Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything


Books Menu

Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog


- Hobson's Choice - 3/23 -

don't, you'll get out of this, and exercise your gifts on some one else than me. You don't know when you're well off. But you'll learn it when I'm done with you. I'll choose a pair of husbands for you, my girls. That's what I'll do.

ALICE. Can't we choose husbands for ourselves?

HOBSON. I've been telling you for the last five minutes you're not even fit to choose dresses for yourselves.

MAGGIE. You're talking a lot to Vickey and Alice, father. Where do I come in?

HOBSON. You? (_Turning on her, astonished_.)

MAGGIE. If you're dealing husbands round, don't I get one?

HOBSON. Well, that's a good one! (_Laughs_.) You with a husband! (_Down in front of desk_.)

MAGGIE. Why not?

HOBSON. Why not? I thought you'd sense enough to know. But if you want the brutal truth, you're past the marrying age. You're a proper old maid, Maggie, if ever there was one.

MAGGIE. I'm thirty.

HOBSON (_facing her_). Aye, thirty and shelved. Well, all the women can't get husbands. But you others, now. I've told you. I'll have less uppishness from you or else I'll shove you off my hands on to some other men. You can just choose which way you like. (_He picks up hat and makes for door_.)

MAGGIE. One o'clock dinner, father.

HOBSON. See here, Maggie,--(_back again down to in front of desk_)--I set the hours at this house. It's one o'clock dinner because I say it is, and not because you do.

MAGGIE. Yes, father.

HOBSON. So long as that's clear I'll go. (_He is by door_.) Oh no, I won't. Mrs. Hepworth's getting out of her carriage.

(_He puts hat on counter again_. MAGGIE _rises and opens door. Enter_ MRS. HEPWORTH, _an old lady with a curt manner and good clothes_.)

Good morning, Mrs. Hepworth. What a lovely day. (_He crosses_ R. _and places chair_.)

MRS. HEPWORTH (_sitting in arm-chair_ R. C.). Morning, Hobson. (_She raises her skirt_.) I've come about those boots you sent me home.

HOBSON (_kneeling on_ MRS. HEPWORTH'S R., _and fondling foot_. MAGGIE _is_ C.). Yes, Mrs. Hepworth. They look very nice.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Get up, Hobson. (_He scrambles up, controlling his feelings_.) You look ridiculous on the floor. Who made these boots?

HOBSON. We did. Our own make.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Will you answer a plain question? Who made these boots?

HOBSON. They were made on the premises.

MRS. HEPWORTH (_to_ MAGGIE). Young woman, you seemed to have some sense when you served me. Can you answer me?

MAGGIE. I think so, but I'll make sure for you, Mrs. Hepworth. (_She opens trap and calls_.) Tubby!

HOBSON (_down_ R.). You wish to see the identical workman, madam?

MRS. HEPWORTH. I said so.

HOBSON. I am responsible for all work turned out here.

MRS. HEPWORTH. I never said you weren't.

(TUBBY WADLOW _comes up trap. A white-haired little man with thin legs and a paunch, in dingy clothes with no collar and a coloured cotton shirt. He has no coat on_.)

TUBBY. Yes, Miss Maggie? (_He stands half out of trap, not coming right up_.)

MRS. HEPWORTH. Man, did you make these boots? (_She rises and advances one pace towards him_.)

TUBBY. No, ma'am.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Then who did? Am I to question every soul in the place before I find out? (_Looking round_.)

TUBBY. They're Willie's making, those.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Then tell Willie I want him.

TUBBY. Certainly, ma'am. (_He goes down trap and calls_ "Willie!")

MRS. HEPWORTH. Who's Willie?

HOBSON. Name of Mossop, madam. But if there is anything wrong I assure you I'm capable of making the man suffer for it. I'll--

(WILLIE MOSSOP _comes up trap. He is a lanky fellow, about thirty, not naturally stupid but stunted mentally by a brutalized childhood. He is a raw material of a charming man, but, at present, it requires a very keen eye to detect his potentialities. His clothes are an even poorer edition of_ TUBBY'S. _He comes half-way up trap_.)

MRS. HEPWORTH (_standing_ R. _of trap_). Are you Mossop?

WILLIE. Yes, mum.

MRS. HEPWORTH. You made these boots?

WILLIE (_peering at them_). Yes, I made them last week.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Take that.

(WILLIE, _bending down, rather expects "that" to be a blow. Then he raises his head and finds she is holding out a visiting card. He takes it_.)

See what's on it?

WILLIE (_bending over the card_). Writing?


WILLIE. I'm trying. (_His lips move as he tries to spell it out_.)

MRS. HEPWORTH. Bless the man. Can't you read?

WILLIE. I do a bit. Only it's such funny print.

MRS. HEPWORTH. It's the usual italics of a visiting card, my man. Now listen to me. I heard about this shop, and what I heard brought me here for these boots. I'm particular about what I put on my feet.

HOBSON (_moving slightly towards her_). I assure you it shall not occur again, Mrs. Hepworth.

MRS. HEPWORTH. What shan't?

HOBSON (_crestfallen_). I--I don't know.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Then hold your tongue. Mossop, I've tried every shop in Manchester, and these are the best-made pair of boots I've ever had. Now, you'll make my boots in future. You hear that, Hobson?

(MAGGIE, _down_ L. C., _is taking it all in_.)

HOBSON. Yes, madam, of course he shall.

MRS. HEPWORTH. You'll keep that card, Mossop, and you won't dare leave here to go to another shop without letting me know where you are.

HOBSON. Oh, he won't make a change.

MRS. HEPWORTH. How do you know? The man's a treasure, and I expect you underpay him.

HOBSON. That'll do, Willie. You can go.

WILLIE. Yes, sir.

(_He dives down trap_. MAGGIE _closes it_.)

MRS. HEPWORTH. He's like a rabbit.

MAGGIE. Can I take your order for another pair of boots, Mrs. Hepworth?

MRS. HEPWORTH. Not yet, young woman. But I shall send my daughters here. And, mind you, that man's to make the boots. (_She crosses_ L.)

MAGGIE. (_Up at doors and opening them_.) Certainly, Mrs. Hepworth.

MRS. HEPWORTH. Good morning.

HOBSON. Good morning, Mrs. Hepworth. Very glad to have the honour of serving you, madam. (_Following her up_.)

Hobson's Choice - 3/23

Previous Page     Next Page

  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8   10   20   23 

Schulers Books Home

 Games Menu

Dice Poker
Tic Tac Toe


Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything