Act II, page 21
CECILY. I don’t think you will require neckties. Uncle Jack is sending you to Australia.
ALGY. Australia! I’d sooner die.
CECILY. Well, he said at dinner on Wednesday night you would have to choose between this world, the next world, and Australia.
ALGY. Oh, well. The accounts I have received of Australia and the next world are not encouraging. This world is good enough for me, Cousin Cecily.
CECILY. Yes, but are you good enough for it?
ALGY. I'm afraid I'm not that. That is why I want you to reform me. You might make that your mission, if you don't mind, Cousin Cecily.
CECILY. I'm afraid I've no time this afternoon.
ALGY. Well, would you mind my reforming myself, this afternoon?
CECILY. It is rather quixotic of you -but I think you should try.
ALGY. I will. I feel better already.
CECILY. You are looking a little worse.
ALGY. That is because I am hungry.
CECILY. How thoughtless of me. I should have remembered that when one is going to lead an entirely new life, one requires regular and wholesome meals. Won't you come in?
ALGY. Thank you. Might I have a buttonhole first? I never have any appetite unless I have a buttonhole first.
CECILY. A Maréchal Niel?
ALGY. No, I'd sooner have a pink rose.
CECILY. Why? (Cuts flower.)
ALGY. Because you are like a pink rose, Cousin Cecily.
CECILY. I don't think it can be right for you to talk to me like that. Miss Prism never says such things to me.
ALGY. Then Miss Prism is a very short-sighted old lady. (CECILY offers him rose and puts it in his buttonhole.) You are the prettiest girl I ever saw.
CECILY. Miss Prism says that all good looks are a snare.
ALGY. They are a snare that every sensible man would like to be caught in.
CECILY. Oh, I don't think I would care to catch a sensible man. I wouldn't know what to talk to him about. (Exeunt into house.)
MISS PRISM. (Enters with CHASUBLE) Where is Cecily? You are too much alone, dear Doctor Chasuble. You should get married. A misanthrope I can understand --a womanthrope, never!
CHASUBLE. Believe me, I do not deserve so Neologistic a phrase. The precept, as well as the practice, of the Primitive Church was distinctly against matrimony.
MISS PRISM. That is obviously the reason why the Primitive Church has not lasted up to the present day. And you do not seem to realize, dear Doctor, that by persistently remaining single, a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation. Men should be more careful; this very celibacy leads weaker vessels astray.
CHASUBLE. But is a man not equally attractive when married?
MISS PRISM. No married man is ever attractive except to his wife.
CHASUBLE. And often, I've been told, not even to her.