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Word Count: 1,104
In the preface Shaw describes the Oxford phonetician Henry Sweet on whomProfessor Higgins is modeled but warns us that Higgins is not a portrait of Sweet Shawsays that he wrote the play in order to make the English aware of the importance ofphonetics and he is grateful that the play has been a great success on the stage Hecomplains that the way English is written has little to do with the way it is pronouncedand he pleads for a new alphabet and a reform in spellingA heavy late-night summer thunderstorm opens the play Caught in the unexpecteddownpour passersby from distinct strata of the London streets are forced to seek sheltertogether under the portico of St Pauls church in Covent Garden The hapless Son isforced by his demanding sister and mother to go out into the rain to find a taxi eventhough there is none to be found In his hurry he knocks over the basket of a commonFlower Girl who says to him Nah then Freddy look wh y gowin deah After Freddyleaves the mother gives the Flower Girl money to ask how she knew her sons name onlyto learn that Freddy is a common by-word the Flower Girl would have used to addressAn elderly military Gentleman enters from the rain and the Flower Girl tries to sellhim a flower He gives her some change but a bystander tells her to be careful for it lookslike there is a police informer taking copious notes on her activities This leads tohysterical protestations on her part that she is only a poor girl who has done no wrongThe refugees from the rain crowd around her and the Note Taker with considerablehostility towards the latter whom they believe to be an undercover cop However eachtime someone speaks up this mysterious man has the amusing ability to determine wherethe person came from simply by listening to that persons speech which turns him intoThe rain clears leaving few other people
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