Eliza froze in the open doorway to the library, unsure of her next move. She could only stare at the back of the professor's tweed hat. HIs hat was the only part of him visible, a remarkable fact only because, considering his height, one should think such a small chair would have difficulty hiding him. But most did not know him as Eliza did. Eliza knew Professor Higgins to be a champion sloucher. He sat in chairs and leaned against walls as if his skin were oozing off of his skeleton. Having met and conversed with his mother on several occasions Eliza often wondered what instructing Little Henry had been like and how many chastisements it took before the poor woman gave up entirely.
These musings were only keeping Eliza rooted to her spot in the doorway. Moments ago, before he had grumbled about his slippers and slouched into his semi-slumbering state, he'd given her the dimmest ray of hope. Eliza had left the previous evening in a tirade of justifiable anger. The ball had been a triumph in every way except the one she hadn't known mattered to her. She had done Colonel Pickering and Professor Higgins proud. She'd said all the right things and executed every dance perfectly. And, most importantly of all, she hadn't let on to a soul she wasn't the well bred, brought up young lady everyone assumed her to be. Even that borish old student of the Professor's who thought so much of himself. Even he was fooled! It all seemed rather easy to Eliza. Oh, she was terrified at first. She was sure she was going to fall on her face or accidentally swear like she did at the races. At first it felt like the whole world would see right through her. She only had the courage to go at all because HE said she could do it. She'd do almost anything for him. Only he was so busy ordering her about he could hardly notice. Mrs. Pierce, the housekeeper, got more kind words from him than Eliza did. Most of the time Eliza felt like a doll he liked to dress up and teach to talk and sit up straight and not to embarrass anyone. Most of the time she didn't think he thought of her as a person at all. But then, there were sometimes - only moments really - when he seemed to really see her. Those were the times she lived for. At the ball she danced with many fine men, chatted with fine ladies, even the prince wanted to dance with her! But it was when the professor took her in his arms that she felt like a princess.
But after the ball the spell wasn't just broken, it was shattered. She felt like the doll again, only playtime was over and she had been chucked in a corner. They stood there congratulating themselves on how marvelous they were and how they were glad it was all over. It broke Eliza's heart. She was saddened to the depth of her soul. She felt even worse than she did back in the gutter selling stolen flowers and brushing off the advances of drunken slobs. So what could she do? She shouted at the Professor, packed her bag and stormed out of the house. Finding Freddie in the street was a surprise, to be sure she'd quite forgotten about him. Which is rather embarrassing considering the notes and flowers he'd sent her in the last few weeks. Each time Mrs. Pierce announced another arrival Professor HIggins would shout rude comments and call Freddie names. Eliza couldn't understand why he disliked Freddie so much, he had introduced them after all. Were the flowers and notes such an annoyance to him? Was it so hard for him to believe that a man might want to pay attentions toward her? Not that she was interested in the least, Freddie's attentions borderlined on the obsessive. And his prose was unimaginative and more than a little repetitive. Still, it was nice to be noticed. Letting Freddie down nicely today proved to be rather difficult. At first he simply wouldn't take no for an answer, he kept reassuring Eliza that his "boundless adoration" would win her over. When she finally did get her feeling through to him he dissolved into such a pathetic puddle of depression she had to call Mrs. Higgins back into the room to help calm him. Even then it took several glasses of sherry and Mrs. Higgins' promise to introduce him to a few young ladies in her acquaintance. Eliza could only hope that another young lady might find Freddie's attentions less - smothering. They'd only had a moment to sort themselves out, after having a footman pour Freddie into a cab and send him home, before the professor had arrived. He drove through the house in a cold wind, rattling the door jambs and the window panes in his anger and bewilderment. It was the bewilderment that intrigued and surprised Eliza. She'd expected the anger, it was his only emotion unless one counted intellectual curiosity. But the bewilderment caught her off guard. He actually didn't understand why she'd left! Could it be that he didn't know how awfully he'd treated her? Did he expect her to stay? Did he WANT her to stay? If he didn't want her to stay then what was he doing there? Why was he looking for her at all? It would have been so easy for him to simply move on to his next project. But he hadn't. The ice Eliza had started coating her heart with, thawed just a little.