Act II, page 26
ALGY. Pay it? How on earth am I to do that? You don’t suppose I’ve got any money? How perfectly silly you are! No gentleman ever has any money.
GRIBSBY. My experience is that it is usually relations who pay.
ALGY. Jack, you really must settle this bill.
JACK. Kindly allow me to see the particular items, Mr. Gribsby. £762, 14 shillings, and tupence since last October. I am bound to say, I never saw such reckless extravagance in all my life.
MISS PRISM. £762, for eating?
CHASUBLE. It is certainly painful proof of the disgraceful luxury of the age. We are far and away from Wordsworth’s “plain living and high thinking”.
JACK. And now, dear Doctor, do you consider that I am in any way called upon to pay this monstrous account of my brother’s?
CHASUBLE. I am bound to say that I do not.
MISS PRISM. This proposed incarceration could be most salutary.
JACK. I am quite of your opinion.
ALGY. I cannot fathom how ridiculous you are. You know perfectly well that this bill is really yours.
ALGY. Yes, you know it is.
CHASUBLE. Mr. Worthing, if this is a jest, it is out of place.
MISS PRISM. It is gross effrontery.
JACK. Never mind what he says. This is the way he is always going on. You mean now to say that you are not Earnest Worthing, residing at B4, The Albany? I wonder, as you’re at it, that you don’t deny being my brother, at all. Why don’t you?
ALGY. Well, I’m not going to do that, my dear fellow. It would be absurd! Of course, I’m your brother. And that is why you should pay this bill for me.
GRIBSBY. Time presses. We have to be at Holloway not later than four o’clock. Otherwise it is very difficult to obtain admission. The rules are very strict.
GRIBSBY. It is at Holloway that detentions of this character take place always. Will you kindly come now, sir, if it will not be inconvenient to you.
ALGY. I’m not going to be imprisoned in the suburbs for dining in the West End. It’s ridiculous. Jack!
MISS PRISM. Pray, be firm, Mr. Worthing.
JACK. I’m quite firm, but I don’t know what weakness or deception of any kind is.
CECILY. Uncle Jack, I think you have a little money of mine, haven’t you? Let me pay this bill. I wouldn’t like your own brother to be in prison.
JACK. Oh, I couldn’t possibly let you pay it, Cecily. It would be absurd.
CECILY. Then you will, won’t you? Of course, I’m quite disappointed with him.
JACK. You won’t speak to him again, Cecily, will you?
CECILY. Certainly not. Unless, of course, he speaks to me first. It would be very rude not to answer him.
JACK. Mr. Gribsby?
GRIBSBY. Yes sir?