Tottenham Court - at the Tudor Court - was fortunate enough to catch the
eye of - er -
MRS. HUBBARD. Elizabeth.
MR. HUBBARD. Queen Elizabeth, and - er -
FATHER CHRISTMAS. I see. You are lucky, madam, to have such beautiful
jewels. (Turning to MR. HUBBARD) And this delightful gold Albert
MR. HUBBARD. Presented to an ancestor of mine, Sir Humphrey de
Hubbard, at the battle of - er -
MRS. HUBBARD. Agincourt.
MR. HUBBARD. As you say, dear, Agincourt. By King Richard the - I
should say William the - well, by the King.
FATHER CHRISTMAS. How very interesting.
MR. HUBBARD. Yes. My ancestor clove a scurvy knave from the chaps to
the chine. I don't quite know how you do that, but I gather that he
inflicted some sort of a scratch upon his adversary, and the King
rewarded him with this handsome watch-chain.
USHERS (announcing). Mr. Robinson Crusoe! (He comes in.)
FATHER CHRISTMAS. How do you do?
CRUSOE (bowing). I'm a little late, I'm afraid, sir. My raft was
delayed by adverse gales.
(FATHER CHRISTMAS introduces him to the HUBBARDS, who inform him that
the weather is very seasonable.)
USHERS. Miss Riding Hood! (She comes in.)
FATHER CHRISTMAS. How do you do?
RIDING HOOD (curtseying). I hope I am in time, sir. I had to look in
on my grandmother on the way here.
(FATHER CHRISTMAS makes the necessary introductions.)
MRS. HUBBARD (to CRUSOE). Do come and see me, Mr. Crusoe. Any Friday.
I should like your advice about my parrot. He's moulting in all the
MR. HUBBARD (to RED RIDING HOOD). I don't know if you're interested in
wolves at all, Miss Hood. I heard a very good story about one the
other day. (He begins to tell it, but she has hurried away before he
can remember whether it was Thursday or Friday.)
USHERS. Baron Bluebeard! (He comes in.)
FATHER CHRISTMAS. How do you do?
BLUEBEARD (bowing). I trust you have not been waiting for me, sir. I
had a slight argument with my wife before starting, which delayed me
(FATHER CHRISTMAS forgives him.)
USHERS. Princess Goldilocks!
FATHER CHRISTMAS. How do you do?
GOLDILOCKS (curtseying). I brought the youngest bear with me - do you
mind? (She introduces the youngest bear to FATHER CHRISTMAS and the
other guests) Say, how do you do, darling? (To an USHER) Will you give
him a little porridge, please, and if you have got a nice bed where he
could rest a little afterwards - he gets tired so quickly.
USHER. Certainly, your Royal Highness.
GOLDILOCKS (to FATHER CHRISTMAS). Are we going to dance? How lovely!
FATHER CHRISTMAS (to the HUBBARDS). You will dance, won't you?
MRS. HUBBARD. I think not just at first, thank you.
GOLDILOCKS (to CRUSOE). Come along!
CRUSOE. I am a little out of practice - er - but if you don't
mind - er - (He comes.)
BLUEBEARD (to RIDING HOOD). May I have the pleasure?
MRS. HUBBARD (to RIDING HOOD). Be careful, dear; he has a very bad
RIDING HOOD (to BLUEBEARD). You don't eat people, do you?
BLUEBEARD (pained by this injustice). Never!
RIDING HOOD. Oh then, I don't mind. But I do hate being eaten.
(Now we can't possibly describe the whole dance to you, for in every
corner of the big ballroom couples were revolving and sliding, and
making small talk with each other. So we will just take two specimen
CRUSOE (nervous, poor man). Princess Goldilocks, may I speak to you on
a matter of some importance to me?
GOLDILOCKS. I wish you would.
CRUSOE (looking across at BLUEBEARD and RED RIDING HOOD, who are
revolving close by). Alone.
GOLDILOCKS (to BLUEBEARD). Do you mind? You can have your turn
BLUEBEARD (to RIDING HOOD). Shall we adjourn to the Buffet?
