Act I, page 14
decencies of family life that remind one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution —and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to? As for the particular locality in which the handbag was found, a cloakroom at a railway station might serve to conceal a social indiscretion -has probably, indeed, been used for that purpose before now-but it can hardly he regarded as an assured basis for a recognized position in good society.
JACK. May I ask you then what you would advise me to do? I need hardly say I would do anything in the world to insure Gwendoline's happiness.
LADY BRACKNELL. I would strongly advise you, Mr. Worthing, to try and acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to make a definite effort to produce, at any rate, one parent, of either sex, before the season is quite over.
JACK. Well, I don't see how I can possibly manage to do that. I can produce the handbag at any moment. It is in my dressing-room at home! I really think that should satisfy you, Lady Bracknell.
LADY BRACKNELL. Me, sir? What has it to do with me ? You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter -a girl brought up with the utmost care- to marry into a cloakroom, and form an alliance with a parcel. Kindly open the door for me, sir. (JACK does so.) You are to understand that for the future, there is to be no communication whatsoever between you and Miss Fairfax. Good day, Mr. Worthing. (Exits.)
JACK. Good day.(ALGERNON, inside, strikes up “The Wedding March” JACK looks perfectly furious, then runs off into room.) For goodness sake, don't play that ghastly tune, Algy!
(Re-enters) How idiotic you are!
ALGY. (Enters. Cheerily) Didn't it go off all right, old boy? You don't mean to say Gwendoline refused you? I know it is a way she has. She’s always refusing people. I think it is most ill-natured of her.
JACK. Gwendoline is as right as a trivet. As far as Gwendoline is concerned, we are engaged. Her mother is perfectly unbearable. Never met such a gorgon. I don’t even know what a gorgon is, but I’m quite sure Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster without being a myth, which rather unfair. I beg your pardon, Algy.. I suppose I shouldn’t talk about your own aunt before you in that way.
ALGY. My dear boy, I love hearing my relations abused. It is the only thing that makes me put up with them at all. Relations are nothing but a tedious pack of people who haven’t the remotest knowledge of how to live, or the smallest instinct about when to die.
JACK. Oh, that is nonsense.
ALGY. It isn’t.
JACK. Well I won’t argue about them; you always want to argue about them.
ALGY. But that is exactly what things were originally made for.