‘George Borrow’s Visit – part 1’ A monologue by Caroline Briggs-Harris

The Rows in 1860

HENRIETTA, STANDING OUTSIDE (INSIDE?) THE PIED BULL INN, NORTHGATE:

I am sick of this.

My mum met this bloke.  George he’s called.  George Borrow.  After they met, it was George this, George that.  I could tell she had fallen for him.  Big time.  And then it happened.

They got married.

I can’t believe that she managed to find another husband, at her age, and that I am seemingly to be left on the shelf forever, an ageing spinster.

But I can’t be trusted to be on my own.  Oh no.  I have to be with THEM.  It’s unbearable. I cannot STAND it.  The constant rocking of the carriage on the interminable roads.  The stench of horse sweat.  I don’t even like bloody horses.

The actor looking angry and pointing at the camera
Caroline Briggs-Harris

They can’t keep their hands off each other in the carriage – him tipsy on whatever the local ale of the parish might be, and her tipsy on his bank balance.

I just have to gaze out of the window, pretending I am not there.  Looking out on whatever bit of the flaming country we have to travel to next.  We’re going to go gallivanting into North Wales next, which I’ve heard is a very rude, primitive place.  All to satisfy his whims.  This is all about satisfying him.  Whether it’s my mother, or his thirst for new places.  Never mind what I think.  Or what I want.  Nobody ever asks.  I just tag along.

Chester wasn’t so bad.  It had some decent shops at least.  We stayed at the Pied Bull, a pleasant enough hostelry, and Mama and I went shopping.  It was tipping it down, but, because of the Rows, Chester is the only place we’ve ever visited where you can stay dry and out of the horse-muck when shopping.

George gave us quite a handsome amount to spend, after he’d experimented with the local ale and cheese at the Inn, which he actually spat out of the window into the street.  So embarrassing.  Said that he hated them both, that the taste was disgusting. 

Well, I hate him.  He has stolen my mother.  And he has stolen me, and my life.