Eliza smiles for the first time; expresses her feelings by a wild pantomime in which an imitation of Higgins’s exit is confused with her own triumph; and finally goes down on her knees on the hearthrug to look for the ring.
Mrs. Higgins’s drawing-room. She is at her writing-table as before. The parlor-maid comes in.
The parlor-maid [at the door] Mr. Henry, mam, is downstairs with Colonel Pickering.
Mrs. Higgins. Well, show them up.
The parlor-maid. They’re using the telephone, mam. Telephoning to the police, I think.
Mrs. Higgins. What!
The parlor-maid [coming further in
and lowering her voice] Mr.
Henry’s in a state, mam. I thought I’d better tell you.
Mrs. Higgins. If you had told me that Mr. Henry was not in a state it would have been more surprising. Tell them to come up when they’ve finished with the police. I suppose he’s lost something.
The parlor-maid. Yes, mam [going].
Mrs. Higgins. Go upstairs and tell Miss Doolittle that Mr. Henry and the Colonel are here. Ask her not to come down till I send for her.
The parlor-maid. Yes, mam.
Higgins bursts in. He is, as the parlor-maid has said, in a state.
Higgins. Look here, mother: here’s a confounded thing!
Mrs. Higgins. Yes, dear. Good-morning. [He checks his impatience and kisses her, whilst the parlor-maid goes out]. What is it?
Higgins. Eliza’s bolted.
Mrs. Higgins [calmly continuing her writing] You must have frightened her.
Higgins. Frightened her! nonsense! She was left last night, as usual, to turn out the lights and all that; and instead of going to bed she changed her clothes and went right off: her bed wasn’t slept in. She came in a cab for her things before seven this morning; and that fool Mrs. Pearce let her have them without telling me a word about it. What am I to do?
Mrs. Higgins. Do without, I’m afraid, Henry. The girl has a perfect right to leave if she chooses.
Higgins [wandering distractedly across the room] But I can’t find anything. I don’t know what appointments I’ve got. I’m— [Pickering comes in. Mrs. Higgins puts down her pen and turns away from the writing-table].
Pickering [shaking hands] Good-morning, Mrs. Higgins. Has Henry told you? [He sits down on the ottoman].
Higgins. What does that ass of an inspector say? Have you offered a reward?
Mrs. Higgins [rising in indignant amazement] You don’t mean to say you have set the police after Eliza?
Higgins. Of course. What are the police for? What else could we do? [He sits in the Elizabethan chair].