Professor Henry Higgins
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Quotes for
Professor Henry Higgins (Character)
from My Fair Lady (1964)

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My Fair Lady (1964)
Professor Henry Higgins: She's so deliciously low. So horribly dirty.

Professor Henry Higgins: Eliza, you are to stay here for the next six months learning to speak beautifully, like a lady in a florist's shop. If you work hard and do as you're told, you shall sleep in a proper bedroom, have lots to eat, and money to buy chocolates and go for rides in taxis. But if you are naughty and idle, you shall sleep in the back kitchen amongst the black beetles, and be wolloped by Mrs. Pearce with a broomstick. At the end of six months you will be taken to Buckingham Palace, in a carriage, beautifully dressed. If the king finds out you are not a lady, you will be taken to the Tower of London, where your head will be cut off as a warning to other presumptuous flower girls! But if you are not found out, you shall have a present... of, ah... seven and six to start life with as a lady in a shop. If you refuse this offer, you will be the most ungrateful, wicked girl, and the angels will weep for you.

Professor Henry Higgins: Damn, damn, damn, DAMN!
[astonished]
Professor Henry Higgins: I've grown accustomed to her face! She almost makes the day begin! I've grown accustomed to the tune that she whistles night and noon. Her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs, are second nature to me now, like breathing out and breathing in... I was serenely independent and content before we met! Surely I could always be that way again... And yet... I've grown accustomed to her looks, accustomed to her voice, accustomed... to her... face.

Professor Henry Higgins: Marry Freddy! What an infantile idea, what a heartless, wicked, brainless thing to do. She'll regret it. She'll regret it! It's doomed before they even take the vow.
[sings]
Professor Henry Higgins: I can see her now, "Mrs. Freddy Einsford-Hill," in a wretched little flat above a store. I can see her now! Not a penny in the till, and a bill-collector beating at the door! She'll try to teach the things *I* taught her... and end up selling flowers instead! Begging for her bread and water! While her husband has his breakfast in bed! In a year or so, when she's prematurely gray, and the blossom in her cheek has turned to chalk, she'll come home, and lo! He'll have upped and run away with a social climbing heiress from New York! Poor Eliza! How simply frightful! How humiliating! How *delightful*!

Professor Henry Higgins: How poignant it will be on that inevitable night, when she shows up on my door in tears and rags! Miserable and lonely, repentant and contrite! Shall I take her in, or hurl her to the wolves? Give her kindness, or the treatment she deserves? Will I take her back, or THROW THE BAGGAGE OUT? Well, I'm a most forgiving man. The sort who never could, ever would, take a position and staunchly never budge. A *most* forgiving man... But, I shall NEVER take her back! If she were crawling on her KNEES! Let her promise to atone, let her shiver, let her moan, I'll slam the door and let the hellcat FREEZE! Marry Freddy! HA!
[turns to unlock the door, but stops in despair]
Professor Henry Higgins: But I'm so used to hear her say, "Good morning" every day... Her joys, her woes, her highs, her lows, are second nature to me now, like breathing out and breathing in... I'm very grateful she's a woman, and so easy to forget! Rather like a habit one can always break... And yet... I've grown accustomed to the trace... of something in the air... Accustomed... to her... face.

Professor Henry Higgins: Why can't a woman be more like a man?

Professor Henry Higgins: She's an owl, sickened by a few days of *my* sunshine.

Professor Henry Higgins: Mother!
Mrs. Higgins: What is it, Henry? What's happened?
Professor Henry Higgins: [quietly, bewildered] She's gone.
Mrs. Higgins: Well, of course, dear, what did you expect?
Professor Henry Higgins: What... what am I to do?
Mrs. Higgins: Do without, I suppose.
[pause]
Professor Henry Higgins: And so I shall! If the Higgins oxygen burns up her little lungs, let her seek some stuffiness that suits her. She's an owl sickened by a few days of my sunshine. Very well, let her go, I can do without her. I can do without anyone. I have my own soul! My own spark of divine fire!
[storms outs]
Mrs. Higgins: Bravo, Eliza.

Eliza Doolittle: [singing] I shall not feel alone without you, I can stand on my own without you. So go back in your shell, I can do bloody well without...
Professor Henry Higgins: [singing] By George, I really did it, I did it, I did it! I said I'd make a woman and indeed, I did. I knew that I could do it, I knew it, I knew it! I said I'd make a woman and succeed, I did!
[speaking]
Professor Henry Higgins: Eliza, you're magnificent. Five minutes ago, you were a millstone around my neck, and now you're a tower of strength, a consort battleship. I like you this way.
[pause]
Eliza Doolittle: Goodbye, Professor Higgins. You shall not be seeing me again.

Professor Henry Higgins: You see, the great secret, Eliza, is not a question of good manners or bad manners, or any particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls. The question is not whether I treat you rudely, but whether you've ever heard me treat anyone else better.
Eliza Doolittle: I don't care how you treat me. I don't mind your swearing at me. I shouldn't mind a black eye; I've had one before this. But I won't be passed over!
Professor Henry Higgins: Well then, get out of my way, for I won't stop for you. You talk about me as though I were a motor bus.
Eliza Doolittle: So you are a motor bus! All bounce and go, and no consideration for anybody. But I can get along without you. Don't you think I can't!
Professor Henry Higgins: I know you can. I told you you could.
[pause]
Professor Henry Higgins: [quietly] You've never wondered, I suppose, whether... whether I could get along without you.
Eliza Doolittle: Well, you have my voice on your phonograph. When you feel lonesome without me you can turn it on. It has no feelings to hurt.
Professor Henry Higgins: I... I can't turn your soul on.
Eliza Doolittle: Ooh, you are a *devil*. You can twist the heart in a girl the same way some fellows twist her arms to hurt her!

Colonel Hugh Pickering: I'll have you know, Doolittle, that Mr. Higgins' intentions are entirely honorable!
Alfred P. Doolittle: Oh, 'course they are, guv'nor. If I thought they wasn't, I'd ask fifty.
Professor Henry Higgins: [shocked] You mean to say you'd sell your daughter for fifty pounds?
Colonel Hugh Pickering: Have you NO morals, man?
Alfred P. Doolittle: Nah. Nah, can't afford 'em, guv'nor. Neither could you, if you was as poor as me.

Professor Henry Higgins: I know your head aches; I know you're tired; I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher's window. But think what you're trying to accomplish. Think what you're dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language, it's the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that ever flowed through the hearts of men are contained in its extraordinary, imaginative, and musical mixtures of sounds. And that's what you've set yourself out to conquer Eliza. And conquer it you will.

Professor Henry Higgins: *You* won my bet? You presumptuous insect, *I* won it.

Professor Henry Higgins: All right, Eliza, say it again.
Eliza Doolittle: The rine in spine sties minely in the pline.
Professor Henry Higgins: [sighs] The *rain* in *Spain* stays *mainly* in the *plain*.
Eliza Doolittle: Didn't ah sy that?
Professor Henry Higgins: No, Eliza, you didn't "sy" that, you didn't even "say" that. Now every night before you get into bed, where you used to say your prayers, I want you to say "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain" fifty times. You'll get much further with the Lord if you learn not to offend His ears.

Professor Henry Higgins: [singing] Women are irrational, that's all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags. They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags!

Colonel Hugh Pickering: Are you a man of good character where women are concerned?
Professor Henry Higgins: Have you ever met a man of good character where women are concerned?
Colonel Hugh Pickering: Yes, very frequently.
Professor Henry Higgins: Well, I haven't. I find that the moment a woman makes friends with me she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious, and a damn nuisance. And I find that the moment I make friends with a woman I become selfish and tyrannical. So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so.

Professor Henry Higgins: The question is not whether I've treated you rudely but whether you've ever heard me treat anyone else better.

Professor Henry Higgins: May I ask, do you complain of your treatment here?
Eliza Doolittle: No.
Professor Henry Higgins: Has anyone behaved badly? Colonel Pickering, Mrs. Pearce?
Eliza Doolittle: No.
Professor Henry Higgins: You certainly don't pretend that I have treated you badly?
Eliza Doolittle: No.

Professor Henry Higgins: You impudent hussy!

Professor Henry Higgins: The French don't care what they do actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

Professor Henry Higgins: I've learned something from your idiotic notions, I confess that; humbly and gratefully.

Professor Henry Higgins: By George, Eliza, the streets will be strewn with the bodies of men shooting themselves for your sake before I'm done with you.

