Rob Storrs

Act I, page 13

 

LADY BRACKNELL. A country house? How many bedrooms?  Well, that point can be cleared up afterwards., (Makes note) You have a town house, I hope? A girl with a simple unspoiled nature like Gwendoline could hardly be expected to reside in the country.

JACK.    Well, I own a house in Belgrave Square, but it is let by the year to Lady Bloxham. Of course I can get it back whenever I like, at six months' notice.

LADY BRACKNELL. (Severely) Lady Bloxam? I don't know her.

JACK.    Oh, she goes about very little. She's a lady considerably advanced in years.

LADY BRACKNELL. Ah, nowadays that is no guarantee of respectability of character. What number in Belgrave Square?

JACK.    One hundred and forty-nine.

LADY BRACKNELL. (Closing pocket-book) The unfashionable side. I thought there was something.  However, that could easily be altered.

JACK.    Do you mean the fashion or the side?

LADY BRACKNELL.  Both, if necessary, I presume. What are your politics?

JACK.    Well, I’m afraid I really have none.    I’m a liberal unionist.

LADY BRACKNELL.  Oh, they count as Tories.  They dine with us, or come in the evening, at any rate.  Now to minor matters. Are your parents living?

JACK.    I have lost both my parents.

LADY BRACKNELL. Both? To lose one' parent may be regarded as a misfortune -to lose both seems like carelessness. Who was your father? He seems to have been a man of wealth. Was he born in what the Radical papers call the purple of commerce, or did he rise from the ranks of the aristocracy?

JACK.    I am afraid I really don't know. The fact is, Lady Bracknell, I said I had lost my parents. It would be nearer the truth to say that my parents seem to have lost me -I don't actually know who I am, by birth. I was -well- I was found.

LADY BRACKNELL. Found !

JACK.    The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an elderly gentleman of a very charitable and kindly disposition, found me, and gave me the name of Worthing, because he happened to have a first class ticket for Worthing in his pocket at the time.  Worthing is a place in Sussex.  It is a seaside resort.

LADY BRACKNELL. Where did the charitable gentleman who had a first class ticket for this seaside resort find you?

JACK.    (Gravely) In a handbag.

LADY BRACKNELL. A handbag!

JACK.    (Very seriously) Yes, Lady Bracknell. I was found in a handbag- a somewhat large leather handbag, with handles to it -an ordinary handbag, in fact.

LADY BRACKNELL. In what locality did this Mr. James or Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?

JACK.    In the cloakroom at Victoria Station. It was given him in mistake for his own.

LADY BRACKNELL.  A cloakroom at Victoria Station!

JACK.    The Brighton Line.

LADY BRACKNELL. The line is immaterial!  Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me.  To be born, or at any rate, bred, in a handbag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary