Lord Windermere (rising and leaning over sofa) Kind to you?

Lady windermere Far more than that. (Rises and goes to him) I will tell you, Arthur, but only love me, love me as you used to love me.

Lord Windermere Used to? You are not thinking of that wretched woman who came here last night? (Coming round and sitting R. of her) You don’t still imagine—no, you couldn’t.

Lady windermere I don’t. I know now I was wrong and foolish.

Lord Windermere It was very good of you to receive her last night—but you are never to see her again.

Lady windermere Why do you say that?

A pause

Lord Windermere (holding her hand) Margaret, I thought Mrs Erlynne was a woman more sinned against than sinning, as the phrase goes. I thought she wanted to be good, to get back into a place that she had lost by a moment’s folly, to lead again a decent life. I believed what she told me—I was mistaken in her. She is bad—as bad as a woman can be.

Lady windermere Arthur, Arthur, don’t talk so bitterly about any woman. I don’t think now that people can be divided into the good and the bad,° as though they were two separate races or creations. What are called good women may have terrible things in them, mad moods of recklessness, assertion, jealousy, sin. Bad women, as they are termed, may have in them sorrow, repentance, pity, sacrifice. And I don’t think Mrs Erlynne a bad woman—I know she’s not.

Lord Windermere My dear child, the woman’s impossible. No matter what harm she tries to do us, you must never see her again. She is inadmissible anywhere.

Lady windermere But I want to see her. I want her to come here.

Lord Windermere Never!

Lady windermere She came here once as your guest. She must come now as mine. That is but fair.

Lord Windermere She should never have come here.

Lady windermere (rising) It is too late, Arthur, to say that now.

Moves away

Lord Windermere (rising) Margaret, if you knew where Mrs Erlynne went last night, after she left this house, you would not sit in the same room with her. It was absolutely shameless, the whole thing.

Lady windermere Arthur, I can’t bear it any longer. I must tell you. Last night—

Enter Parker with a tray on which lie Lady Windermere’s fan° and a card

Parker Mrs Erlynne has called to return your ladyship’s fan which she took away by mistake last night. Mrs Erlynne has written a message on the card.

Lady windermere Oh, ask Mrs Erlynne to be kind enough to come up. (Reads card) Say I shall be very glad to see her.

Exit Parker

  By PanEris using Melati.

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