Act III, page 41

 

           whose confidence I purchased by means of a small coin, I followed her at once by a luggage train. Her unhappy father is, I am glad to say, under the impression that she is attending a more than usually lengthy lecture by the university extension scheme on “The Influence of A Permanent Income on Thought”.  I do not propose to undeceive him. Indeed, I have never undeceived him on any question.  I would consider it wrong.  Of course, Mr. Worthing, you will clearly understand that all communication between yourself and my daughter must cease immediately from this moment. On this point as, indeed, on all points, I am firm.

JACK.    I am engaged to be married to Gwendoline, Lady Bracknell.

LADY BRACKNELL. You are nothing of the kind, sir. (To ALGY) And now as regards Algy -Algernon!

ALGY.    Yes, Aunt Augusta.

LADY BRACKNELL.  May I ask if it is in this house that your invalid friend, Mr. Bunbury, resides?

ALGY.    Oh, no! Bunbury doesn't live here. Bunbury is somewhere else at present. In fact Bunbury is dead!

LADY BRACKNELL.  Dead? When did Mr. Bunbury die?  His death must have been extremely sudden.

ALGY.    Oh, I killed Bunbury this afternoon. (Look from LADY BRACKNELL.)  I mean poor Bunbury died this afternoon.  I should say they’d found out that Bunbury could not live-  so Bunbury died.

LADY BRACKNELL.  What did he die of?

ALGY.    Oh, Bunbury quite exploded.

LADY BRACKNELL.  Exploded?  Was he the victim of a revolutionary outrage?  I was not aware that Mr. Bunbury was interested in social legislation.  If so, he is well punished for his morbidity!

ALGY.    My dear Aunt Augusta, I mean he was found out-  the doctors found out that Bunbury could not live.  That’s what I mean.  So poor Bunbury died.

LADY BRACKNELL.  Really, he seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians.  I am glad, however, that he made up his mind at the last to take some definite course of action, and acted under proper medical advice.  And now that we have buried Mr. Bunbury at last, may I ask, Mr. Worthing, who is that young person whose hand my nephew Algernon is now holding in what seems to me a peculiarly unnecessary manner?

JACK.    That, Lady Bracknell, is Miss Cecily Cardew, my ward.  (LADY BRACKNELL bows coldly to CECILY.)

ALGY.    I am engaged to be married to Cecily, Aunt Augusta.

LADY BRACKNELL. I beg your pardon!

CECILY.    Mr. Moncrieff and I are engaged to be married, Lady Bracknell.

LADY BRACKNELL.  (With a shiver) I do not know whether there is anything peculiarly exciting in the air of this part of Hertfordshire, but the number of engagements that go on seems to be considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance.  A preliminary inquiry on my part would not be out of place.  Mr. Worthing, is Miss Cardew connected with any of the larger railway stations in

Rob Storrs