Rob Storrs

Act II, page 18


SCENE: Garden at the Manor House. Door leading into house. The garden is an old-fashioned one, full of roses, yew hedges, etc. Time of year, July. Basket chairs, and table covered with books.  MISS PRISM discovered seated at table. CECILY, watering flowers.

MISS PRISM.    (On settee, calling) Cecily! Cecily! Surely such utilitarian occupations as watering the plants is rather Moulton's duty than yours, especially at a moment when intellectual pleasures await you.  Your German [2] grammar is on the table.  Pray open it at page fifteen.  We will repeat yesterday's lesson.

CECILY.    But I don't like German. It isn't at all a becoming language. I know perfectly well that I always look quite plain after my German lesson.

MISS PRISM. Child, you know how anxious your guardian is that you should improve yourself in every way. He laid particular stress on your German, as he was leaving for town yesterday.  Indeed he always lays stress on your German when he is leaving for town.

CECILY.    Dear Uncle Jack is so very serious -sometimes he is so serious that I think he cannot be quite well.

MISS PRISM. Your guardian enjoys the best of health -and his gravity of demeanor is specially to be commended in one so comparatively young as he is. I know no one who has a higher sense of duty and responsibility.

CECILY.    I suppose that is why he so often looks a little bored when we three are together.

MISS PRISM. Cecily, I am surprised at you!  Mr. Worthing has many troubles in his life. Idle merriment and triviality would be out of place in his conversation. You must remember his constant anxiety about that unfortunate young man, his brother.

CECILY.    I wish Uncle Jack would allow that unfortunate young man, his brother, to come here sometimes. We might have a good influence over him, Miss Prism. I am sure you certainly would.  You know German and geology, and things of that kind influence a man so much. (Begins to write in her diary.)

MISS PRISM. (Shaking her head) I do not think that even I would produce any effect on a character that, according to his own brother's admission, is irretrievably weak and vacillating. Indeed, l am not sure that I would desire to reclaim him. I am not in favor of this modern mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice.  As a man sows, so let him reap.  You must put away your diary, Cecily. I really don't see why you should keep a diary at all.

CECILY.    I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down I would probably forget all about them.

MISS PRISM. Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary we all carry about with us.

CECILY.    Yes, but it usually chronicles the things that have never happened and couldn't possibly have happened. I believe that memory is responsible for nearly all the three-volume novels that Mudie sends us. (Puts diary on table.)