Act I The Terrace at Hunstanton
Lawn in front of the terrace at Hunstanton.
[SIR JOHN and LADY CAROLINE PONTEFRACT, MISS WORSLEY, on
under large yew tree.]
LADY CAROLINE. I believe this is the first English
you have stayed at, Miss Worsley?
HESTER. Yes, Lady Caroline.
LADY CAROLINE. You have no country houses, I am told, in
HESTER. We have not many.
LADY CAROLINE. Have you any country? What we should call
HESTER. [Smiling.] We have the largest country in the
Caroline. They used to tell us at school that some of
are as big as France and England put together.
LADY CAROLINE. Ah! you must find it very draughty, I
[To SIR JOHN.] John, you should have your muffler. What
use of my always knitting mufflers for you if you won't
SIR JOHN. I am quite warm, Caroline, I assure you.
LADY CAROLINE. I think not, John. Well, you couldn't
come to a
more charming place than this, Miss Worsley, though the
excessively damp, quite unpardonably damp, and dear Lady
is sometimes a little lax about the people she asks down
SIR JOHN.] Jane mixes too much. Lord Illingworth, of
course, is a
man of high distinction. It is a privilege to meet him.
member of Parliament, Mr. Kettle -
SIR JOHN. Kelvil, my love, Kelvil.
LADY CAROLINE. He must be quite respectable. One has
his name before in the whole course of one's life, which
volumes for a man, nowadays. But Mrs. Allonby is hardly
HESTER. I dislike Mrs. Allonby. I dislike her more than
LADY CAROLINE. I am not sure, Miss Worsley, that
yourself should cultivate likes or dislikes about the
are invited to meet. Mrs. Allonby is very well born. She
niece of Lord Brancaster's. It is said, of course, that
away twice before she was married. But you know how
often are. I myself don't believe she ran away more than
HESTER. Mr. Arbuthnot is very charming.
LADY CAROLINE. Ah, yes! the young man who has a post in
Lady Hunstanton is most kind in asking him here, and
Illingworth seems to have taken quite a fancy to him. I
sure, however, that Jane is right in taking him out of
position. In my young days, Miss Worsley, one never met
any one in
society who worked for their living. It was not
HESTER. In America those are the people we respect most.
LADY CAROLINE. I have no doubt of it.
HESTER. Mr. Arbuthnot has a beautiful nature! He is so
sincere. He has one of the most beautiful natures I have
across. It is a privilege to meet HIM.
LADY CAROLINE. It is not customary in England, Miss
Worsley, for a
young lady to speak with such enthusiasm of any person
opposite sex. English women conceal their feelings till
are married. They show them then.
HESTER. Do you, in England, allow no friendship to exist
young man and a young girl?
[Enter LADY HUNSTANTON, followed by Footman with shawls
LADY CAROLINE. We think it very inadvisable. Jane, I was
saying what a pleasant party you have asked us to meet.
You have a
wonderful power of selection. It is quite a gift.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Dear Caroline, how kind of you! I think
do fit in very nicely together. And I hope our charming
visitor will carry back pleasant recollections of our
country life. [To Footman.] The cushion, there, Francis.
shawl. The Shetland. Get the Shetland. [Exit Footman for
[Enter GERALD ARBUTHNOT.]
GERALD. Lady Hunstanton, I have such good news to tell
Illingworth has just offered to make me his secretary.
LADY HUNSTANTON. His secretary? That is good news
It means a very brilliant future in store for you. Your
mother will be delighted. I really must try and induce
her to come
up here to-night. Do you think she would, Gerald? I know
difficult it is to get her to go anywhere.
GERALD. Oh! I am sure she would, Lady Hunstanton, if she
Lord Illingworth had made me such an offer.
[Enter Footman with shawl.]
LADY HUNSTANTON. I will write and tell her about it, and
to come up and meet him. [To Footman.] Just wait,
LADY CAROLINE. That is a very wonderful opening for so
young a man
as you are, Mr. Arbuthnot.
GERALD. It is indeed, Lady Caroline. I trust I shall be
show myself worthy of it.
LADY CAROLINE. I trust so.
GERALD. [To HESTER.] YOU have not congratulated me yet,
HESTER. Are you very pleased about it?
GERALD. Of course I am. It means everything to me -
were out of the reach of hope before may be within
HESTER. Nothing should be out of the reach of hope. Life
LADY HUNSTANTON. I fancy, Caroline, that Diplomacy is
Illingworth is aiming at. I heard that he was offered
that may not be true.
LADY CAROLINE. I don't think that England should be
abroad by an unmarried man, Jane. It might lead to
LADY HUNSTANTON. You are too nervous, Caroline. Believe
are too nervous. Besides, Lord Illingworth may marry any
was in hopes he would have married lady Kelso. But I
said her family was too large. Or was it her feet? I
which. I regret it very much. She was made to be an
LADY CAROLINE. She certainly has a wonderful faculty of
remembering people's names, and forgetting their faces.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Well, that is very natural, Caroline,
is it not?
[To Footman.] Tell Henry to wait for an answer. I have
line to your dear mother, Gerald, to tell her your good
to say she really must come to dinner.
GERALD. That is awfully kind of you, Lady Hunstanton.
HESTER.] Will you come for a stroll, Miss Worsley?
HESTER. With pleasure [Exit with GERALD.]
LADY HUNSTANTON. I am very much gratified at Gerald
good fortune. He is quite a PROTEGE of mine. And I am
particularly pleased that Lord Illingworth should have
offer of his own accord without my suggesting anything.
likes to be asked favours. I remember poor Charlotte
herself quite unpopular one season, because she had a
governess she wanted to recommend to every one.
