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by George Bernard Shaw
Henry Higgins Timeline and Summary
A bystander tells The Flower Girl (Eliza) that a man (Higgins) is writing down everything she says. Higgins, here called The Note Taker, steps forward and reveals himself. He goes on to tell Eliza to shut up and stop making a commotion. Instead of explaining himself, he correctly guesses where a number of people in the crowd come from just by listening to them. Higgins explains to the gentleman that he can perform his trick because he has studied phonetics, that phonetics is his profession. He tells the flower girl to shut up and stop butchering the English language. Higgins tells the Gentleman that he could turn the Flower Girl into a duchess in six months' time. He introduces himself to Colonel Pickering. They agree to go have dinner. Higgins gives Eliza some money out of pity. Higgins agrees to teach Eliza after Pickering bets he can't turn her into a duchess. He bosses Eliza around. Higgins doesn't pay attention to Mrs. Pearce's advice. He pays Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle, five pounds in order to keep him from taking back his daughter. Higgins is amazed when he sees how beautiful Eliza is when she's cleaned up. He gets ready for a tough task. Higgins asks his mother to help with his experiment. He doesn't listen to his mother when she says no. Higgins tells his mother that he's bringing Eliza to her party. He tells his mother he has no interest in women. Higgins guides Eliza into the party. He signals for her to leave when things get out of hand. Higgins tells his mother how wonderful Eliza is. He ignores his mother's advice. Higgins wins the bet. He fails to congratulate Eliza for helping him win the bet. Higgins talks about how boring the bet was. Higgins has a shoe thrown at him by Eliza. He gets angry. Higgins nearly hits Eliza. He goes to bed. Higgins shows up at his mother's apartment looking for Eliza. He can't do anything without her. Higgins argues with his mother. Higgins is interrupted by Doolittle. He is blamed for ruining Doolittle's life. Higgins is flabbergasted when Eliza emerges from upstairs looking confident. He doesn't allow Doolittle to take custody of Eliza. He argues with Eliza. Higgins suggests Eliza get married. Higgins gets angry when Eliza threatens to marry Freddy and/or go into business competition with Higgins. He nearly strangles Eliza. Higgins proclaims that she is no his equal. He asks her to stay. Higgins is confident that she will return even after she turns him down.