O’Flaherty V.C.by George Bernard Shaw
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length: 90 Minutes
Candidate for Adaptation? Not Likely
“Having been awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroics in Flanders, Private O’Flaherty returns home to Ireland to take part in recruitment campaign. He has neglected to tell his mother, a fervent Fenian, that he is fighting for the British Crown. His sweetheart, meanwhile, is determined that her man secure her a substantial war pension, irrespective of the dangers involved.
MRS O’FLAHERTY. If you wanted to fight, why couldn’t you fight in the German army?
O’FLAHERTY. Because they only get a penny a day.
MRS O’FLAHERTY. Well, and if they do itself, isn’t there the French army?
O’FLAHERTY. They only get a hapenny a day.
MRS O’FLAHERTY [much dashed]. Oh murder! They must be a mean lot, Dinny.
O’FLAHERTY [sarcastic]. Maybe you’d have me in the Turkish army, and worship the heathen Mahomet that put a corn in his ear and pretended it was a message from the heavens when the pigeon come to pick it out and eat it. I went where I could get the biggest allowance for you; and little thanks I get for it!
MRS O’FLAHERTY. Allowance, is it! Do you know what the thieving blackguards did on me? They came to me and they says, “”Was your son a big eater?”” they says. “”Oh, he was that,”” says I: “”ten shillings a week wouldn’t keep him.”” Sure I thought the more I said the more they’d give me. “”Then,”” says they, “”that’s ten shillings a week off your allowance,”” they says, “”because you save that by the king feeding him.”” “”Indeed!”” says I: “”I suppose if I’d six sons, you’d stop three pound a week from me, and make out that I ought to pay you money instead of you paying me.”” “”There’s a fallacy in your argument,”” they says.
O’FLAHERTY. A what?
MRS O’FLAHERTY. A fallacy: that’s the word he said. I says to him, “”It’s a Pharisee I’m thinking you mean, sir; but you can keep your dirty money that your king grudges a poor old widow; and please God the English will be got yet for the deadly sin of oppressing the poor;”” and with that I shut the door in his face.
O’FLAHERTY [furious]. Do you tell me they knocked ten shillings off you for my keep?
MRS O’FLAHERTY [soothing him]. No, darlint: they only knocked off half a crown. I put up with it because I’ve got the old age pension; and they know very well I’m only sixty-two; so I’ve the better of them by half a crown a week anyhow.
O’FLAHERTY. It’s a queer way of doing business.
A one-act structure with a cast of four. But not very interesting to a modern-day audience, and not much plot.
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