Rob Storrs

Act III, page 42


           London?  I merely desire information.  Until yesterday, I had no idea there were any families or persons whose origin was a terminus.

JACK.    (Looks perfectly furious but restrains himself. In a clear, cold voice) Miss Cardew is the granddaughter of the late Mr. Thomas Cardew, of 149 Belgrave Square, S.W.; Gervase Park, Dorking, Surrey; and the Glen, Fifeshire, N. B.

LADY BRACKNELL.  That sounds not unsatisfactory.  Three addresses always inspire confidence, even in tradesmen.  But what proof have I of their authenticity?

JACK.    I have carefully preserved the Court Guides of the period.  They are open to your inspection, Lady Bracknell.

LADY BRACKNELL.  I have known strange errors in that publication.

JACK.    Miss Cardew’s solicitors are Messrs. Markby, Markby, and Markby.

LADY BRACKNELL.  Markby, Markby, and Markby-  a firm of the very highest position in their profession.  Indeed, I am told that one of the Mr. Markby’s is occasionally to be seen at dinner parties.  So far I am satisfied.

JACK.    (very irritably) How extremely kind of you Lady Bracknell.  I have also in my possession, you will be pleased to hear, certificates of Miss Cardew's birth, registration, baptism, whooping cough, vaccination, confirmation, and the measles, both the German and the English variety.

LADY BRACKNELL.  (Calmly) Ah!  A life crowded with incident, I see.  Though perhaps somewhat too exciting for a young girl.  I am not myself in favor of premature experiences. (Rises; looks at her watch)  Gwendoline, the time approaches for our departure. We have not a minute to lose.   As a matter of form, Mr. Worthing, I had better ask you if Miss Cardew has any little fortune.

JACK.    Oh, about a hundred and thirty thousand pounds in the funds-  that is all. Goodbye, Lady Bracknell.  So pleased to have seen you.

LADY BRACKNELL.  A moment, Mr. Worthing.  A hundred and thirty thousand pounds!-  and in the funds!  Miss Cardew seems a most attractive young lady, now that I look at her.  Few girls in the present day have any really solid qualities- any qualities that last and improve with time.  We live, I regret to say, in an age of surfaces.  (To CECILY)  Come here, dear.  Pretty child.  Your dress is sadly simple, and your hair seems almost as nature might have left it.  But we can soon alter all that.  A thoroughly experienced French maid produces a marvelous result in a very brief space of time.   I remember recommending one to young Lady Lancing, and after three months her own husband did not know her.

JACK.    And after six months nobody knew her.

LADY BRACKNELL.  Kindly turn round, sweet child.  (CECILY turns completely round.)  No!- the side view is what I want.  Yes!-  quite as I expected.  There are distinct social possibilities in your profile.  The two weak points in our age are it’s want of principle and it’s want of profile.  Chin a little higher, dear.  Style largely depends on how the chin is worn.  They are worn very high just at the present.  Algernon!

ALGY.    Yes, Aunt Augusta!

LADY BRACKNELL.  There are distinct social possibilities in Miss Cardew’s profile.

ALGY.    Cecily is the sweetest, dearest, prettiest girl in the whole world.  And I don't care tupence about social possibilities.