Smash it. Dont hesitate: it's an ugly

Lord Summerhays


See more monologues from George Bernard Shaw


Age Range
Act 1
Time & Place
England, 1900s
Time Period
Show Type

Monologue Context

Johnny has just been wound up by his sister's fiance, Bentley, and he is absolutely

Monologue Text

Smash it. Dont hesitate: it's an ugly thing. Smash it: hard. [Johnny, with a stifled yell, dashes it in pieces, and then sits down and mops his brow]. Feel better now? [Johnny nods]. I know only one person alive who could drive me to the point of having either to break china or commit murder; and that person is my son Bentley. Was it he? [Johnny nods again, not yet able to speak]. As the car stopped I heard a yell which is only too familiar to me. It generally means that some infuriated person is trying to thrash Bentley. Nobody has ever succeeded, though almost everybody has tried. [He seats himself comfortably close to the writing table, and sets to work to collect the fragments of the punchbowl in the wastepaper basket whilst Johnny, with diminishing difficulty, collects himself]. Bentley is a problem which I confess I have never been able to solve. He was born to be a great success at the age of fifty. Most Englishmen of his class seem to be born to be great successes at the age of twenty-four at most. The domestic problem for me is how to endure Bentley until he is fifty. The problem for the nation is how to get itself governed by men whose growth is arrested when they are little more than college lads. Bentley doesnt really mean to be offensive. You can always make him cry by telling him you dont like him. Only, he cries so loud that the experiment should be made in the open air: in the middle of Salisbury Plain if possible. He has a hard and penetrating intellect and a remarkable power of looking facts in the face; but unfortunately, being very young, he has no idea of how very little of that sort of thing most of us can stand. On the other hand, he is frightfully sensitive and even affectionate; so that he probably gets as much as he gives in the way of hurt feelings. You'll excuse me rambling on like this about my son.