control their laugh but they could not. Mrs. Pearson treats them insultingly.

Mrs Pearson tells them that they both always say they are grown up kids. They should try to behave according to their age. She is trying to tell them they are kids. She moves to settee and sits on it.

 

CYRIL: Can’t we laugh now?

MRS PEARSON: Yes, if it’s funny. Go on, tell me. Make me laugh. I could do with it.

DORIS: Y’know you never understand our jokes, Mum…

MRS PEARSON: I was yawning at your jokes before you were born, Doris.

DORIS: [almost tearful again] What’s making you talk like this? What have we done?

Cyril asks his mother if they cannot even laugh. Mrs. Pearson replied that they should laugh if something was funny. She ask them to make her laugh.

Doris says that mother could never understand their jokes.

Mrs. Pearson replies that she felt sleepy after listening to jokes of Doris.

Doris is once again about to cry. She asks her mom what wrong they have done. Why she is behaving with them in that manner.

 

MRS PEARSON: [promptly] Nothing but come in, ask for something, go out again, then come back when there’s nowhere else to go.

CYRIL: [aggressively] Look—if you won’t get tea ready, then I’ll find something to eat myself…

MRS PEARSON: Why not? Help yourself. [She takes a sip of stout.]

CYRIL: [turning on his way to the kitchen] Mind you, I think it’s a bit thick. I’ve been working all day.

Word Meaning
Promptly Immediately
A bit thick Unfair

Mrs. Pearson says that they come to the house, ask for something and again go out. You come back again when you do not want to go anywhere else.

Cyril says to his mother that she has not prepared tea so he will go to kitchen and eat something.

Mrs. Pearson says that he should help himself. She keeps drinking beer.

Cyril says that mother should realise that it is very unfair to ask him to do work. Because he has been working through out the day.

 

DORIS: Same here.

MRS PEARSON: (calmly) Eight hour day!

CYRIL: Yes—eight hour day—an’ don’t forget it.

MRS PEARSON: I’ve done my eight hours.

CYRIL: That’s different.

DORIS: Of course it is.

Doris says that she also feels the way Cyril is feeling. Mrs. Pearson says that they have worked for eight hours. She has also completed eight hours of working. Cyril and Doris say that her working is different.

 

MRS PEARSON: [calmly] It was. Now it isn’t. Forty-hour week for all now. Just watch it at the weekend when I have my two days off.

[Doris and Cyril exchange alarmed glances. Then they stare at Mrs Pearson who returns their look calmly.]

Word Meaning
Alarmed Surprised, Warned

Mrs. Pearson says that it used to be different. Now it will be same for all . 48 hours work per week. At the weekend I will take two days off – Saturday and Sunday I will not work.

[Doris and Cyril look at each other with surprise. Then they look at their mother. Mother is calmly looks at them.]

 

CYRIL: Must grab something to eat. Looks as if I’ll need to keep my strength up. [Cyril exits to the kitchen.]

DORIS: [moving to the settee; anxiously] Mummy, you don’t mean you’re not going to do anything on Saturday and Sunday?

Cyril now wants to find something to eat to keep himself strong. He goes to kitchen.

Doris comes near settee. She is very anxious. She asks if mother would really not do any work on Saturday and Sunday.

MRS PEARSON: [airily] No, I wouldn’t go that far. I might make a bed or two and do a bit of cooking as a favour. Which means, of course, I’ll have to be asked very nicely and thanked for everything and generally made a fuss of. But any of you forty-hour-a-weekers who expect to be waited on hand and foot on Saturday and Sunday, with no thanks for it, are in for a nasty disappointment. Might go off for the week-end perhaps.

Word Meaning
Airily Casually
I would not go that far I will not do to that extent
Made a fuss of Gave lot of attention
Waited on hand and foot Serve somebody, Do everything for someone
Nasty Unpleasant

Mrs Pearson calmly says that she will not go to that extent. She may take care of beds. She may even do cooking as a favour. Others will need to make a request to her and be thankful to her for whatever she does. They will need to pay a lot of attention to her. But any of you who believe in working for 48 hours in a week, should not expect that everything will be done for them. If you have such expectations, you might have an unpleasant surprise. I may not work during week-end.

 

DORIS: [aghast] Go off for the week-end?

MRS PEARSON: Why not? I could do with a change. Stuck here day after day, week after week. If I don’t need a change, who does?

DORIS: But where would you go, who would you go with?

Word Meaning
Aghast Shocked, Astounded, Greatly surprised

Doris is shocked to listen that her mother may take leave during week end days.

Mrs. Pearson says it would be a good change for herself. I have remained in the house for many days and weeks. I surely need a change.

Doris asks where she will go. With whom shall she go?

 

MRS PEARSON: That’s my business. You don’t ask me where you should go and who you should go with, do you?

DORIS: That’s different.

