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The Importance Of Being Earnest Plays
Morning-room in Algernon’s flat in Half-Moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished. The sound of a piano is heard in the adjoining room.
[Lane is arranging afternoon tea on the table, and after the music has ceased, Algernon enters.]
ALGERNON. Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?
LANE. I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.
I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I don’t play accurately—anyone can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
LANE. Yes, sir.
ALGERNON. And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell?
LANE. Yes, sir. [Hands them on a salver.]
[Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa.] Oh!. . by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed.
LANE. Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.
ALGERNON. Why is it that at a bachelor’s establishment the servants invariably drink the champagne? I ask merely for information.
I attribute it to the superior quality of the wine, sir. I have often observed that in married households the champagne is rarely of a first-rate brand.
ALGERNON. Good heavens! Is marriage so demoralizing as that?
LANE. I believe it is a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been married once.
That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.
ALGERNON. [Languidly.] I don’t know that I am much interested in your family life, Lane.
LANE. No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never think of it myself.
ALGERNON. Very natural, I am sure. That will do, Lane, thank you.
LANE. Thank you, sir. [Lane goes out.]
ALGERNON. Lane’s views on marriage seem somewhat lax.
Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.
Yes. But why does your aunt call you her uncle ? ** From little Cecily, v^ith her fondest love to hel dear Uncle Jack.”
There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can’t quite make out. Besides, your name isn’t Jack at all ; it is Ernest.
Jack. It isn’t Ernest ; it’s Jack.
You have always told me it was Ernest. I have introduced you to every one as Ernest. You answer to the name of Ernest. You look as if your name was Ernest.
You are the most earnest looking person I ever saw in my life. It is perfectly absurd your saying that your name isn’t Ernest. It’s on your cards. Here is one of them. [Taking it from case.]
“Mr. Ernest Worthing, B 4, The Albany.” I’ll keep this as a proof your name is Ernest if ever you attempt to deny it to me, or to Gwendolen, or to any one else.
[Puts the card in his pocket.
Jack. Well, my name is Ernest in town and Jack in the country, and the cigarette case was given to me in the country.
Yes, but that does not account for the fact that your small Aunt Cecily, who lives at Tunbridge Wells, calls you her dear uncle. Come, old boy, you had much better have the thing out at once.
My dear Algy, you talk exactly as if you v^ere a dentist. It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn’t a dentist. It produces a false impression.
Well, that is exactly what dentists always do. Now, go on! Tell me the whole thing. I may mention that I have always suspected you of being a confirmed and secret Bunburyist; and I am quite sure of it now.
Bunburyist? What on earth do you mean by a Bunburyist ?
ril reveal to you the meaning of that incomparable expression as soon as you are kind enough to inform me why you are Ernest in town and Jack in the country.
Jack. Well, produce my cigarette case first.
|No. of Pages||124|
|PDF Size||7.9 MB|
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