RIDING HOOD. Oh, do let's. [They adjourn.
CRUSOE (bravely). Princess, I am a lonely man.
GOLDILOCKS (encouragingly). Yes, Robinson?
CRUSOE. I am not much of a one for society, and I don't quite know how
to put these things, but - er - if you would like to share my island,
I - I should so love to have you there.
GOLDILOCKS. Oh, Robbie!
CRUSOE (warming to it). I have a very comfortable house, and a
man-servant, and an excellent view from the south windows, and several
thousands of acres of good rough-shooting, and - oh, do say you'll
GOLDILOCKS. May I bring my bears with me?
CRUSOE. Of course! I ought to have said that. I have a great fondness
GOLDILOCKS. How sweet of you! But perhaps I ought to warn you that we
all like porridge. Have you - -
CRUSOE. I have a hundred acres of oats.
GOLDILOCKS. Then, Robinson, I am yours. (They embrace) There! Now tell
me - did you make all your clothes yourself?
CRUSOE (proudly). All of them.
GOLDILOCKS (going off with him). How wonderful of you! Really you
hardly seem to want a wife.
[They go out. Now it is the other couple's turn.
Enter, then, BLUEBEARD and RIDING HOOD
BLUEBEARD. Perhaps I ought to tell you at once, Miss Riding Hood, that
I have been married before.
RIDING HOOD. Yes?
BLUEBEARD. My last wife unfortunately died just before I started out
here this evening.
RIDING HOOD (calmly). Did you kill her?
BLUEBEARD (taken aback). I - I - I -
RIDING HOOD. Are you quite a nice man, Bluebeard?
BLUEBEARD. W-what do you mean? I am a very _rich_ man. If you will
marry me, you will live in a wonderful castle, full of everything that
RIDING HOOD. That will be rather jolly.
BLUEBEARD (dramatically) But there is one room into which you must
never go. (Holding up a key) Here is the key of it. (He offers it to
RIDING HOOD (indifferently) But if I'm never to go into it, I shan't
want the key.
BLUEBEARD (upset). You - you _must_ have the key.
RIDING HOOD. Why?
BLUEBEARD. The - the others all had it.
RIDING HOOD (coldly). Bluebeard, you aren't going to talk about your
_other_ wives all the time, are you?
BLUEBEARD. N - no.
RIDING HOOD. Then don't be silly. And take this key, and go and tidy
up that ridiculous room of yours, and when it's nice and clean, and
when you've shaved off that absurd beard, perhaps I'll marry you.
BLUEBEARD (furiously drawing his sword). Madam!
RIDING HOOD. Don't do it here. You'll want some hot water.
BLUEBEARD (trying to put his sword back). This is too much, this is -
RIDING HOOD. You're putting it in the wrong way round.
BLUEBEARD (stiffly). Thank you. (He manages to get it in.)
RIDING HOOD. Well, do you want to marry me?
RIDING HOOD. Sure?
BLUEBEARD (admiringly). More than ever. You're the first woman I've
met who hasn't been afraid of me.
RIDING HOOD (surprised). Are you very alarming? Wolves frighten me
sometimes, but not just silly men. . . . (Giving him her hand) All right
then. But you'll do what I said?
BLUEBEARD. Beloved one, I will do anything for you.
(CRUSOE and GOLDILOCKS come back. Probably it will occur to the four
of them to sing a song indicative of the happy family life awaiting
them. On the other hand they may prefer to dance. . . .)
But enough of this. Let us get on to the great event of the evening.
Ladies and gentlemen, are you all assembled? Then silence, please, for
FATHER CHRISTMAS. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to
see you here at my Court this evening; and in particular my friends
Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard, of whom I have been too long neglectful.
However, I hope to make up for it to-night. (To an USHER) Disclose the
(The Christmas Tree is disclosed, and - what do you think? Children
disguised as crackers are hanging from every branch! Well, I never!)
FATHER CHRISTMAS (quite calmly). Distribute the presents!
(An USHER takes down the children one by one and places them in a row,
reading from the labels on them. "MRS. HUBBARD, MR. HUBBARD"
USHER (handing list to MR. HUBBARD). Here is the nominal roll, sir.