MRS PEARSON: The only difference is that I’m a lot older and better able to look after myself, so it’s you who should do the asking.

Word Meaning
That is my business That is my decision

Mrs. Pearson replies that she will decide on her own. Doris should not ask her such question because Doris never consults her mother. Doris says it is a different aspect.

Mrs. Pearson says that the only difference is that she is older. Therefore she can take better care of herself. So Doris should ask only about herself.

 

DORIS: Did you fall or hit yourself with something?

MRS PEARSON: [coldly] No. But I’ll hit you with something, girl, if you don’t stop asking silly questions. [Doris stares at her open-mouthed, ready to cry.]

DORIS: Oh—this is awful… [She begins to cry, not passionately.]

Doris asks if mother had fallen down or she hit herself with something.

Mrs. Pearson calmly replies – no. But if you ask me such a foolish question again, I will hit you with something. Doris stares at her mother. Her mouth is open. She is  about to start crying.

Doris says these words are really very bad. She starts crying. She is not crying loudly.

 

MRS PEARSON: [coldly] Stop blubbering. You’re not a baby. If you’re old enough to go out with Charlie Spence, you’re old enough to behave properly. Now stop it.

Word Meaning
Blubbering Crying

Mrs. Pearson calmly advises Doris to stop crying. You are not a kid. If you think you have grown up to be a friend of Charlie Spence, you should behave properly. She tells Doris to stop crying.

 

[George Pearson enters left. He is about fifty, fundamentally decent but solemn, self-important, pompous. Preferably he should be a heavy, slow-moving type. He notices Doris’s tears.]

Word Meaning
Solemn Formal, Dignified
Pompous Arrogant, Proud

George Pearson enters from left side of the room. His age is about 50. Basically he looks to be a nice person and a formal, proud person. He looks fat, a person who walks slowly. He sees that Doris is crying.

 

GEORGE: Hello—what’s this? Can’t be anything to cry about.

DORIS: [through sobs] You’ll see.

[Doris runs out left with a sob or two on the way. George stares after her a moment, then looks at Mrs Pearson.]

George asks Doris why she is crying. Doris replies that he will himself come to know.

[Doris goes out from the left side while crying. George looks at Doris then he looks at her wife Mrs. Pearson]

 

GEORGE: Did she say ‘You’ll see’…?

MRS PEARSON: Yes.

GEORGE: What did she mean?

MRS PEARSON: Better ask her.

[George looks slowly again at the door then at Mrs Pearson. Then he notices the stout that Mrs Pearson raises for another sip. His eyes almost bulge.]

Word Meaning
Sip Swig
Bulge Become large

George asks his wife if Doris said that I will come to know. Mrs. Pearson says yes. He wants to know its meaning. His wife advises to ask Doris.

[George notices that his wife is drinking beer. Mrs. Pearson raises the glass for another swig. George is surprised. His eyes become wide]

 

GEORGE: Stout?

MRS PEARSON: Yes.

GEORGE: [amazed] What are you drinking stout for?

MRS PEARSON: Because I fancied some.

GEORGE: At this time of day?

MRS PEARSON: Yes—what’s wrong with it at this time of day?

George asks why Mrs. Pearson is drinking beer. She replies that she likes drinking bear. George asks why she is drinking at this time of the day. His wife questions what is wrong about this time.

 

GEORGE: [bewildered] Nothing, I suppose, Annie— but I’ve never seen you do it before…

MRS PEARSON: Well, you’re seeing me now.

GEORGE: [with heavy distaste] Yes, an’ I don’t like it. It doesn’t look right. I’m surprised at you.

MRS PEARSON: Well, that ought to be a nice change for you.

GEORGE: What do you mean?

MRS PEARSON: It must be some time since you were surprised at me, George.

Word Meaning
Bewildered Greatly surprised, Astounded
Distaste Dislike

George is greatly surprised. He addresses his wife as Annie. He says he had never seen her drinking beer. Mrs. Pearson replies that now he has seen her drinking.

He tells with lot of disliking that he does not like that she is drinking beer. I am surprised.

His wife says it should be a good change for him. She explains that after a long time he is getting surprised by her.

 

GEORGE: I don’t like surprises—I’m all for a steady going on—you ought to know that by this time. By the way, I forgot to tell you this morning I wouldn’t want any tea. Special snooker match night at the club tonight— an’ a bit of supper going. So no tea.

Word Meaning
Steady Stable, Fixed
Snooker A type of game

George says that he does not like surprises. He likes a stable and fixed routine. She should have known about it by now. In the morning I forgot to tell you that I will not have tea. Tonight there is a special snooker match in the club. I will have dinner there. So I will not have tea.

 

MRS PEARSON: That’s all right. There isn’t any.

GEORGE: [astonished] You mean you didn’t get any ready?

MRS PEARSON: Yes. And a good thing, too, as it’s turned out.

