Poor Esther ! nice market she's brought...

Caste

Eccles

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Poor Esther ! nice market she's brought her pigs to. Ugh ! Mind the baby indeed ; what good is he to me ? That fool of a girl to throw away all her chances — a honorabless—and her father not to have on him the price of a pint of early beer or a quartern of cool refreshing gin ; stopping in here to rock a young honorable. (Up to cradle and looks in.) Cuss him ! (Rocks cradle.) Are we slaves, we working men? (Sings savagely.)

Britons never, never, never shall be

(Dashes pipe into fireplace, and going down, sits at end of table, L. of it; nods his head sagaciously ; hands in his trousers pockets.)

However, I won't stand this much longer; I've writ to the old cat, I mean to the Marquissy, to tell her that her daughter-in-law and her grandson is almost starving. That fool Esther, too proud to write to her for money. I hate pride, it's beastly! (Rises.) There's no beastly pride about me. (Goes up r. of table, smacking his lips.) I'm as dry as a lime kiln. (Crosses to mantelpiece and takes up dram bottle.) Empty. (Replaces it ; takes up fug from table.) Milk. (With disgust.) For this young aristocratic pauper; everybody in the house is sacrificed for him. (At foot of cradle, with hands on chair back.) And to think that a working man, and a member of the Committee of the Banded Brothers for the regeneration of human kind by means of equal diffusion of intelligence and equal division of property should be thirsty while this cub (Looks at child—after a pause.) That there coral he's got round his neck is gold, real gold. Oh ! society ! Oh ! Government ! Oh ! Class Legislature — is this right? Shall this mindless wretch enjoy himself while sleeping with a jewelled gaud, and his poor old grandfather wants the price of half-pint? No, it shall not be. Rather than see it I will myself resent this out- rage on the rights of man, and in this holy crusade of class against class, of weak and lowly against the powerful and the strong (^pointing to child), I will strike one blow for freedom. [Goes behind cradle and leans over it.) He's asleep. It will fetch ten bob round the corner, and if the Marquissy gives us anything it can be got out with some o' that. {Steals coral.) Lie still, my darling. {Rocks the cradle.) It's grandfather's a- watching you ! (Puts coral in his pocket.)

"Who ran to catch me when I fell, And kicked the place to make it well — My grandfather.”

(Steals toward door.)

T.W. Robertson, “Caste” in Nineteenth-Century Plays, ed. George Rowell, 1987, pp.382-3..

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All monologues are property and copyright of their owners. Monologues are presented on StageAgent for educational purposes only.