MR. HUBBARD (looking at it in amazement). What's this? (MRS. HUBBARD
looks over his shoulder) Ada, Bertram, Caroline - My darling one!
MRS. HUBBARD. Henry! Our children at last! Oh, are they all - _all_
MR. HUBBARD. We'll soon see, dear. Ada!
ADA (springing to attention). Father! (She stands at ease.)
MR. HUBBARD. Bertram! . . . (And so on up to ELSIE) . . . Frank!
MR. HUBBARD. There you are, darling, I told you he had curly brown
hair. . . . Gwendoline! (And so on.)
MRS. HUBBARD (to FATHER CHRISTMAS). Oh thank you so much. It is sweet
MR. HUBBARD (to FATHER CHRISTMAS). We are slightly overcome. Do you
mind if we just dance it off. (FATHER CHRISTMAS nods genially.) Come
(He holds out his hands, and he and his wife and the children dance
round in a ring singing, "Here we go round the Christmas Tree, all on
a Christmas evening. . . .")
(And then - But at this moment JAMES and ROSEMARY and the HUBBARD
children stopped thinking, so of course the play came to an end. And
if there were one or two bits in it which the children didn't quite
understand, that was JAMES'S fault. He never ought to have been
thinking at all, really.)
MR. PIM PASSES BY
A COMEDY IN THREE ACTS
GEORGE MARDEN, J.P.
OLIVIA (his wife).
DINAH (his niece).
LADY MARDEN (his aunt).
* * * * *
The first performance of this play in London took place at the New
Theatre on January 5, 1920, with the following cast:
George Marden - BEN WEBSTER.
Olivia - IRENE VANBRUGH.
Dinah - GEORGETTE COHAN.
Lady Marden - ETHEL GRIFFIES.
Brian Strange - LESLIE HOWARD.
Carraway Pim - DION BOUCICAULT.
Anne - ETHEL WELLESLEY.
MR. PIM PASSES BY
(The morning-room at Marden House (Buckinghamshire) decided more than
a hundred years ago that it was all right, and has not bothered about
itself since. Visitors to the house have called the result such
different adjectives as "mellow" "old-fashioned," "charming" - even
"baronial" and "antique"; but nobody ever said it was "exciting."
Sometimes OLIVIA wants it to be more exciting, and last week she let
herself go over some new curtains. At present they are folded up and
waiting for her; she still has the rings to put on. It is obvious that
the curtains alone will overdo the excitement; they will have to be
harmonised with a new carpet and cushions. OLIVIA has her eye on just
the things, but one has to go carefully with GEORGE. What was good
enough for his great-great-grandfather is good enough for him.
However, we can trust OLIVIA to see him through it, although it may
(There are two ways of coming into the room; by the open windows
leading from the terrace or by the door. On this pleasant July morning
MR. PIM chooses the latter way - or rather ANNE chooses it for him; and
old MR. PIM, wistful, kindly, gentle, little MR. PIM, living in some
world of his own whither we cannot follow, ambles after her.)
ANNE. I'll tell Mr. Marden you're here, sir. Mr. Pim, isn't it?
PIM (coming back to this world). Yes - er - Mr. Carraway Pim. He doesn't
know me, you understand, but if he could just see me for a
moment - er - (He fumbles in his pockets) I gave you that letter?
ANNE. Yes, sir, I'll give it to him.
PIM (bringing out a letter which is not the one he was looking for,
but which reminds him of something else he has forgotten). Dear me!
ANNE. Yes, sir?
PIM. I ought to have sent a telegram, but I can do it on my way back.
You have a telegraph office in the village?
ANNE. Oh yes, sir. If you turn to the left when you get outside the
gates, it isn't more than a hundred yards down the hill.
PIM. Thank you, thank you. Very stupid of me to have forgotten.
[ANNE goes out.
(MR. PIM wanders about the room humming to himself, and looking
vaguely at the pictures. He has his back to the door as DINAH comes
in. She is nineteen, very pretty, very happy, and full of boyish high
spirits and conversation.)