GEORGE: [aggrieved] That’s all very well, but suppose I’d wanted some?

Word Meaning
Astonished Surprised
Aggrieved Became angry, Upset

Mrs Pearson informs that tea is not ready. George is surprised. He asks does it mean that she did not make tea. Mrs. Pearson says it was good that she did not make tea. George is upset. He asks suppose he wanted to have tea.

 

MRS PEARSON: My goodness! Listen to the man! Annoyed because I don’t get a tea for him that he doesn’t even want. Ever tried that at the club?

GEORGE: Tried what at the club?

MRS PEARSON: Going up to the bar and telling ’em you don’t want a glass of beer but you’re annoyed because they haven’t already poured it out. Try that on them and see what you get.

Word Meaning
My goodness A phrase for exclamation

Mrs Pearson is surprised. She say this person is annoyed because I did not make tea for him. But he did not want to have tea. She advises him to try such talk at the club.

George did not understand. So Mrs. Pearson explains. He should go the bar and tell that he does not want to have a beer. But be angry because the person at bar has not poured beer for him. What would the barman think about you.

 

GEORGE: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

MRS PEARSON: They’d laugh at you even more than they do now.

GEORGE: [indignantly] Laugh at me? They don’t laugh at me.

Word Meaning
Indignantly Angrily

George says that he has not understood what she is taking. Mrs. Pearson says that people in the bar will laugh at you more. George says that people at bar do not laugh at me.

 

MRS PEARSON: Of course they do. You ought to have found that out by this time. Anybody else would have done. You’re one of their standing jokes. Famous. They call you Pompy-ompy Pearson because they think you’re so slow and pompous.

GEORGE: [horrified] Never!

Word Meaning
Standing joke Permanent joker
Pompy-ompy Fatty and slow

Mrs. Pearson says that they certainly laugh at George. You should have noticed this by now. You are their one of the permanent jokers. They call you fatty and slow Pearson. Because they think you are slow and fat.

 

MRS PEARSON: It’s always beaten me why you should want to spend so much time at a place where they’re always laughing at you behind your back and calling you names. Leaving your wife at home, night after night. Instead of going out with her, who doesn’t make you look a fool…

Word Meaning
It has always beaten me I could never understand
Call someone names Insult someone

I could never understand why you should be at club for such a long time. They always laugh at you behind your back. They insult you. Every night you leave your wife at home. You should go to club with your wife because she does not make you a fool.

 

GEORGE: Here, Cyril, you’ve been with me to the club once or twice. They don’t laugh at me and call me Pompy-ompy Pearson, do they? [Cyril, embarrassed, hesitates.] [Angrily] Go on—tell me. Do they?

Word Meaning
Embarrassed Felt shy

George call Cyril and tells him that many times they had gone to the club together. Do they call me Pomy-omphy Pearson? Cyril is feeling shy. He hesitates. George angrily asks Cyril to reply.

 

CYRIL: [embarrassed] Well—yes, Dad, I’m afraid they do. [George slowly looks from one to the other, staggered.]

GEORGE: [slowly] Well—I’ll be—damned!

[George exits left, slowly, almost as if somebody had hit him over the head. Cyril, after watching him go, turns indignantly to Mrs Pearson.]

Cyril shyly tells his father that people at club do call him Pomy-omphy Pearson. George looks to other side. He is unsteady. George is feeling sorry about himself.

[George slowly leaves the room from left side. It looks as if somebody has hit him on his head. Cyril watches his dad. Then he angrily looks at his mother.]

 

CYRIL: Now you shouldn’t have told him that, Mum. That’s not fair. You’ve hurt his feelings. Mine, too.

MRS PEARSON: Sometimes it does people good to have their feelings hurt. The truth oughtn’t to hurt anybody for long. If your father didn’t go to the club so often, perhaps they’d stop laughing at him.

CYRIL: [gloomily] I doubt it.

Cyril tells his mother it was not good to tell these things to father. Feelings of father and mine both are hurt.

Mrs. Pearson says sometimes it is good for the people to hurt their feelings. They should know the truth. If your father does not go to club so often, they would probably stop laughing at him. Cyril expresses his doubt about it.

 

MRS PEARSON: [severely] Possibly you do, but what I doubt is whether your opinion’s worth having. What do you know? Nothing. You spend too much time and good money at greyhound races and dirt tracks and ice shows…

CYRIL: [sulkily] Well, what if I do? I’ve got to enjoy myself somehow, haven’t I?

Word Meaning
Severely Harshly
Greyhound A breed of dog

Mrs Pearson harshly tells Cyril that he may have doubts. But she thinks nobody is bothered about his opinion. You do not know anything. You spend so much of time and money on watching race of greyhound dogs, on dirty tracks and on ice shows.

In an unpleasant tone Cyril replies that he needs to find some method of enjoyment.

