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Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191

penny manual, mostly in his lithographed handwriting, that was never vulgarly ad-
vertized, may perhaps someday be taken up by a syndicate and pushed upon the
public as the Times pushed the Encyclopaedia Britannica; but until then it will
certainly not prevail against Pitman. I have bought three copies of it during my
lifetime; and I am informed by the publishers that its cloistered existence is still a
steady and healthy one. I actually learned the system two several times; and yet
the shorthand in which I am writing these lines is Pitmanís. And the reason is,
that my secretary cannot transcribe Sweet, having been perforce taught in the
schools of Pitman. Therefore Sweet railed at Pitman as vainly as Thersites railed
at Ajax: his raillery, however it may have eased his soul, gave no popular vogue
to Current Shorthand. - Pygmalion Higgins is not a portrait of Sweet, to whom
the adventure of Eliza Doolittle would have been impossible; still, as will be seen,
there are touches of Sweet in the play. With Higginsís physique and temperament
Sweet might have set the Thames on fire. As it was, he impressed himself profes-
sionally on Europe to an extent that made his comparative personal obscurity, and
the failure of Oxford to do justice to his eminence, a puzzle to foreign specialists
in his subject. I do not blame Oxford, because I think Oxford is quite right in de-
manding a certain social amenity from its nurslings (heaven knows it is not exor-
bitant in its requirements!); for although I well know how hard it is for a man of
genius with a seriously underrated subject to maintain serene and kindly relations
with the men who underrate it, and who keep all the best places for less important
subjects which they profess without originality and sometimes without much ca-
pacity for them, still, if he overwhelms them with wrath and disdain, he cannot ex-
<- Previous | First | Next -> Digital Library - - Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Act I - 08 Act II - 42 Act III - 118 Act IV - 167 Act V - 191

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