Act I, page 9

 

GWENDOLINE. Thanks, Mamma, I'm quite comfortable where I am.

ALGY.    (Picking up empty Plate) Good heavens, Lane!  Why, are there no cucumber sandwiches? I ordered them specially.

LANE.    There were no cucumbers in the market this morning, sir. I went down twice.

ALGY.    No cucumbers?

LANE.    No, sir- not even for ready money.

ALGY.    That will do, Lane, thank you.

LANE.    Thank you, sir. (Exit)

ALGY.    I'm greatly distressed, Aunt Augusta, about there being no cucumbers- not even for ready money.

LADY BRACKNELL.  It really makes no matter, Algernon. I had some crumpets with Lady Harbury, who seems to me to be living entirely for pleasure now.

ALGY.    I hear that her hair has turned quite gold from grief.

LADY BRACKNELL. It certainly has changed color. From what cause, I, of course, can't say. (ALGY crosses and hands tea) Thank you. I've quite a treat for you tonight, Algernon. (JACK gives GWENDOLINE tea.) I am going to send you down with Mary Farquhar. She is such a nice young woman, and so attentive to her husband. It's delightful to watch them.

ALGY.    I am afraid, Aunt Augusta, I shall have to give up the pleasure of dining with you tonight after all.

LADY BRACKNELL. I hope not, Algernon. It would put my table completely out. Your poor uncle would have to dine upstairs. Fortunately he's accustomed to that.

ALGY.    It is a great bore, and I need hardly say a terrible disappointment to me, but the fact is I have just had a telegram to say that my poor friend Bunbury is very ill again. (Exchanges glances with JACK) They seem to think I should be with him.

LADY BRACKNELL. It is very strange. This Mr. Bunbury seems to suffer from curiously bad health.

ALGY.    Yes; poor Bunbury is a dreadful invalid.

LADY BRACKNELL. Well, I must say. Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd. Nor do I in any way approve of this modern sympathy with invalids.  I consider it morbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.  Health is the primary duty of life. I am always telling that to your poor uncle, but he never seems to take any notice- as far as improvement in his many ailments goes. I would be much obliged if you would ask Mr. Bunbury, from me, to be kind enough not to have a relapse on Saturday, for I rely on you to arrange my music for me. It is my last reception- and one wants something that will encourage conversation- particularly at the end of the season when everyone has practically said whatever they have to say, which in most cases was probably not much.

ALGY.    I'll speak to Bunbury, Aunt Augusta- if he is still conscious, and I think I can promise you he'll be all right on Saturday. Of course the music is a great difficulty.  You see, when one plays good music, people don’t listen.  And if one plays bad music, people

Rob Storrs