 

MRS PEARSON: I wouldn’t mind so much if you were really enjoying yourself. But are you? And where’s it getting you? [There is a sharp hurried knocking heard off left.]

Mrs. Pearson says she will not be worried if Cyril was really enjoying. She thinks he is not enjoying. Is it helping you to progress in your life.

[The sound of a loud and repeated knock is heard on the left side door.]

 

CYRIL: Might be for me. I’ll see.

[Cyril hurries out left. In a moment he re-enters, closing the door behind him.]

It’s that silly old bag from next door—Mrs Fitzgerald. You don’t want her here, do you?

Cyril says that somebody might have come to meet him.

[He goes to door in a hurry. He comes back and closes the door behind him]

He says it was the unpleasant old lady from our neighbourhood – Mrs Fitzgerald. I think you do not want her to come here.

 

MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Certainly I do. Ask her in. And don’t call her a silly old bag either. She’s a very nice woman, with a lot more sense than you’ll ever have.

Mrs. Pearson quickly replies that she wants to meet Mrs. Fitzgerald. She asks Cyril to bring her in. Do not call her an unpleasant woman. She is very nice woman. She has more wisdom than you can ever have.

 

[Cyril exits left. Mrs Pearson finishes her stout, smacking her lips. Cyril re-enters left, ushering in Mrs Fitzgerald, who hesitates in the doorway.]

Come in, come in, Mrs Fitzgerald.

Word Meaning
Smacking Making sound from lips
Ushers in Escorts in

[Cyril goes out from left door. Mrs Pearson finishes her beer. She makes sound from her lips. Cyril comes back into the room. Mrs. Fitzgerald is with him. She hesitates and stops at the door way]

Mrs. Pearson request Mrs. Fitzgerald to come in.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [moving to left centre; anxiously] I—just wondered—if everything’s—all right…

CYRIL: [sulkily] No, it isn’t.

MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Of course it is. You be quiet.

CYRIL: [indignantly and loudly] Why should I be quiet?

MRS PEARSON: [shouting] Because I tell you to—you silly, spoilt, young piecan.

Word Meaning
Spoilt Having bad habits
Piecan A fool

Mrs Fitzgerald is anxious. She say that she is not sure if everything is all right. Cyril angrily say that it not all right. Mrs. Pearson harshly says that everything is all right. She asks Cyril to keep his mouth shut.

When Cyril objects Mrs. Pearson shouts at him. She asks him to obey his orders. She calls him an unintelligent young fool that has bad habits.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [protesting nervously] Oh—no— surely…

MRS PEARSON: [severely] Now, Mrs Fitzgerald, just let me manage my family in my own way—please!

MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—but Cyril…

CYRIL: [sulky and glowering] Mr Cyril Pearson to you, please, Mrs Fitzgerald. [Cyril stalks off into the kitchen.]

Word Meaning
Severely Harshly
Glowering Annoyed
Stalks off Walk angrily

Mrs. Fitzgerald nervously objects. Mrs. Pearson harshly tells Mrs. Fitzgerald to allow her to manage her family in her own style. Cyril is annoyed and angrily he walks towards kitchen.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [moving to the settee; whispering ] Oh— dear—what’s happening?

MRS PEARSON: [calmly] Nothing much. Just putting ‘em in their places, that’s all. Doing what you ought to have done long since.

MRS FITZGERALD: Is George home? [She sits beside Mrs Pearson on the settee.]

Word Meaning
Putting somebody in their place To tell people that they are not so important
Ought Should, Must
Beside Near

Mrs. Fitzgerald comes near the settee and murmurs to Pearson – what is happening. Mrs. Pearson replies that nothing big has happened. She is trying to prove that other people are not as good as they think. I am doing what you should have done long ago.

Mrs. Fitzgerald asks if George is in the house.

 

MRS PEARSON: Yes. I’ve been telling him what they think of him at the club.

MRS FITZGERALD: Well, they think a lot of him, don’t they?

MRS PEARSON: No, they don’t. And now he knows it.

MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] Oh—dear—I wish you hadn’t, Mrs Fitzgerald…

Word Meaning
Think a lot of someone Think good about someone

Mrs. Pearson tells him that she has told him what people at club think about him. Mrs. Fitzgerald says people must be thinking good about him. Mrs. Pearson replies that people do not think good about George. Now he also knows about it. Mrs. Fitzgerald says that she should not have told him.

 

MRS PEARSON: Nonsense! Doing ’em all a world of good. And they’ll be eating out of your hand soon— you’ll see…

MRS FITZGERALD: I don’t think I want them eating out of my hand…

MRS PEARSON: [impatiently] Well, whatever you want, they’ll be doing it—all three of ’em. Mark my words, Mrs Pearson.

