Lord Illingworth Thoroughly sensible woman, your mother, Gerald. I knew she would come round in the end.
Gerald My mother is awfully conscientious, Lord Illingworth, and I know she doesnt think I am educated enough to be your secretary. She is perfectly right, too. I was fearfully idle when I was at school, and I couldnt pass an examination now to save my life.
Lord Illingworth My dear Gerald, examinations are of no value whatsoever. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
Gerald But I am so ignorant of the world, Lord Illingworth.
Lord Illingworth Dont be afraid, Gerald. Remember that youve got on your side the most wonderful thing in the world youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Lifes lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Everyone is born a king, and most people die in exile, like most kings. To win back my youth, Gerald, there is nothing I wouldnt doexcept take exercise, get up early, or be a useful member of the community.
Gerald But you dont call yourself old, Lord Illingworth?
Lord Illingworth I am old enough to be your father, Gerald.
Gerald I dont remember my father; he died years ago.
Lord Illingworth So Lady Hunstanton told me.
Gerald It is very curious, my mother never talks to me about my father. I sometimes think she must have married beneath her.
Lord Illingworth (winces slightly) Really? (Goes over and puts his hand on Geralds shoulder)° You have missed not having a father, I suppose, Gerald?
Gerald Oh, no; my mother has been so good to me. No one ever had such a mother as I have had.
Lord Illingworth I am quite sure of that. Still I should imagine that most mothers dont quite understand their sons. Dont realize, I mean, that a son has ambitions, a desire to see life, to make himself a name. After all, Gerald, you couldnt be expected to pass all your life in such a hole as Wrockley, could you?
Gerald Oh, no! It would be dreadful!
Lord Illingworth A mothers love is very touching, of course, but it is often curiously selfish. I mean, there is a good deal of selfishness in it.
Gerald (slowly) I suppose there is.
Lord Illingworth Your mother is a thoroughly good woman. But good women have such limited views of life, their horizon is so small, their interests are so petty, arent they?
Gerald They are awfully interested, certainly, in things we dont care much about.
Lord Illingworth I suppose your mother is very religious, and that sort of thing.
Gerald Oh, yes, shes always going to church.
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