Mrs. Higgins: Where's the girl now?
Professor Henry Higgins: She's being pinned. Some of the clothes we bought her didn't quite fit. I told Pickering we should have taken her with us.

Professor Henry Higgins: There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven't used it for years.

Professor Henry Higgins: Damn Mrs. Pearce; damn the coffee; and damn you!

Professor Henry Higgins: Damn, damn, damn, damn!

Professor Henry Higgins: Shall we ask this baggage to sit down or shall we just throw her out of the window?

Professor Henry Higgins: Have some chocolates, Eliza.
Eliza Doolittle: [halting, tempted] 'Ow do I know what might be in 'em? I've 'eard o' girls bein' drugged by the likes o' you.
Professor Henry Higgins: [Takes a chocolate and breaks it in half] Pledge of good faith. I'll take one half...
[puts one half into his mouth and bolts it; then pops the other half into Eliza's mouth]
Professor Henry Higgins: And you take the other. You'll have boxes of them, barrels of them. You'll live on them, eh?
Eliza Doolittle: [Eliza chews hesitatingly] I wouldn't've et it, only I'm too ladylike to take it out o' me mouth.
Professor Henry Higgins: Think of it, Eliza. Think of chocolates. And taxis...! And gold! And diamonds!
Eliza Doolittle: Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-oo! I don't want no gold and no diamonds! I'm a good girl, I am!

[last lines]
Professor Henry Higgins: Eliza? Where the devil are my slippers?

Professor Henry Higgins: You might marry, you know. You see, Eliza, all men are not confirmed old bachelors like myself and the Colonel. Most men are the marrying sort, poor devils. And you're not bad-looking; you're really quite a pleasure to look at sometimes. Not now, of course, when you've been crying, you look like the very devil; but when you're all right, and quite yourself, you're what I would call... attractive.

Professor Henry Higgins: Oh, Pickering, for God's sake stop being dashed and do something!

Professor Henry Higgins: By George, she's got it! By George she's got it! Now once again, where does it rain?
Eliza Doolittle: [sings] On the plain, on the plain.
Professor Henry Higgins: And where's that soggy plain?
Eliza Doolittle: [sings] In Spain, in Spain!

Mrs. Pearce: Here's the mail, sir.
Professor Henry Higgins: Well pay the bills, and say "No" to the invitations.

Professor Henry Higgins: Would I run off and never tell me where I'm going?

Professor Henry Higgins: I paid five pounds for her. She's mine!

Eliza Doolittle: [crying] What's to become of me, what's to become of me?
Professor Henry Higgins: You know Eliza, you might marry. Not all men are confirmed old bachelors like me and the colonel, most are the marrying sort. And you're not bad looking, you might even be what I call *atractive*. But not now. You've been crying at look like the very Devil himself.

Professor Henry Higgins: By George, she's got it! BY GEORGE, SHE'S GOT IT!


Pygmalion (1938)
Prof. Henry Higgins: If you can't appreciate what you've got, you'd better get what you can appreciate.

Professor Henry Higgins: Where the devil are my slippers, Eliza?

Prof. Henry Higgins: Yes, you squashed cabbage leaf, you disgrace to the noble architecture of these columns, you incarnate insult to the English language, I could pass you off as the Queen of Sheba!

Prof. Henry Higgins: [directed to Eliza in anger] Get out and come home and don't be a fool!
Mrs. Higgins: Very nicely put indeed, Henry. No woman could resist such an invitation.

Prof. Henry Higgins: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plains.

Prof. Henry Higgins: Heaven help the master who is judged by his disciples.

Eliza Doolittle: What's to become of me?
Prof. Henry Higgins: Oh, so that's what's worrying you, is it? Ooh, you'll settle down somewhere or other. But I hadn't quite realized... that you were going away.

Prof. Henry Higgins: You might marry you know? Youre not bad-looking; it's quite a pleasure to look at you sometimes-not now, of course, because youre crying and looking as ugly as the very devil; but when youre all right and quite yourself, youre what I should call attractive. That is, to the people in the marrying line, you understand. You go to bed and have a good nice rest; and then get up and look at yourself in the glass; and you wont feel so cheap.

Prof. Henry Higgins: Have you no morals man?
Alfred Doolittle: Can't afford them guv'nor.