Word Meaning
They will be eating out of your hand They will obey you
Mark my words Remember my words

Mrs. Pearson says to Mrs Fitzgerald that she is not saying right thing. My behaviour would be good for them. Very soon they will start obeying you. Mrs. Fitzgerald says that she does not want others to obey her. Mrs. Pearson says they will do whatever you want them to do. Remember my words.

 

[George enters left glumly. He is unpleasantly surprised when he sees the visitor. He moves to the armchair left, sits down heavily and glumly lights his pipe. Then he looks from Mrs Pearson to Mrs Fitzgerald, who is regarding him anxiously.]

Word Meaning
Glumly Depressed, Sad

George comes from left side. He is looking sad. He is surprised to see Mrs. Fitzgerald but he is not happy to see her. He sits in an armchair. He lights his pipe, he is looking sad. Then he looks at both ladies. Mrs. Fitzgerald is anxiously looking at him.

 

GEORGE: Just looked in for a minute, I suppose, Mrs Fitzgerald?

MRS FITZGERALD: [who doesn’t know what she is saying] Well—yes—I suppose so, George.

GEORGE: [aghast] George!

MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] Oh—I’m sorry…

Word Meaning
Look in Come, Make a short visit
Aghast Greatly surprised

George tells Mrs. Fitzgerald that probably she has come a minute before. Mrs. Fitzgerald says yes George. Now George is surprised. Mrs. Fitzgerald says sorry to him.

 

MRS PEARSON: [impatiently] What does it matter? Your name’s George, isn’t it? Who d’you think you are—Duke of Edinburgh?

GEORGE: [angrily] What’s he got to do with it? Just tell me that. And isn’t it bad enough without her calling me George? No tea. Pompy-ompy Pearson. And poor Doris has been crying her eyes out upstairs—yes, crying her eyes out.

Word Meaning
Crying her eyes out She is crying a lot

Mrs. Pearson impatiently says to George that it does not matter. Your name is George so she called you George, You are certainly not the Duke of Edinburgh.

Angrily George says that Duke of Edinburgh has nothing to do with my name. And it is bad that she (Mrs. Fitzgerald) is addressing me as George. At upstairs, helpless Doris is crying a lot.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [wailing] Oh— dear—I ought to have known…

GEORGE: [staring at her, annoyed] You ought to have known! Why ought you to have known? Nothing to do with you, Mrs Fitzgerald. Look—we’re at sixes and sevens here just now—so perhaps you’ll excuse us…

Word Meaning
Wailing Shouting as in pain
At sixes and sevens Confused, In difficult situation

Mrs. Fitzgerald painfully says that she should have known Doris is crying.

George is annoyed at this statement. He says why she should have known about it. This has no relation with her. Mrs. Fitzgerald we are in a difficult situation. So I request you to leave this place.

 

MRS PEARSON: [before Mrs Fitzgerald can reply] I won’t excuse you, George Pearson. Next time a friend and neighbour comes to see me, just say something when you see her—Good evening or How d’you do? or something— an’ don’t just march in an’ sit down without a word. It’s bad manners…

Before Mrs. Fitzgerald could reply, Mrs. Pearson started speaking. She told that she will not grant pardon to George. Next time when my friend comes, you should greet them by saying good evening or how do you do. You should not come into the room and sit without speaking anything. It is bad manners.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] No—it’s all right…

MRS PEARSON: No, it isn’t all right. We’ll have some decent manners in this house—or I’ll know the reason why. [glaring at George] Well?

GEORGE: [intimidated] Well, what!

Word Meaning
Intimidated Terrified

Mrs. Fitzgerald nervously says it is OK. (George not greeting her). Mrs. Pearson says that it is not correct. We should maintain good manners in the house. Or I should know the reason of not behaving correctly. She looks at George and says well! (She is challenging George.) George is now afraid.

 

MRS PEARSON: [taunting him] Why don’t you get off to your club? Special night tonight, isn’t it? They’ll be waiting for you—wanting to have a good laugh. Go on then. Don’t disappoint ’em.

Word Meaning
Taunting Insulting, Teasing, Saying sarcastically
Get off Go

Mrs. Pearson insultingly tells George to go to his club. It is special night there. People will be waiting to laugh at you. Please do not disappoint them.

GEORGE: [bitterly] That’s right. Make me look silly in front of her now! Go on—don’t mind me. Sixes and sevens! Poor Doris been crying her eyes out! Getting the neighbours in to see the fun! [suddenly losing his temper, glaring at Mrs Pearson, and shouting] All right—let her hear it. What’s the matter with you? Have you gone barmy—or what?

Word Meaning
Bitterly Harshly
Barmy Mad

George harshly tells Mrs. Pearson that now she is making him look foolish in front of Mrs. Fitzgerald. You can continue to do so, I will not bother about it. You are a difficult person. helpless Doris is crying. And you have invited neighbours to have fun. Suddenly he gets angry. He glares at his wife and start shouting at his wife. Let the guest also hear it. What is the problem with you? Have you become mad?

