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by George Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion Act 2 Summary

  • The next day, in Higgins's house on 10 Wimpole Street, Higgins and the Colonel are talking shop when Mrs. Pearce, Henry's very reasonable maid, tells him that a girl with a funny accent has come to the door.
  • Thinking he might get some good material from her, he decides to let her in.
  • The flower girl from the night before comes in wearing some (relatively) clean clothes and what may just be the funniest hat you've ever seen. She introduces herself as Eliza Doolittle.
  • Higgins is about to throw her out – he already "has" her accent – when she demands to be given speaking lessons.
  • After some deliberation, Higgins and Pickering decide to take her on as a client, only they treat the whole thing like a bet. They really want to see if they can pass her off as a duchess in six months time.
  • Higgins tells Mrs. Pearce to go burn all of Eliza's clothes and get her clean.
  • While she's off in the shower, a hulking dustman – that's British for garbage man – comes in and introduces himself as Alfred Doolittle, Eliza's father.
  • Doolittle proceeds to talk Higgins into giving him five pounds for booze in return for leaving Eliza alone.
  • Higgins, amazed by his speaking ability, does give him some cash, but their discussion is interrupted by the entrance of a "Japanese Lady."
  • She turns out to be Eliza in a kimono, and without all the dirt and the silly clothes, Eliza's really pretty.
  • Eliza loves all the attention so much she wants to go down to where all the other flower girls hang out and strut her stuff.
  • Higgins knows this is a bad idea and tells her so. Mrs. Pearce lures her away with the promise of new clothes.
  • Eliza howls like a banshee again before skipping off stage.
  • Pickering and Higgins shake their heads in disbelief. They've got a lot of work to do.

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