Act II, page 36

 

CECILY.    (Breaking away from ALGY) Algernon Moncrieff? Oh! (To ALGY) Are you called Algernon?

ALGY.    I cannot deny it!

CECILY.    Oh! (Crosses to GWENDOLINE. The Two GIRLS move toward each other and put their arms round each other's waists as if for protection.)

GWENDOLINE. Is your name really John?

JACK.    (Standing rather proudly) I could deny it if I liked.  I could deny anything I liked.  But my name certainly is John. It has been John for years.

CECILY.    (To GWENDOLINE)  A gross deception has been practiced on both of us.

GWENDOLINE. My poor wounded Cecily!

CECILY.    My sweet wronged Gwendoline!

GWENDOLINE. (Slowly and seriously ) You will call me sister, will you not? (They embrace.   JACK and ALGY groan and walk up and down.)

CECILY.    (Rather brightly) There is just one question I would like to be allowed to ask my guardian.

GWENDOLINE. An admirable idea! Mr. Worthing, there is just one question I would like to be permitted to put to you. Where is your brother Ernest?  We are both engaged to be married to your brother Ernest, so it is a matter of some importance to us to know where your brother Ernest is at present.

JACK.    (Slowly and hesitatingly) Gwendoline. Cecily. It is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth.  It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind. However, I will tell you quite frankly that I have no brother Ernest. I have no brother at all. I never had a brother in my life. And I certainly have not the slightest intention of ever having one in the future. (ALGY, who has been seated, turns in chair.)

CECILY.    (Surprised) No brother at all?

JACK.    (Cheerily) None!

GWENDOLINE. (Severely approaching him) Have you never had a brother of any kind?

JACK.    (Pleasantly) Never. Not even of any kind.

GWENDOLINE. I am afraid it is quite clear, Cecily, that neither of us is engaged to be married to any one.

CECILY.    It is not a very pleasant position for a young girl to suddenly find herself in, is it?

GWENDOLINE. Let us go into the house. (Taking CECILY away.) They will hardly venture to come after us there.

CECILY.    No, men are so cowardly, aren't, they! (Exeunt into house with scornful look.)

    (ALGY kicks JACK, and JACK returns it spitefully.)

JACK.    This ghastly state of things is what you call Bunburying, I suppose.

ALGY.    Yes, and a perfectly wonderful Bunbury it is. The most wonderful Bunbury I have ever had in my life.

JACK.    Well, you've no right whatsoever to Bunbury here.

ALGY.    That is absurd.  One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses.  Every serious Bunburyist knows that.

JACK.    Serious Bunburyists!  Good heavens!

Rob Storrs