 

MRS PEARSON: [jumping up; savagely] If you shout at me again like that, George Pearson, I’ll slap your big, fat, silly face…

MRS FITZGERALD: [moaning] Oh—no—no—no—please, Mrs Fitzgerald… [Mrs Pearson sits.]

Word Meaning
Savagely Aggressively
Moaning Groaning,

Mrs. Pearson aggressively jumps up from her position. She tells her husband that if he shouts at her again, she will slap him on his face. Mrs. Fitzgerald starts groaning after listening these words.

 

GEORGE: [staring at her, bewildered] Either I’m off my chump or you two are. How d’you mean— “No, no—please, Mrs Fitzgerald”? Look— you’re Mrs Fitzgerald. So why are you telling yourself to stop when you’re not doing anything? Tell her to stop—then there’d be some sense in it. [Staring at Mrs Pearson] I think you must be tiddly.

Word Meaning
Bewildered Greatly surprised
Off one’s chump To be silly or mad
Tiddly Slightly drunk

George looks at his wife in amazement. He tells her that either he is silly or they both ladies are silly. But Mrs. Fitzgerald why are you telling yourself to stop. You have not done anything. If you ask Mrs. Pearson to stop talking in this manner it would be the right thing to do. He looks at his wife and says that she must be slightly drunk.

 

MRS PEARSON: [starting up; savagely] Say that again, George Pearson.

GEORGE: [intimidated] All right—all right—all right … [Doris enters left slowly, looking miserable. She is still wearing the wrap. Mrs Pearson sits on the settee.]

MRS FITZGERALD: Hello—Doris dear!

DORIS: [miserably] Hello—Mrs Fitzgerald!

Mrs. Pearson speaks aggressively and asks George to repeat what he has said. George gets frightened. He says it is all right.

[Doris enters the room. She is still wearing that outer cover garment. Mrs, Pearson is sitting on settee]

Mrs. Fitzgerald and Doris greet each other.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: I thought you were going out with Charlie Spence tonight.

DORIS: [annoyed] What’s that to do with you?

MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Stop that!

MRS FITZGERALD: [nervously] No—its all right…

Mrs. Fitzgerald asks Doris about her plan of going out with Charlie Spence on that night. Doris is annoyed and replies that Mrs. Fitzgerald should not be worried about it. Mrs. Pearson shouts at Doris but Mrs. Fitzgerald tries to pacify her.

 

MRS PEARSON: [severely] It isn’t all right. I won’t have a daughter of mine talking to anybody like that. Now answer Mrs Fitzgerald properly,

Doris: —or go upstairs again… [Doris looks wonderingly at her father.]

GEORGE: [in despair] Don’t look at me. I give it up. I just give it up.

Word Meaning
Wonderingly With a surprise, As if to ask approval
Despair Without hope
Give it up Stop making efforts, Accept defeat

Mrs. Pearson sharply says that it is not correct manners. My daughter should not talk to anybody like that. She orders Doris to answer to Mrs. Fitzgerald correctly.

Doris tells if she does not answer correctly she may have to go to upper floor. She looks to her father for support. George says that he has already accepted the situation.

 

MRS PEARSON: [fiercely] Well? Answer her.

DORIS: [sulkily] I was going out with Charlie Spence tonight—but now I’ve called it off…

MRS FITZGERALD: Oh—what a pity, dear! Why have you?

Word Meaning
Fiercely Aggressively,
Call off To cancel
What a pity It is so bad, It is so unfortunate

Mrs. Pearson orders Doris to answer to Mrs. Fitzgerald. Doris says that she had a plan to go with Charlie Spence but now she has cancelled it. Mrs. Fitzgerald says it is so bad. She asks why Doris cancelled the plan.

 

DORIS: [with a flash of temper] Because—if you must know—my mother’s been going on at memaking me feel miserable—an’ saying he’s got buck-teeth and is half-witted…

MRS FITZGERALD: [rather bolder; to Mrs Pearson] Oh—you shouldn’t have said that…

Word Meaning
Flash of temper Suddenly getting angry
Memaking Teaching good manners

Now Doris suddenly gets angry. Since you want to know I tell you that my mother has been trying to teach me manners. I felt very bad because of that. She said that teeth of Charlie are projected out of his mouth and he is half mad.

Mrs. Fitzgerald boldly advises Mrs. Pearson to not to say such words.

 

MRS PEARSON: [sharply] Mrs Fitzgerald, I’ll manage my family—you manage yours.

GEORGE: [grimly] Ticking her off now, are you, Annie?

