A monologue from the play by J. M. Barrie

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from What Every Woman Knows. J.M. Barrie. New York: Scribners, 1921.
  • CHARLES: Your husband has been writing the speech here, and by his own wish he read it to me three days ago. The occasion is to be an important one; and, well, there are a dozen young men in the party at present, all capable of filling a certain small ministerial post. And as he is one of them I was anxious that he should show in this speech of what he is capable. It is a powerful, well-thought-out piece of work, such as only a very able man could produce. But it has no special quality of its own -- none of the little touches that used to make an old stager like myself want to pat Shand on the shoulder. He pounds on manfully enough, but, if I may say so, with a wooden leg. It is as good, I dare say, as the rest of them could have done; but they start with such inherited advantages, Mrs. Shand, that he had to do better. I am sorry, Mrs. Shand, for he interested me. His career has set me wondering whether if I had begun as a railway porter I might not still be calling out, "By your leave."