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Augustus Does His Bit

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Augustus Does His Bit

by George Bernard Shaw

Genre: Comedy
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


A comedic look at an inept and pompous military man, trying to do his bit for the war.
an excerpt:THE LADY. You feel sure you will be able to resist the siren? I warn you, she is very fascinating.

AUGUSTUS. You need have no fear, madam. I hope she will come and try it on. Fascination is a game that two can play at. For centuries the younger sons of the Highcastles have had nothing to do but fascinate attractive females when they were not sitting on Royal Commissions or on duty at Knightsbridge barracks. By Gad, madam, if the siren comes here she will meet her match.

THE LADY. I feel that. But if she fails to seduce you-

AUGUSTUS [blushing]. Madam!

THE LADY [continuing]–from your allegiance-

AUGUSTUS. Oh, that!

THE LADY.–she will resort to fraud, to force, to anything. She will burgle your office: she will have you attacked and garotted at night in the street.

AUGUSTUS. Pooh! I’m not afraid.

THE LADY. Oh, your courage will only tempt you into danger. She may get the list after all. It is true that the guns are moved. But she would win her bet.

AUGUSTUS [cautiously]. You did not say that the guns were moved. You said that Blueloo had ordered them to be moved.

THE LADY. Well, that is the same thing, isn’t it?

AUGUSTUS. Not quite–at the War Office. No doubt those guns WILL be moved: possibly even before the end of the war.

THE LADY. Then you think they are there still! But if the German War Office gets the list–and she will copy it before she gives it back to Blueloo, you may depend on it–all is lost.

AUGUSTUS [lazily]. Well, I should not go as far as that. [Lowering his voice.] Will you swear to me not to repeat what I am going to say to you; for if the British public knew that I had said it, I should be at once hounded down as a pro-German.

THE LADY. I will be silent as the grave. I swear it.


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