MRS PEARSON: [even more grimly] They’re waiting for you at the club, George, don’t forget. And don’t you start crying again, Doris…

Word Meaning
Grimly Sadly
Ticking somebody off Making angry

Mrs. Pearson advises Mrs. Fitzgerald to manage her own family. She will manage her family herself. George says that now his wife is getting angry. Mrs. Pearson tells George to recall that people are waiting for him at the club. She advises Doris to stop crying.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [getting up; with sudden decision] That’s enough—quite enough.

[George and Doris stare at her bewildered.]

[to George and Doris] Now listen, you two. I want to have a private little talk with Mrs Fitz—[she corrects herself hastily] with Mrs Pearson, so I’ll be obliged if you’ll leave us alone for a few minutes. I’ll let you know when we’ve finished. Go on, please. I promise you that you won’t regret it. There’s something here that only I can deal with.

Mrs. Fitzgerald suddenly gets up says that enough has been talked about.

[George and Doris look at her with lot of surprise]

She tells George and Doris that she wants to have a separate discussion with Mrs. Pearson. So they should go away from the room for some time. I will tell you when we complete our discussion. I promise you that you will not repent going away from here. There is something that only I can correct.

 

GEORGE: [rising] I’m glad somebody can—’cos I can’t. Come on, Doris.

[George and Doris exit left. As they go Mrs Fitzgerald moves to left of the small table and sits. She eagerly beckons Mrs Pearson to do the same thing.]

Word Meaning
Savagely Aggressively
Moaning Groaning,
Becons Signals

George gets up from his seat. He says he is happy that somebody can correct the situation. Because he is not able to do it. He asks Doris to come with him.

[George and Doris go out of the room. Mrs. Fitzgerald goes towards the small table and sits there. She signals Mrs. Pearson to come there.]

 

MRS FITZGERALD: Mrs Fitzgerald, we must change back now— we really must…

MRS PEARSON: [rising] Why?

MRS FITZGERALD: Because this has gone far enough. I can see they’re all miserable—and I can’t bear it…

Mrs. Fitzgerald says to Mrs. Pearson that they should now change back to original personality. Mrs. Pearson asks why they should do it. Mrs. Fitzgerald explains that the situation has become really bad. They are all feeling bad. She cannot tolerate this situation.

 

MRS PEARSON: A bit more of the same would do ‘em good. Making a great difference already… [She moves to right of the table and sits.]

MRS FITZGERALD: No, I can’t stand any more of it—I really can’t. We must change back. Hurry up, please, Mrs Fitzgerald.

MRS PEARSON: Well—if you insist…

MRS FITZGERALD: Yes—I do—please—please.

[She stretches her hands across the table eagerly. Mrs Pearson takes them.]

Word Meaning
Cannot stand Cannot tolerate

Mrs. Pearson says that if we continue for some more time it will be good for them. It has already made a big difference in their behaviour.

Mrs. Fitzgerald say that she cannot tolerate condition of her family members. She wants to change to original personalities immediately. Mrs. Pearson agrees because she is insisting. They hold each other’s hands.

 

MRS PEARSON: Quiet now. Relax.

[Mrs Pearson and Mrs Fitzgerald stare at each other. Muttering; exactly as before. Arshtatta dum—arshtatta lam—arshtatta lamdumbona…

They carry out the same action as before, going lax and then coming to life. But this time, of course, they become their proper personalities.]

Mrs. Pearson asks Mrs. Fitzgerald to remain quiet and to relax.

[Mrs. Pearson utters the same mantra. The same sequence of events occur. Their body become loose and then they come back to life. But now they are their own original personality]

 

MRS FITZGERALD: Ah well—I enjoyed that.

MRS PEARSON: I didn’t.

MRS FITZGERALD: Well, you ought to have done. Now—listen, Mrs Pearson. Don’t go soft on ’em again, else it’ll all have been wasted…

MRS PEARSON: I’ll try not to, Mrs Fitzgerald.

Mrs. Fitzgerald had enjoyed the change while Mrs. Pearson did not. Mrs. Fitzgerald advises Mrs. Pearson to not to be lenient with her family members. Otherwise all effort will become waste. Mrs. Pearson assures her to make a try.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: They’ve not had as long as I’d like to have given ’em—another hour or two’s rough treatment might have made it certain…

MRS PEARSON: I’m sure they’ll do better now—though I don’t know how I’m going to explain…

MRS FITZGERALD: [severely] Don’t you start any explaining or apologising—or you’re done for.

Mrs. Fitzgerald says that they had not seen the change for long time. She wanted to give them the same rough treatment for about one or two hours more. Then their behaviour would have certainly changed.

Mrs. Pearson is certain that their behaviour would be better. But she is not sure how she will explain her own behaviour.

Mrs. Fitzgerald advises her not to explain anything or to say sorry. Otherwise she will be in trouble.

 

MRS PEARSON: [with spirit] It’s all right for you, Mrs Fitzgerald. After all, they aren’t your husband and children…

With lot of feeling, Mrs. Pearson says to Mrs. Fitzgerald that it is all right for her because it is not her family.

