Higgins. Oh, chuck them over the bannisters into the hall. She’ll find them there in the morning and put them away all right. She’ll think we were drunk.
Pickering. We are, slightly. Are there any letters?
Higgins. I didn’t look. [Pickering takes the overcoats and hats and goes down stairs. Higgins begins half singing half yawning an air from La Fanciulla del Golden West. Suddenly he stops and exclaims] I wonder where the devil my slippers are!
Eliza looks at him darkly; then leaves the room.
Higgins yawns again, and resumes his song. Pickering returns, with the contents of the letter-box in his hand.
Pickering. Only circulars, and this coroneted billet-doux for you. [He throws the circulars into the fender, and posts himself on the hearthrug, with his back to the grate].
Higgins [glancing at the billet-doux] Money-lender. [He throws the letter after the circulars].
Eliza returns with a pair of large down-at-heel slippers. She places them on the carpet before Higgins, and sits as before without a word.
Higgins [yawning again] Oh Lord! What an evening! What a crew! What a silly tomfoollery! [He raises his shoe to unlace it, and catches sight of the slippers. He stops unlacing and looks at them as if they had appeared there of their own accord]. Oh! they’re there, are they?
Pickering [stretching himself] 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?
Higgins [fervently] Thank God it’s over!
Eliza flinches violently; but they take no notice of her; and she recovers herself and sits stonily as before.
Pickering. Were you nervous at the garden party? I was. Eliza didn’t seem a bit nervous.
Higgins. Oh, she wasn’t nervous. I knew she’d be all right. No, it’s the strain of putting the job through all these months that has told on me. 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.
Pickering. Oh come! the garden party was frightfully exciting. My heart began beating like anything.
Higgins. Yes, for the first three minutes. But when I saw we were going to win hands down, I felt like a bear in a cage, hanging about doing nothing. The dinner was worse: sitting gorging there for over an hour, with nobody but a damned fool of a fashionable woman to talk to! I tell you, Pickering, never again for me. No more artificial duchesses. The whole thing has been simple purgatory.