Rob Storrs

Act II, page 23

 

JACK.    Ah, that reminds me, you mentioned christenings, I think, Doctor Chasuble.  I suppose you know how to christen, all right? (CHASUBLE looks astounded.) I mean, of course, you are continually christening, aren't you?

MISS PRISM. It is, I regret to say, one of the Rector's most constant duties in this parish.  I have often spoken to the poorer classes on the subject. But they don't seem to know what thrift is.

CHASUBLE.  But is there any particular infant in whom you are interested, Mr. Worthing ? Your brother was, I believe, unmarried, was he not?

JACK.    (Mournfully) Oh, yes. Quite unmarried.

MISS PRISM. (Bitterly) People who live entirely for pleasure usually are.

JACK.    Oh, it is not for any child, dear Doctor.  I am very fond of children. No, the fact is, I would like to be christened myself, this afternoon, if you have nothing better to do.

CHASUBLE.  But surely, Mr. Worthing, you have been christened already.

JACK.    I don't remember anything about it.

CHASUBLE.  But do you have any grave doubts about the subject?

JACK.    I certainly intend to have.  Of course, I don't know if the thing would bother you in any way, or if you think I am a little too old now.

CHASUBLE.  Not at all. The sprinkling and indeed immersion of adults is a perfectly canonical practice.

JACK.    Immersion? (With a shudder.)

CHASUBLE.  Oh, no. You need have no apprehensions. Sprinkling is all that is necessary, or indeed I think advisable.  This weather is so changeable. What hour would you wish the ceremony to be performed?

JACK.    Oh, I might trot round about five, if that would suit you.

CHASUBLE.  Oh, perfectly! In fact I have two similar ceremonies to perform at that time. A case of twins that occurred recently in one of the outlying cottages on your own estate. Poor Jenkins, the carter, a most hard-working man.

JACK.    Oh! I don't see much fun in being christened along with other babies.  It would be childish!  Would half-past five do?

CHASUBLE.  Admirably, admirably! (Takes out watch) And now, dear Mr. Worthing, I wish not intrude any longer into a house of sorrow. I would merely beg you not to be too much bowed down by grief. What seem to us bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.

MISS PRISM.  This seems to me a blessing of an extremely obvious kind.

CECILY.    (Enters) Uncle Jack! Oh, I am pleased to see you back. What horrid clothes you have got on.  Do go and change them.

MISS PRISM. Cecily!

CHASUBLE.  My child!  My child!

CECILY.    (Goes toward JACK. He kisses her brow in a melancholy manner) What is the matter, Uncle Jack.  (JACK turns away, crying.) Do look happy! You look as if you had toothache, and I have got such a surprise. Who do you think is in the dining-room? Your brother!

JACK.    Who?