 

MRS FITZGERALD: [impressively] Now you listen to me. You admitted yourself you were spoiling ’em— and they didn’t appreciate you. Any apologies—any explanations—an’ you’ll be straight back where you were. I’m warning you, dear. Just give ’em a look—a tone of voice—now an’ again, to suggest you might be tough with ’em if you wanted to be—an’ it ought to work. Anyhow, we can test it.

Word Meaning
Now and again Frequently

Mrs. Fitzgerald draws attention of Mrs. Pearson and asks her to listen. You had accepted that that you were spoiling habits of your family members. They do not appreciate you. If you give any explanation to them or say sorry to them, you will return to the earlier condition. Look at them in a different manner, change the tone of your voice frequently. This will indicate to them that you can be tough with them whenever you want. This will be good for you. You can test it anytime.

 

MRS PEARSON: How?

MRS FITZGERALD: Well, what is it you’d like ’em to do that they don’t do? Stop at home for once?

MRS PEARSON: Yes—and give me a hand with supper…

MRS FITZGERALD: Anything you’d like ’em to do—that you enjoy whether they do or not?

Word Meaning
Give someone a hand To help someone

Mrs Pearson asks how she can test it. Mrs. Fitzgerald advises her to ask them to do what they do not want to do. Mrs. Pearson asks if they will help her in cooking dinner. Mrs. Fitzgerald says they will do anything you ask them to do. You should ask them to do what you enjoy most.

 

MRS PEARSON: [hesitating] Well—yes. I—like a nice game of rummy—but, of course, I hardly ever have one—except at Christmas…

MRS FITZGERALD: [getting up] That’ll do then. [She moves towards the door left then turns] But remember—keep firm—or you’ve had it. [She opens the door. Calling] Hoy! You can come in now. [Coming away from the door, and moving right slightly. Quietly] But remember—remember—a firm hand.

Mrs. Pearson says that she likes playing rummy. But she does not get an opportunity to play. She plays only on Christmas.

Mrs. Fitzgerald advises her to tell them to play rummy. She starts going towards the door. She advises Mrs. Pearson to remain strong otherwise she could have problems. While going out of the door she again advises her to be strong.

 

[George, Doris and Cyril file in through the doorway, looking apprehensively at Mrs Pearson.]

I’m just off. To let you enjoy yourself.

[The family looks anxiously at Mrs Pearson, who smiles. Much relieved, they smile back at her.]

Word Meaning
Apprehensively With a worry about what may happen
I am off I am going
Relieved Happy because something bad did not happen

[George, Doris and Cyril come in the room one after the other. They are looking at Mrs. Pearson with lot of worry.]

Mrs. Fitzgerald says she is going and asks all of them to be happy.

Mrs. Pearson smiles at her family. They all become relaxed and smile back at her.

 

DORIS: [anxiously] Yes, Mother?

MRS PEARSON: [smiling] Seeing that you don’t want to go out, I tell you what I thought we’d do.

MRS FITZGERALD: [giving a final warning] Remember!

MRS PEARSON: [nodding, then looking sharply at the family] No objections, I hope?

GEORGE: [humbly] No, Mother—whatever you say…

Doris anxiously greets her mother. Mrs. Pearson says that since they are not going out, she will tell them what to do. Mrs. Fitzgerald once again reminds her to remember the advice.

Mrs Pearson nods her head to Mrs. Fitzgerald. She looks at her family and says hopefully they will not have any objection. Politely George says they will do whatever they are told.

 

MRS PEARSON: [smiling] I thought we’d have a nice family game of rummy—and then you children could get the supper ready while I have a talk with your father…

GEORGE: [firmly] Suits me. [He looks challengingly at the children.] What about you two?

Mrs. Pearson smiles and tells them that together they all should play rummy. After that children should prepare dinner while she talks to George.

George says that this is suitable to him. Then he asks his children if that is suitable to them also.

 

CYRIL: [hastily] Yes—that’s all right.

DORIS: [hesitating] Well—I…

MRS PEARSON: [sharply] What? Speak up!

DORIS: [hastily] Oh—I think it would be lovely…

Cyril and Doris have some hesitation. Mrs. Pearson sharply asks them to express themselves. Quickly Doris says that it is a good plan.

 

MRS PEARSON: [smiling] Good-bye, Mrs Fitzgerald. Come again soon.

MRS FITZGERALD: Yes, dear. ’Night all—have a nice time.

[Mrs Fitzgerald exits left and the family cluster round Mother as— the curtain falls.]

Word Meaning
Cluster To assemble, To make a group

Mrs. Pearson smile at Mrs. Fitzgerald and requests her to visit them again. Mrs. Fitzgerald wishes her a nice time.

Mrs. Fitzgerald goes out from the left door. The family assembles around the mother. Curtain falls. The play ends.

****

 


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