A monologue from the play by A. A. Milne
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from First Plays. A. A. Milne. London: Chatto & Windus, 1921.
BOB: If it hadn’t been for you, I should have shot myself long ago. What’s the family creed? “I believe in Gerald. I believe in Gerald the Brother. I believe in Gerald the Son. I believe in Gerald the Nephew. I believe in Gerald the Friend, the Lover, Gerald the Holy Marvel.” There may be brothers who don’t mind that sort of thing, but not when you’re born jealous as I was. Do you think father or mother cares a damn what happens to me? They’re upset, of course, and they feel the disgrace for themselves, but the beloved Gerald is all right, and that’s all that really matters. You’re surprised! Surprised! You would be. You’ve never stopped to think what other people are thinking; you take it for granted that they all love you, and that’s all you care about. Do you think I liked playing second fiddle to you all my life? Do you think I’ve never had any ambitions of my own? I suppose you thought I was quite happy being one of the crowd of admirers round you, all saying, “Oh, look at Gerald, isn’t he wonderful?” They thought something of me when I was young.
When I first went to school they thought something of me. I daresay even you thought something of me then; I could come back in the holidays and tell you what school was like, and what a lot they thought of me. They didn’t think much of me when you came; you soon put a stop to that. I was just young Farringdon’s brother then, and when we came home together, all the talk was of the wonderful things Gerald had done. It was like that at Eton; it was like that at Oxford. It’s always been like that. I managed to get away from you a bit after Oxford, but it went on just the same. “How do you do, Mr. Farringdon? Are you any relation to Gerald Farringdon?” And you actually thought I liked that; you thought I enjoyed it. You thought I smiled modestly and said, “Oh yes, he’s my brother, my young brother; isn’t he wonderful?” They got you into the Foreign Office–they could have got me there. They could have put me into the Army. [Almost shouting.] Aren’t I the eldest son?! But no, it didn’t matter about the eldest son–never mind about him; put him in the City, anywhere as long as he’s out of the way. If we have any influence, we must use it for Gerald–the wonderful Gerald! [More quietly.] Then at last I found a friend; somebody who took me for my own sake. [Bitterly] And like a damned fool I brought her down here, and she saw you. I might have known what would happen. Yes, you took her. After taking everything you could all your life, you took her. She must be one more in the crowd of admirers round you. So you took her. [Triumphantly.] Ah, but now I’ve got her back. I’ve got her now–and I think I’m square, Gerald.