Act III, page 43
LADY BRACKNELL. Never speak disrespectfully of society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that. (To CECILY) Dear child, of course you know that Algernon has nothing but his debts to depend upon. But I do not approve of mercenary marriages. When I married Lord Bracknell I had no fortune of any kind. But I never dreamed for a moment of letting that stand in my way. Well, I suppose I must give my consent.
ALGY. Thank you, Aunt Augusta.
LADY BRACKNELL. Cecily, you may kiss me.
CECILY. (Crosses to her, kisses her) Thank you, Aunt Augusta.
LADY BRACKNELL. You may also address me as “Aunt Augusta” for the future.
CECILY. Thank you, Aunt Augusta.
LADY BRACKNELL. The marriage, I think, had better take place quite soon.
ALGY and CECILY. Thank you, Aunt Augusta.
LADY BRACKNELL. To speak frankly, I am not in favor of long engagements; they give people the opportunity of finding out each other's characters before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
JACK. I beg your pardon for interrupting you, Lady Bracknell, but this engagement is quite out of the question. I am Miss Cardew's guardian. She cannot marry without my consent until she comes of age. That consent I absolutely decline to give.
LADY BRACKNELL. Upon what grounds, may I ask? Algernon is an extremely, I might say almost ostentatiously eligible young man. He has nothing, but he looks everything. What more can one desire?
JACK. It pains me very much to have to speak frankly to you, Lady Bracknell, about your nephew, but the fact is I do not approve at all of his moral character. I suspect him of being untruthful. (ALGY and CECILY look at him in amazement.)
LADY BRACKNELL. Untruthful! My nephew Algernon untruthful! Impossible! He's an Oxonian.
JACK. l fear there can be no possible doubt about the matter. This afternoon, during my temporary absence in London, on an important question of romance, he obtained admission into my house by means of a false pretense of being my brother. Under an assumed name, he drank, I’ve just been informed by my butler, an entire pint bottle of my Perrier Joueé Brut 1809, a wine I was specially reserving for myself. Continuing his disgraceful deception, he succeeded in the course of the afternoon in alienating the affections of my only ward. He subsequently stayed to tea and devoured every single muffin. And what makes his conduct all the more heartless is that he was perfectly well aware from the first that I have no brother and that I never had a brother, and that I do not intend to have a brother, not even of any kind. I distinctly told him so myself yesterday afternoon.
LADY BRACKNELL. Ahem! Mr. Worthing, after careful consideration, I have decided to entirely overlook my nephew's conduct to you.
JACK. That is extremely generous of you, Lady Bracknell, however my decision remains unalterable. I decline to give my consent.
LADY BRACKNELL. (To CECILY) Come here, sweet child. (CECILY goes over.) How old are you, dear?