PIM (turning round). Ah, good morning, Mrs. Marden. You must forgive
my - er -
DINAH. Oh I say, I'm not Mrs. Marden. I'm Dinah.
PIM (with a bow). Then I will say, Good morning, Miss Diana.
DINAH (reproachfully). Now, look here, if you and I are going to be
friends you mustn't do that. Dinah, _not_ Diana. Do remember it,
there's a good man, because I get so tired of correcting people. Have
you come to stay with us?
PIM. Well no, Miss - er - Dinah.
DINAH (nodding). That's right. I can see I shan't have to speak to
_you_ again. Now tell me _your_ name, and I bet you I get it right
first time. And do sit down.
PIM (sitting down). Thank you. My name is - er - Pim, Carraway Pim -
DINAH. Pim, that's easy.
PIM. And I have a letter of introduction to your father -
DINAH. Oh no; now you're going wrong again, Mr. Pim. George isn't my
father; he's my uncle. _Uncle_ George - he doesn't like me calling him
George. Olivia doesn't mind - I mean she doesn't mind being called
Olivia, but George is rather touchy. You see, he's been my guardian
since I was about two, and then about five years ago he married a
widow called Mrs. Telworthy - that's Olivia - so she became my Aunt
Olivia, only she lets me drop the Aunt. Got that?
PIM (a little alarmed). I - I think so, Miss Marden.
DINAH (admiringly). I say, you _are_ quick, Mr. Pim. Well, if you take
my advice, when you've finished your business with George, you will
hang about a bit and see if you can't see Olivia. She's simply
devastating. I don't wonder George fell in love with her.
PIM. It's only the merest matter of business - just a few minutes with
your uncle - I'm afraid I shall hardly -
DINAH. Well, you must please yourself, Mr. Pim. I'm just giving you a
friendly word of advice. Naturally, I was awfully glad to get such a
magnificent aunt, because, of course, marriage _is_ rather a toss up,
isn't it, and George might have gone off with anybody. It's different
on the stage, where guardians always marry their wards, but George
couldn't marry _me_ because I'm his niece. Mind you, I don't say that
I should have had him, because between ourselves he's a little bit
PIM. So he married - er - Mrs. Marden instead.
DINAH. Mrs. Telworthy - don't say you've forgotten already, just when
you were getting so good at names. Mrs. Telworthy. You see, Olivia
married the Telworthy man and went to Australia with him, and he drank
himself to death in the bush, or wherever you drink yourself to death
out there, and Olivia came home to England, and met my uncle, and he
fell in love with her and proposed to her, and he came into my room
that night - I was about fourteen - and turned on the light and said,
"Dinah, how would you like to have a beautiful aunt of your very own?"
And I said: "Congratulations, George." That was the first time I
called him George. Of course, I'd seen it coming for _weeks_.
Telworthy, isn't it a funny name?
PIM. Very singular. From Australia, you say?
DINAH. Yes, I always say that he's probably still alive, and will turn
up here one morning and annoy George, because that's what first
husbands always do in books, but I'm afraid there's not much chance.
PIM (shocked). Miss Marden!
DINAH. Well, of course, I don't really _want_ it to happen, but it
_would_ be rather exciting, wouldn't it? However, things like that
never seem to occur down here, somehow. There was a hay-rick burnt
last year about a mile away, but that isn't quite the same thing, is
PIM. No, I should say that that was certainly different.
DINAH. Of course, something very, very wonderful did happen last
night, but I'm not sure if I know you well enough - - (She looks at
PIM (uncomfortably). Really, Miss Marden, I am only a - a passer-by,
here to-day and gone to-morrow. You really mustn't - -
DINAH. And yet there's something about you, Mr. Pim, which inspires
confidence. The fact is - (in a stage whisper) - I got engaged last
PIM. Dear me, let me congratulate you.
DINAH. I expect that's why George is keeping you such a long time.
Brian, my young man, the well-known painter - only nobody has ever
heard of him - he's smoking a pipe with George in the library and
asking for his niece's hand. Isn't it exciting? You're really rather
lucky, Mr. Pim - I mean being told so soon. Even Olivia doesn't know
PIM (getting up). Yes, yes. I congratulate you, Miss Marden. Perhaps
it would be better - -
[ANNE comes in.
