Candida Act 2 by George Bernard Shaw

Candida Act 2..

Marchbanks (Eugene) is in the office room, doing nothing, but feeling somewhat uncomfortable because of the acerbic encounter he had with Mr. Morell a few hours ago. At this time, Proserpine comes in and starts her typing work. The typewriter’s key gets stuck, and she assumes Eugene was fiddling with it. She blames him for this small mischief. Marchbanks(Eugene) feels guilty and apologizes.  She chides him for his childishness. She says the typewriter is not a machine to turn out love letters at will.

Eugene strayed a little, and persisted over the matter of love letters. She didn’t like the mention of such matters in her work place. Eugene told her that in his understanding, most people doing business had love affairs. She is annoyed and tries to cut him short. Eugene is apologetic and naively says he was alluding to her love affairs. Proserpine is further annoyed and says she has no love affair.

Eugene says it is perfectly normal for person to have an affair. So, she must be hiding her feelings. He urges her to reveal her love public, no matter what it could sound.

Proserpine dismisses everything that Eugene talks about love and relationship. Eugene starts a monologue about love and longing, and how he suffers without it. He admits his shyness stands in the way of asking for love from his cherished woman.

Proserpine says wicked people sometimes manage to get over their shyness.

The mention of the word ‘wicked’ unsettles Eugene. He continues to talk about his frustration over love.

Proserpine is disgusted to hear all this rambling talk about love from Eugene. She sternly asks him to stop all such blabber immediately.

Marchbanks feels dejected because Proserpine does not a lend her ears to his emotional problems. He is listless, and lost. Unable to elicit any sympathy from her, he paces around the room.

He argues with her about the pain and anguish that he suffers from due to the surge of romantic love in his mind. Prosepine can no longer control herself. She gets up in great frustration. However, she has decided to divulge to Eugene the tide of love that gnaws at her heart too. She makes Eugene promise to keep her matter secret.

The two talk to each other with Proserpine trying not to identify Mr. Morell as the person in her heart. But, Eugene knows the truth, and wonders how a man with such dry wit as Mr. Morell could be the person she loved so passionately.

Around this time Burgess comes in and sits on a chair. The conversation between Eugene and Prospine gets disrupted.

Prosepine clearly doesn’t like the presence of Burgess. As it is, she had an unpleasant exchange with Eugene a little while earlier. She assumes Burgess and Eugene will get busy talking to each other giving her some respite.

She is furious. She can’t control herself. In a rage, she pulls out the typed letter from the machine, but it gets torn. She is further annoyed. She speaks so rudely to Burgess that the latter gets very distraught. He threatens her saying that he will complain to Mr. Murell against her.

The angry to and fro spat continues till the door bell rings. She proceeds to answer the bell.

Burgess and Eugene talk about Mr. Morell in rather disparaging voice. Both have different reasons for their disaffection with Mr. Morell.

Around this time, Mr. Morell enters, and Burgess starts to complain o him against Proserpine. Mr. Morell, far from pulling up Proserpine, praises her bold and forthright attitude. He acts as if he is not concerned. His indifference annoys Burgess even further. He demands to know if She wasn’t wrong in behaving so rudely. Mr. Morell goes to his seat to start his work. He advises his father-in-law to forget the matter. Burgess asks Mr. Morell to give him some light-content book to read and let his anger subside.

Mr. Morell says that his wife, Candida will soon come to chat with him (Burgess) after she fills the lamps.

Quite strangely, Eugene expresses his indignation saying that the job would soil her hands and she should not be made to do it. He begins to go to Candida to take that job away from her and do it himself.

Mr. Morell srops Eugene from going ahead suggesting that Candida would make him polish his (Morell’s) shoes. That wouldn’t be very pleasant.

Burgess wonders if there is no servant in the house. Mr. Morell feels everyone including Proserpine should collectively do the chores.

Eugene appears upset at the idea of Candida having to share work with Proserpine. He says Proserpine is coarse-grained, and can’t be equated with Candida.

Burgess jumps at the suggestion, because he is already bruised by Proserpine’s rude behavior.

Mr. Morell pulls up Eugene asking him how many servants his father had. Eugene appears a bit uncomfortable. He sits down on the sofa.

Mr. Morell comes down hard on Eugene. He reminds him that routinely he dumps all the unpleasant jobs on Candida.

Eugene erupts in anger. He says that Candida has to dip her tender fingers in paraffin oil, where as her husband busies him in high-sounding sermons.

Candida enters the scene with the lamp cleaned and filled with oil. She wears an apron.

Candida light-heartedly tells Eugene that she will entrust all the rough jobs to him from then on. Eugene agrees readily.

Eugene (Marchbanks) is ever eager to oblige. He appears obsequious. Candida turns to her husband, and good-humoredly tells him that he has not been doing much domestic chores, of late.

Mr. Morell is a bit amused to hear this. Candida complains that her pet scrubbing brush has been used by him as a blackening brush. The silliness of the complaint startles her husband. She goes to the sofa and sits down.

Mr. Morell feels something is wrong with her. He asks her if she is unwell.

Eugene bursts into indignation at the way she has suffered in the household. He covers his face with his palms shouting ‘Horror, horror, horror.”

 Burgess can’t quite understand what horrifies Eugene so much. He advises him to calm down and get over his feelings.

Candida proceeds to soothe Eugene. She suggests he could present her a nice brush with ivory handle.

Eugene erupts into a poetic flourish. He says he could get her a boat to sail away into another world with no mundane dull chores, but perfect bliss.

Mr. Morell is obviously quite displeased at Eugene’s overt show of warmth to Candia.

He reminds him, although somewhat indirectly, that he is idle, selfish and useless.

Candida feels her husband has been too harsh with Eugene.

Eugene flares up. He asserts living in a pretentious way (as Mr. Morell does) is much worse than living idly, pouring love on the beloved, and enjoying life. Giving the pious sermons in public and asking the wife to clean shoes (as Mr. Morell does) is condemnable.

Candida doesn’t like the way Eugene chided her husband. She told him he may have to clean the shoes the next day as her husband was doing it that day.

Eugene continues with his unsolicited show of tenderness towards Candida. Burgess doesn’t quite understand what’s going on.

Mr. Morell sits at his desk trying to cope with the humiliation and taunts Eugene throws at him, and his helplessness in countering them. Quite, inadvertently, Candida comes in his way. Mr. Morell begins to feel a degree of awe before Eugene he now despises so intensely.

Proserpeine comes in with a telegram. It’s reply paid, so she waits for Mr. Morell’s instructions. She says that onions have come. She is looking at Candida.

Eugene shows his disgust hearing about the onions.

Candida wants Eugene to help her to peel and slice the onions. She grabs him by his waist and pulls her towards the kitchen.

Burgess can’t understand what is going on. He disapproves of the proximity between his daughter and Eugene.

Mr. Morell finishes replying to the telegram.


——————–To be contd—————-

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