Algernon How are you, my dear Ernest? What brings you up to town?

Jack Oh, pleasure, pleasure!° What else should bring one anywhere? Eating as usual, I see, Algy!

Algernon (stiffly) I believe it is customary in good society to take some slight refreshment° at five o’clock. Where have you been since last Thursday?

Jack (sitting down on the sofa) In the country.

Algernon What on earth do you do there?

Jack (pulling off his gloves) When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.

Algernon And who are the people you amuse?

Jack (airily) Oh, neighbours, neighbours.

Algernon Got nice neighbours in your part of Shropshire?°

Jack Perfectly horrid! Never speak to one of them.

Algernon How immensely you must amuse them! (Goes over and takes sandwich) By the way, Shropshire is your county, is it not?

Jack Eh? Shropshire? Yes, of course. Hallo! Why all these cups? Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young? Who is coming to tea?

Algernon Oh! merely Aunt Augusta and Gwendolen.

Jack How perfectly delightful!

Algernon Yes, that is all very well; but I am afraid Aunt Augusta won’t quite approve of your being here.

Jack May I ask why?

Algernon My dear fellow, the way you flirt with Gwendolen is perfectly disgraceful. It is almost as bad as the way Gwendolen flirts with you.

Jack I am in love with Gwendolen. I have come up to town expressly to propose to her.

Algernon I thought you had come up for pleasure? … I call that business.

Jack How utterly unromantic you are!

Algernon I really don’t see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. But there is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. One usually is, I believe. Then the excitement is all over. The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I’ll certainly try to forget the fact.

Jack I have no doubt about that, dear Algy. The Divorce Court was specially invented for people whose memories are so curiously constituted.

Algernon Oh! there is no use speculating on that subject. Divorces are made in Heaven—(Jack puts out his hand to take a sandwich. Algernon at once interferes)° Please don’t touch the cucumber sandwiches. They are ordered specially for Aunt Augusta. (Takes one and eats it)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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