ANNE. Mr. Marden is out at the moment, sir - - Oh, I didn't see you,
DINAH. It's all right, Anne. _I'm_ looking after Mr. Pim.
ANNE. Yes, Miss.
[She goes out.
DINAH (excitedly). That's me. They can't discuss me in the library
without breaking down, so they're walking up and down outside, and
slashing at the thistles in order to conceal their emotion. _You_
know. I expect Brian - -
PIM (looking at his watch). Yes, I think, Miss Marden, I had better go
now and return a little later. I have a telegram which I want to send,
and perhaps by the time I came back - -
DINAH. Oh, but how disappointing of you, when we were getting on
together so nicely. And it was just going to be your turn to tell me
all about _your_self.
PIM. I have really nothing to tell, Miss Marden. I have a letter of
introduction to Mr. Marden, who in turn will give me, I hope, a letter
to a certain distinguished man whom it is necessary for me to meet.
That is all. (Holding out his hand) And now, Miss Marden - -
DINAH. Oh, I'll start you on your way to the post office. I want to
know if you're married, and all that sort of thing. You've got heaps
to tell me, Mr. Pim. Have you got your hat? That's right. Then
we'll - hullo, here's Brian.
(BRIAN STRANGE comes in at the windows. He is what GEORGE calls a
damned futuristic painter-chap, aged twenty-four. To look at, he is a
very pleasant boy, rather untidily dressed.)
BRIAN (nodding). How do you do?
DINAH (seizing him). Brian, this is Mr. Pim. Mr. Carraway Pim. He's
been telling me all about himself. It's so interesting. He's just
going to send a telegram, and then he's coming back again. Mr. Pim,
this is Brian - _you_ know.
BRIAN (smiling and shaking hands). How do you do?
DINAH (pleadingly). You _won't_ mind going to the post office by
yourself, will you, because, you see, Brian and I - (she looks lovingly
PIM (because they are so young). Miss Dinah and Mr. - er - Brian, I have
only come into your lives for a moment, and it is probable that I
shall now pass out of them for ever, but you will allow an old man - -
DINAH. Oh, not old!
PIM (chuckling happily). Well, a middle-aged man - to wish you both
every happiness in the years that you have before you. Good-bye,
[He disappears gently through the windows.
DINAH. Brian, he'll get lost if he goes that way.
BRIAN (going to the windows and calling after him). Round to the left,
sir. . . . That's right. (He comes back into the room) Rum old bird. Who
DINAH. Darling, you haven't kissed me yet.
BRIAN (taking her in his arms). I oughtn't to, but then one never
ought to do the nice things.
DINAH. Why oughtn't you?
(They sit on the sofa together.)
BRIAN. Well, we said we'd be good until we'd told your uncle and aunt
all about it. You see, being a guest in their house - -
DINAH. But, darling child, what _have_ you been doing all this morning
_except_ telling George?
BRIAN. _Trying_ to tell George.
DINAH (nodding). Yes, of course, there's a difference.
BRIAN. I think he guessed there was something up, and he took me down
to see the pigs - he said he had to see the pigs at once - I don't know
why; an appointment perhaps. And we talked about pigs all the way, and
I couldn't say, "Talking about pigs, I want to marry your niece - - "
DINAH (with mock indignation). Of course you couldn't.
BRIAN. No. Well, you see how it was. And then when we'd finished
talking about pigs, we started talking _to_ the pigs - -
DINAH (eagerly). Oh, _how_ is Arnold?
BRIAN. The little black-and-white one? He's very jolly, I believe, but
naturally I wasn't thinking about him much. I was wondering how to
begin. And then Lumsden came up, and wanted to talk pig-food, and the
atmosphere grew less and less romantic, and - and I gradually drifted
DINAH. Poor darling. Well, we shall have to approach him through
BRIAN. But I always wanted to tell her first; she's so much easier.
Only you wouldn't let me.
