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The Little Man

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The Little Man

by John Galsworthy

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

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


AMERICAN. What does that body-snatcher say?

GERMAN. He say this man use the baby to save himself from arrest. Very smart–he say.

AMERICAN. I judge you do him an injustice. [Showing off the LITTLE MAN with a sweep of his arm.] This is a vurry white man. He’s got a black baby, and he won’t leave it in the lurch. Guess we would all act noble, that way, give us the chance. [The LITTLE MAN rises, holding out the BABY, and advances a step or two. The half-moon at once gives, increasing its size; the AMERICAN climbs onto a higher trunk. The LITTLE MAN retires and again sits down.]

AMERICAN [addressing the OFFICIAL]. Guess you’d better go out of business and wait for the mother.

OFFICIAL [stamping his foot]. Die Mutter sall ‘rested be for taking out baby mit typhus. Ha! [To the LITTLE MAN.] Put ze baby down! [The LITTLE MAN smiles.] Do you ‘ear?

AMERICAN [addressing the OFFICIAL]. Now, see here. ‘Pears to me you don’t suspicion just how beautiful this is. Here we have a man giving his life for that old baby that’s got no claim on him. This is not a baby of his own making. No, sir, this a vurry Christ-like proposition in the gentleman.

OFFICIAL. Put ze baby down, or ich will gommand someone it to do.

AMERICAN. That will be vurry interesting to watch.

OFFICIAL [to POLICEMAN]. Nehmen Sie den Buben. Dake it vrom him. [The POLICEMAN mutters, but does not.]

AMERICAN [to the GERMAN]. Guess I lost that.

GERMAN. He say he is not his officer.

AMERICAN. That just tickles me to death.

OFFICIAL [looking round]. Vill nobody dake ze Bub’?

ENGLISHWOMAN [moving a step–faintly]. Yes–I–

ENGLISHMAN [grasping her arm]. By Jove! Will you!

OFFICIAL [gathering himself for a great effort to take the BABY, and advancing two steps]. Zen I gommand you–[He stops and his voice dies away.] Zit dere!

AMERICAN. My! That’s wonderful. What a man this is! What a sublime sense of duty!


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