Why She Would Not
A Little Comedy
Why She Would Not
by George Bernard Shaw (copyright © 1950)
All rights reserved. This script may not be performed, printed, downloaded or re-transmitted
without the author's consent.
A PATH through a wood. A fine summer afternoon. A lady, good-looking, well
dressed, and not over thirty, is being conducted along the path by a burly and rather dangerous-
looking man, middle aged, ugly, dressed in a braided coat and mutton pie cap which give him the
air of being a hotel porter or commissionaire of some sort.
THE LADY [stopping] Where are we now? I should
hardly call this a short cut.
THE MAN [truculently] I'm damned if I know. Two
miles from anywhere.
THE LADY. But you must know. You are a forest
THE MAN. Guide my foot! I'm no bloody guide. How much
money have you got on you?
THE LADY. Why?
THE MAN. Because I mean to have it off you, see? Hand
THE LADY. Do you mean to rob me? You said you were a
guide; and we agreed for seven-and-sixpence. I will give you your seven-and-sixpence and not a
penny more. If you dare to try to rob me I'll call the police.
THE MAN. Call away. There isnt a copper within five miles.
Are them pearls round your neck real? Whether or no I mean to have them. You have three
pounds in notes in your handbag: I saw them when you paid the taxi. Are you going to hand
over quietly or shall I have to take them? It'll hurt a bit.
A YOUNG MALE VOICE [very affable] Is there
anything amiss? Can I help?
The Man and the Lady start violently, not having noticed
the newcomer until he arrives between them. He is a likeable looking juvenile in a workman's cap,
but otherwise might by his clothes be an artisan off duty or a gentleman. His accent is that of a
THE MAN [ferociously] Who the hell are you?
THE NEWCOMER. Nobody but a tramp looking for a job.
THE MAN. Well, dont you come interfering with me. Get out of
here, double quick.
THE NEWCOMER [sunnily] I'm in no hurry. The lady might
like me to stay. If she wants a witness I'm on the job.
THE LADY. Oh yes: please stay. This man is trying to rob
THE NEWCOMER. Oh dear! That wont do, you know, matey. Thou
shalt not steal.
THE MAN [with exaggerated fierceness] Who are you
calling matey? Listen here. Are you going to get out or have I to sling you out?
THE NEWCOMER [gaily] You can try. I'm game for a
scrap. Fists, catch as catch can, up and down wrestling, or all three together? Be quick. The
mounted police patrol will pass at six. Take off your coat; and come on.
THE MAN [he is an abject coward] Easy, governor, easy. I
dont want no fighting. All I asked of the lady was my money for guiding her.
THE NEWCOMER [to the Lady] Give it to him and get rid
THE LADY. I never refused to give it to him. Here it is. [She
gives the man five shillings].
THE MAN [humbly] Thank you, lady. [He hurries
away, almost running.]
THE LADY. How brave of you to offer to fight that big man!
THE NEWCOMER. Bluff, dear lady, pure bluff. A bully is not always
a coward; but a big coward is almost always a bully. I took his measure; that is all. Where do
you want to go to?
THE LADY. To Timbertown. I live there. I am Miss White of Four
Towers: a very famous old house. I can reward you handsomely for rescuing me when I get
THE NEWCOMER. I know the way. A mile and a half. Can you
THE LADY. Yes of course. I can walk ten miles.
THE NEWCOMER. Right O! Follow me.
They go off together.