Rob Storrs

Act III, page 39



SCENE: Morning-room at the Manor House. Double doors up, window, fireplace, chair, table.  GWENDOLINE and CECILY discovered at window.

GWENDOLINE. The fact that they did not at once follow us into the house, as anyone else would have done, seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left.

CECILY.    They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance.

GWENDOLINE.  They don’t seem to notice us at all!  Couldn’t you cough?

CECILY.    But I haven’t got a cough.

GWENDOLINE.  They're looking at us- what effrontery!

CECILY.    They're approaching, that's very forward of them. (JACK passes window, followed by ALGY.)

GWENDOLINE. Let us preserve a dignified silence.

CECILY.    Certainly. It's the only thing to do now.

(Both move down.)

(Enter JACK and ALGY; They whistle)

GWENDOLINE. This dignified silence seems to produce an unpleasant effect.

CECILY.    Most distasteful!

GWENDOLINE. But we will not be the first to speak.

CECILY.    Certainly not.

GWENDOLINE.  Mr. Worthing, I have something very particular to ask you. Much depends on your reply.

CECILY.    Gwendoline, your common sense is invaluable.  Mr. Moncrieff, kindly answer me the following question: Why did you pretend to be my guardian's brother?

ALGY.    In order that I might have an opportunity of meeting you.

CECILY.    That certainly seems a satisfactory explanation, does it not?

GWENDOLINE.    Yes, dear, if you can believe him.

CECILY.    I don’t!  But that does not affect the wonderful beauty of his answer.

GWENDOLINE.  True.  In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.  Mr. Worthing, what explanation can you offer to me for pretending to have a brother?  Was it in order that you might have an opportunity of coming up to town to see me as often as possible?

JACK.    Can you doubt it, Miss Fairfax?

GWENDOLINE.  I have the gravest doubts upon the subject, but I intend to crush them.  This is not the moment for German skepticism.

(JACK and ALGY both move together, like Siamese twins in every movement until both say “christened this afternoon." First to front of sofa, then fold hands together, then raise eyes to ceiling, then sit on sofa, unfold hands, lean back, tilting up legs, both feet off ground, then twitch trousers above knee, å la dude, so as not to crease them;