MOTHER: Ralphie, come here. Come to Mother, darling. I want you to sing for Miss Harris.
[To MISS HARRIS.] Wouldn't you like to hear him?
Ralphie, you can play with your choo-choos later. Mother wants you to imitate Mrs. Jones. Yes, you do, dear, the lady with the red hair, don't you remember? Of course you do.
[To MISS HARRIS.] Isn't it perfectly killing to see him? He can imitate anybody. We encourage him because he has such a wonderful talent.
Ralphie, are you coming to Mother? Mrs. Jones, dear, you did it this morning for Papa.
[To MISS HARRIS.] Mrs. Jones was here yesterday and Ralphie mimicked her at breakfast. I thought George would choke. It was so funny.
Ralphie, please show Miss Harris. Don't take your tie off, darling. I know, sweetheart, Mrs. Jones doesn't wear ties, but you can sing with it on. Well, dear, take it off then if you want to. [Sharply.] Don't tear it. [Stoops for tie.] Not your collar. Then give it to Mama. Ralphie, pass it to Mama. [Stoops for collar.] Naughty boy. Now, Ralphie, sing for Miss Harris.
[To MISS HARRIS, laughing.] Isn't that funny? Oh, isn't that funny? He imitates everyone. We ought to put him on the stage but George won't hear of it. That's enough, Ralphie. Ralphie, that is enough. Ralphie! [Slaps hands together.] Mama said enough. Yes, dear, I forgot that one.
[To MISS HARRIS.] Wouldn't you like to see him walk like Charlie Chaplin? [To RALPH.] Yes, dear, she says she would. [Laughs.] Isn't he the funniest child you ever saw? He's a whole vaudeville show. He ought to be in the movies but George won't allow that.
Run along and play. Yes, we see you. Yes, Ralphie, we see you. Ralph, go play with your choo-choos, there's a good boy. Mama hasn't any candy, no, no candy to-day. Why, Ralphie, Mama never knew you to act like this, and Miss Harris has come to spend the day with us too. What will she think of Mama's little boy? No, Ralphie. [Wavers.] Will you be a good boy if I give you a nickel? Well, be careful, dearie, and don't buy any of those licorice drops. You know they made you sick the day before yesterday and I said then, Ralphie, you'd never have another penny from Mama. Buy an ice-cream horn, dearie. [Sighs.] Then buy what you like, Ralph, only don't bring those licorice drops in the house. If you do Mama will give you castor oil again, yes she will.
[To MISS HARRIS.] Don't you think the child has remarkable talent? I can't see where he gets it from. It's an art. I could never mimic anyone and George [smiles], well, he's just George always. I don't know what we'll do with Ralphie, his mind is so mature. It rather worries me at times. I wish sometimes he were more like ordinary children.
[To RALPHIE.] Why, Ralphie, you ran all the way. Why did you? Hasn't Mother told you not to run like that? Come here. Ralph Kinney, I told you not to buy those! Didn't Mother tell you not to bring those things into this house, didn't she? Well, why don't you like something else? Give them to Mother--this minute. [Smiles.] What? Why, honey lamb, Mother isn't cross. She knows those candies aren't good for you. Well, one, don't you eat them all. Put them in your pocket. That's it. [Kisses him, puts candy in pocket.] Run along.
[To MISS HARRIS.] I don't suppose they will hurt him, but I have to be so careful.
Ralphie, don't stand on your head. Ralphie! All the blood will rush to your brain. Stop it! [Rises and rights RALPH.]
[To MISS HARRIS.] What were you saying, oh yes, about Emma. What has she done now?
[To RALPH.] Yes, dear, we see you.
[To MISS HARRIS.] What were you saying?
Ralphie, what are you doing? Stop it.
[To MISS HARRIS.] I'm so sorry. He's only a little child.
Ralphie, do you think Miss Harris looks like that?
[Laughing; to MISS HARRIS.] Please don't mind. He can't help it. He means no offense.
Ralphie, Miss Harris doesn't limp like that. Oh--[bursts into laughter] he's copying you per-perfectly. Isn't it funny? [Laughs.]
[Sobering.] Eh? Don't be angry. Ralphie mimics me and his father. Of course he exaggerates. Yes, you do when you're excited. Nothing escapes that child's attention. But, Miss Harris [rises and follows her], how silly to be so sensitive. But there isn't a thing to apologize for. [Indignantly.] I know what I'm doing. I shall not suppress my boy's talent for you or anybody. I think you are behaving very childish over this. Ralphie isn't to blame that you squint and limp. [Coldly.] Well, if you feel that way I am very sorry, but I can't see how any one could be offended at a little child. [Stops short.] Oh, then good-bye, Miss Harris.
Come, Ralphie, do it again for Mama.