Act II, page 29
CECILY It can wait, Merriman -for five minutes.
MERRIMAN. Yes, Miss. (Exit.)
ALGY. (Pulls out his watch; rises) I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.
CECILY. I think your frankness does you great credit, Ernest. If you will allow me I will copy your remarks into my diary. (Goes over to table and begins writing in diary.)
ALGY. Do you really keep a diary? I'd give anything to look at it. May I?
CECILY. Oh, no! (Puts hand over it) You see, it is simply a very young girl's record of her own thoughts and impressions, and consequently meant for publication. When it appears in volume form, I hope you will order a copy. But pray, Ernest, don't stop. I delight in taking down from dictation. I have reached "absolute perfection." You can go on. I am quite ready for more.
CECILY. Oh, don’t cough, Earnest. When one is dictating, one should speak fluently and not cough. Besides, I don’t know how to spell a cough.
ALGY. (Speaking very rapidly) Cecily, ever since I first looked upon your wonderful and incomparable beauty, I have not been merely your abject slave and servant, but soaring on the pinions of a possibly monstrous ambition, I have dared to love you wildly, passionately, devotedly, hopelessly.
CECILY. Oh — please say that all over again.
ALGY. Cecily, ever since I first looked upon your…
CECILY. I’ve got all that all right.
ALGY. I have dared to love you wildly, passionately, devotedly, hopelessly.
CECILY. I don't think you should tell me that you love me wildly, passionately, devotedly, hopelessly. Hopelessly doesn't seem to make much sense, does it?
CECILY. Is that the beginning of an entirely new paragraph?
MERRIMAN. (Enters.) The dog-cart is waiting, sir.
ALGY. Tell it to come round next week at the same hour.
MERRIMAN. (Looking at CECILY, who makes no sign) Yes, sir. (Exit.)
CECILY. Uncle Jack would be very much annoyed if he knew you were staying on till next week, at the same hour.
ALGY. Oh, I don't care about Jack. I don't care for anybody in the whole world but you. I love you, Cecily. You will marry me, won't you?
CECILY. You silly boy! Of course. Why, we have been engaged for the last six months.
ALGY. For the last three months?
CECILY. Yes. It will be exactly three months on Thursday.
ALGY. But how did we become engaged?
CECILY. Well- ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you, of course, have formed the chief topic of