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The Stepmother

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The Stepmother

by AA Milne

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

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising


STRANGER (looking at her in a puzzled way). I can’t make out what your game is. It’s no good pretending you don’t hate the sight of me–it stands to reason you must.

LADY PEMBURY (smiling). But then women are unreasonable, aren’t they? And I think it is only in fairy-stories that stepmothers are always so unkind.

STRANGER (surprised). Stepmother!

LADY PEMBURY. Well, that’s practically what I am, isn’t it? (Whimsically) I’ve never been a stepmother before. (Persuasively) Couldn’t you let me be proud of my stepson?

STRANGER. Well, you are a one! . . . Do you mean to say that you and your husband aren’t going to have a row about this?

LADY PEMBURY. It’s rather late to begin a row, isn’t it, thirty years after it’s happened? . . . Besides, perhaps you aren’t going to tell him anything about it.

STRANGER. But what else have I come for except to tell him?

LADY PEMBURY. To tell me. . . . I asked you to give him a chance of helping you out of your troubles, but I’d rather you gave me the chance. . . . You see, John would be very unhappy if he knew that I knew this; and he would have to tell me, because when a man has been happily married to anybody for twenty-eight years, he can’t really keep a secret from the other one.


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