Third Act

Scene: Morning-room at the Manor House. Gwendolen and Cecily are at the window, looking out into the garden.

Gwendolen The fact that they did not follow us at once into the house, as anyone else would have done, seems to me to show that they have some sense of shame left.

Cecily They have been eating muffins. That looks like repentance.

[A pause]

Gwendolen They don’t seem to notice us at all. Couldn’t you cough?

Cecily But I haven’t got a cough.

Gwendolen They’re looking at us. What effrontery!

Cecily They’re approaching. That’s very forward of them.

Gwendolen Let us preserve a dignified silence.

Cecily Certainly. It’s the only thing to do now.

Enter Jack followed by Algernon. They whistle some dreadful popular air° from a British Opera

Gwendolen This dignified silence seems to produce an unpleasant effect.

Cecily A most distasteful one.

Gwendolen But we will not be the first to speak.

Cecily Certainly not.

Gwendolen Mr Worthing, I have something very particular to ask you. Much depends on your reply.

Cecily Gwendolen, your common sense is invaluable. Mr Moncrieff, kindly answer me the following question. Why did you pretend to be my guardian’s brother?

Algernon In order that I might have an opportunity of meeting you.

Cecily (to Gwendolen) That certainly seems a satisfactory explanation, does it not?

Gwendolen Yes, dear, if you can believe him.

Cecily I don’t. But that does not affect the wonderful beauty of his answer.

Gwendolen True. In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing. Mr Worthing, what explanation can you offer to me for pretending to have a brother? Was it in order that you might have an opportunity of coming up to town to see me as often as possible?

Jack Can you doubt it, Miss Fairfax?°

Gwendolen I have the gravest doubts upon the subject. But I intend to crush them. This is not the moment for German scepticism. (Moving to Cecily) Their explanations appear to be quite satisfactory, especially Mr Worthing’s. That seems to me to have the stamp of truth upon it.

Cecily I am more than content with what Mr Moncrieff said. His voice alone inspires one with absolute credulity.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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