DINAH. That's _your_ fault, Brian. You would tell Olivia that she
ought to have orange-and-black curtains.
BRIAN. But she _wants_ orange-and-black curtains.
DINAH. Yes, but George says he's not going to have any futuristic
nonsense in an honest English country house, which has been good
enough for his father and his grandfather and his great-grandfather,
and - and all the rest of them. So there's a sort of strained feeling
between Olivia and George just now, and if Olivia were to - sort of
recommend you, well, it wouldn't do you much good.
BRIAN (looking at her). I see. Of course I know what _you_ want,
DINAH. What do I want?
BRIAN. You want a secret engagement, and notes left under door-mats,
and meetings by the withered thorn, when all the household is asleep.
_I_ know you.
DINAH. Oh, but it is such fun! I love meeting people by withered
BRIAN. Well, I'm not going to have it.
DINAH (childishly). Oh, George! Look at us being husbandy!
BRIAN. You babe! I adore you. (He kisses her and holds her away from
him and looks at her) You know, you're rather throwing yourself away
on me. Do you mind?
DINAH. Not a bit.
BRIAN. We shall never be rich, but we shall have lots of fun, and meet
interesting people, and feel that we're doing something worth doing,
and not getting paid nearly enough for it, and we can curse the
Academy together and the British Public, and - oh, it's an exciting
DINAH (seeing it). I shall love it.
BRIAN. I'll make you love it. You shan't be sorry, Dinah.
DINAH. You shan't be sorry either, Brian.
BRIAN (looking at her lovingly). Oh, I know I shan't. . . . What will
Olivia think about it? Will she be surprised?
DINAH. She's never surprised. She always seems to have thought of
things about a week before they happen. George just begins to get hold
of them about a week _after_ they've happened. (Considering him) After
all, there's no reason why George _shouldn't_ like you, darling.
BRIAN. I'm not his sort, you know.
DINAH. You're more Olivia's sort. Well, we'll tell Olivia this
OLIVIA (coming in). And what are you going to tell Olivia this
morning? (She looks at them with a smile) Oh, well, I think I can
(Shall we describe OLIVIA? But you will know all about her before the
day is over.)
DINAH (jumping up). Olivia, darling!
BRIAN (following). Say you understand, Mrs. Marden.
OLIVIA. Mrs. Marden, I am afraid, is a very dense person, Brian, but I
think if you asked Olivia if she understood - -
BRIAN. Bless you, Olivia. I knew you'd be on our side.
DINAH. Of course she would.
OLIVIA. I don't know if it's usual to kiss an aunt-in-law, Brian, but
Dinah is such a very special sort of niece that - (she inclines her
cheek and BRIAN kisses it).
DINAH. I say, you _are_ in luck to-day, Brian.
OLIVIA (going over to her chair by the work-table and getting to
business with the curtains) And how many people have been told the
BRIAN. Nobody yet.
DINAH. Except Mr. Pim.
BRIAN. Oh, does _he_ -
OLIVIA. Who's Mr. Pim?
DINAH. Oh, he just happened - I say, are those _the_ curtains? Then
you're going to have them after all?
OLIVIA (with an air of surprise). After all what? But I decided on
them long ago. (to BRIAN) You haven't told George yet?
BRIAN. I began to, you know, but I never got any farther than
"Er - there's just - er - "
DINAH. George _would_ talk about pigs all the time.
OLIVIA. Well, I suppose you want me to help you.
DINAH. Do, darling.
BRIAN. It would be awfully decent of you. Of course, I'm not quite his
sort really -
DINAH. You're _my_ sort.
BRIAN. But I don't think he objects to me, and -
(GEORGE comes in, a typical, narrow-minded, honest country gentleman
of forty odd.)
GEORGE (at the windows). What's all this about a Mr. Pim? (He kicks
some of the mud off his boots) Who is he? Where is he? I had most
important business with Lumsden, and the girl comes down and cackles
about a Mr. Pim, or Ping, or something. Where did I put his card?
(Bringing it out) Carraway Pim. Never heard of him in my life.
DINAH. He said he had a letter of introduction, Uncle George.