Act III, page 47
them placed there. The bag is undoubtedly mine. I am delighted to have it unexpectedly restored to me. It has been a great inconvenience being without it all these years.
JACK. (In a pathetic voice) Miss Prism, more is restored to you than the handbag. I was the baby you placed in it.
MISS PRISM. (Amazed ) You?
JACK. (Embracing her) Yes- Mother!
MISS PRISM. (Recoiling in indignant astonishment) Mr. Worthing, I am unmarried!
JACK. Unmarried - I do not deny that this is a serious blow. But, after all, who has the right to cast a stone against one who has suffered? Cannot repentance wipe out an act of folly? Why should there be one law for men and another for women? Mother, I forgive you! (Throws bag to DR. CHASUBLE; tries to embrace her again.)
MISS PRISM. (After pause, still more indignant) Mr. Worthing, there is some error. (Pointing to LADY BRACKNELL) There is the lady who can tell you who you really are. (Retires and talks to DR. CHASUBLE.)
JACK. (After a pause) Lady Bracknell, I hate to seem inquisitive, but would you kindly inform me who I am?
LADY BRACKNELL. I am afraid that the news I have to give you will not altogether please you. (Rising) You are the son of my poor sister, Mrs. Moncrieff, and consequently Algernon's elder brother.
JACK. Algy's elder brother! Then I have a brother after all! I knew I had a brother! I always said I had a brother. Cecily, how could you have ever doubted that I had a brother? Dr. Chasuble, my unfortunate brother! Miss Prism, my unfortunate brother! Gwendoline, my unfortunate brother! Algy, you’ll have to treat me with more respect in the future. You’ve never behaved to me like a brother in all your life.
ALGY. Not to this day, I’ll admit, however I did my best, but I have been out of practice.
GWENDOLINE. (To JACK) My own! But what own are you? What is your Christian name now that you have become someone else?
JACK. Good heavens! I had quite forgotten that point. Your decision on the subject of my name is irrevocable, I suppose?
GWENDOLINE. I never change, except in my affections.
CECILY. What a noble nature you have, Gwendoline.
JACK. Then the question had better be cleared up at once. Aunt Augusta, a moment. At the time when Miss Prism left me in the handbag, had I been christened already?
LADY BRACKNELL. (quite calmly) Every luxury that money could buy, including christening, had been lavished on you by your fond and doting parents.
JACK. Then I was christened. That is settled. Now, what name was I given! Let me know the worst.
LADY BRACKNELL. (After a pause) Being the eldest son, you were naturally christened after your father.
JACK. (Irritably) Yes, but what was our father's Christian name?
LADY BRACKNELL. I cannot at the moment recall what the General’s Christian name was. I have no doubt that he had one. He was eccentric, I admit, but only in later years.