A monologue from the play by Eugène Brieux

NOTE: This translation by Mrs. Bernard Shaw was first published in 1907 by University Press, Cambridge. It is now a public domain work and may be performed without royalties.

ANNETTE: First he pretended not to understand me: he forced me to say it quite plainly: he did it on purpose--either to torture me, or to give himself time to think. You'll never guess what he said--that it wasn't true. Yes, that it wasn't true! He got angry, and he began to abuse me. He said he guessed what I was up to; that I wanted to make a scandal to force him to marry me--oh, he spared me nothing--to force him to marry me because he was rich. And when that made me furious, he threatened to call the police! I ought to have left him, run away, come home, oughtn't I? But I couldn't belive it of him all at once like that! And I couldn't go away while I had any hope. You see, as long as I was with him, nothing was settled: as long as I was holding to his arm it was as if I was engaged. When he was gone I should only be a miserable ruined girl, like dozens of others. Then--I was afraid of making him angry: my life was at stake: and to save myself I went down into the very lowest depths of vileness and cowardice. I cried, I implored. I lost all shame and I offered to go with him to a doctor tomorrow to prove that what I told him was true. And what he said then I cannot tell you--not even you--it was too much--too much--I didn't understand at first. It was only afterwards, coming back, going over all his words, that I made out what he meant. He didn't believe what he said. He couldn't have believed what he said. At any rate he knows that I am not a girl out of the streets. But at first I didn't understand. Then--at last--he looked at his watch and said he had only just time to catch the train. He said goodbye and started off at a great pace to the station. I followed him imploring and crying. I was so ashamed of my cowardice. It was horrible and absurd! I couldn't believe it was the end of everything. I was all out of breath--almost running--and I prayed him for the sake of his child, for the sake of my love, of my misery, of my very life; and I took hold of his arm to keep him back. My God! what must I have looked like! At the station entrance he said, "Let go your hold of me." I said, "You shall not go." Then he rushed to the train, and jumped into a carriage, and almost crushed my fingers in the door; and he went and hid behind his mother, and she threatened to have me arrested. And Gabrielle sat there looking white and pretending not to know me. I came back. I haven't had courage enough to kill myself, but I wish I was dead!