LADY CAROLINE. I saw the governess, Jane. Lady Pagden
sent her to
me. It was before Eleanor came out. She was far too
to be in any respectable household. I don't wonder Lady
so anxious to get rid of her.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Ah, that explains it.
LADY CAROLINE. John, the grass is too damp for you. You
better go and put on your overshoes at once.
SIR JOHN. I am quite comfortable, Caroline, I assure
LADY CAROLINE. You must allow me to be the best judge of
John. Pray do as I tell you.
[SIR JOHN gets up and goes off.]
LADY HUNSTANTON. You spoil him, Caroline, you do indeed!
[Enter MRS. ALLONBY and LADY STUTFIELD.]
[To MRS. ALLONBY.] Well, dear, I hope you like the park.
said to be well timbered.
MRS. ALLONBY. The trees are wonderful, Lady Hunstanton.
LADY STUTFIELD. Quite, quite wonderful.
MRS. ALLONBY. But somehow, I feel sure that if I lived
country for six months, I should become so
unsophisticated that no
one would take the slightest notice of me.
LADY HUNSTANTON. I assure you, dear, that the country
has not that
effect at all. Why, it was from Melthorpe, which is only
from here, that Lady Belton eloped with Lord
remember the occurrence perfectly. Poor Lord Belton died
days afterwards of joy, or gout. I forget which. We had
party staying here at the time, so we were all very much
in the whole affair.
MRS. ALLONBY. I think to elope is cowardly. It's running
from danger. And danger has become so rare in modern
LADY CAROLINE. As far as I can make out, the young women
present day seem to make it the sole object of their
lives to be
always playing with fire.
MRS. ALLONBY. The one advantage of playing with fire,
Caroline, is that one never gets even singed. It is the
don't know how to play with it who get burned up.
LADY STUTFIELD. Yes; I see that. It is very, very
LADY HUNSTANTON. I don't know how the world would get on
a theory as that, dear Mrs. Allonby.
LADY STUTFIELD. Ah! The world was made for men and not
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh, don't say that, Lady Stutfield. We
have a much
better time than they have. There are far more things
us than are forbidden to them.
LADY STUTFIELD. Yes; that is quite, quite true. I had
[Enter SIR JOHN and MR. KELVIL.]
LADY HUNSTANTON. Well, Mr. Kelvil, have you got through
KELVIL. I have finished my writing for the day, Lady
It has been an arduous task. The demands on the time of
man are very heavy nowadays, very heavy indeed. And I
they meet with adequate recognition.
LADY CAROLINE. John, have you got your overshoes on?
SIR JOHN. Yes, my love.
LADY CAROLINE. I think you had better come over here,
John. It is
SIR JOHN. I am quite comfortable, Caroline.
LADY CAROLINE. I think not, John. You had better sit
[SIR JOHN rises and goes across.]
LADY STUTFIELD. And what have you been writing about
KELVIL. On the usual subject, Lady Stutfield. On Purity.
LADY STUTFIELD. That must be such a very, very
to write about.
KELVIL. It is the one subject of really national
nowadays, Lady Stutfield. I purpose addressing my
the question before Parliament meets. I find that the
classes of this country display a marked desire for a
LADY STUTFIELD. How quite, quite nice of them.
LADY CAROLINE. Are you in favour of women taking part in
SIR JOHN. Kelvil, my love, Kelvil.
KELVIL. The growing influence of women is the one
in our political life, Lady Caroline. Women are always
on the side
of morality, public and private.
LADY STUTFIELD. It is so very, very gratifying to hear
LADY HUNSTANTON. Ah, yes! - the moral qualities in women
- that is
the important thing. I am afraid, Caroline, that dear
Illingworth doesn't value the moral qualities in women
as much as
[Enter LORD ILLINGWORTH.]
LADY STUTFIELD. The world says that Lord Illingworth is
LORD ILLINGWORTH. But what world says that, Lady
must be the next world. This world and I are on
[Sits down beside MRS. ALLONBY.]
LADY STUTFIELD. Every one I know says you are very, very
LORD ILLINGWORTH. It is perfectly monstrous the way
about, nowadays, saying things against one behind one's
are absolutely and entirely true.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Dear Lord Illingworth is quite
Stutfield. I have given up trying to reform him. It
would take a
Public Company with a Board of Directors and a paid
Secretary to do
that. But you have the secretary already, Lord
haven't you? Gerald Arbuthnot has told us of his good
is really most kind of you.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Oh, don't say that, Lady Hunstanton.
Kind is a
dreadful word. I took a great fancy to young Arbuthnot
I met him, and he'll be of considerable use to me in
something I am
foolish enough to think of doing.
LADY HUNSTANTON. He is an admirable young man. And his
one of my dearest friends. He has just gone for a walk
pretty American. She is very pretty, is she not?
LADY CAROLINE. Far too pretty. These American girls
carry off all
the good matches. Why can't they stay in their own
are always telling us it is the Paradise of women.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. It is, Lady Caroline. That is why,
they are so extremely anxious to get out of it.
LADY CAROLINE. Who are Miss Worsley's parents?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. American women are wonderfully clever
concealing their parents.
LADY HUNSTANTON. My dear Lord Illingworth, what do you
Worsley, Caroline, is an orphan. Her father was a very
millionaire or philanthropist, or both, I believe, who
my son quite hospitably, when he visited Boston. I don't
he made his money, originally.
KELVIL. I fancy in American dry goods.
LADY HUNSTANTON. What are American dry goods?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. American novels.
LADY HUNSTANTON. How very singular! . . . Well, from
source her large fortune came, I have a great esteem for
Worsley. She dresses exceedingly well. All Americans do
well. They get their clothes in Paris.
MRS. ALLONBY. They say, Lady Hunstanton, that when good
die they go to Paris.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Indeed? And when bad Americans die,
they go to?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Oh, they go to America.
KELVIL. I am afraid you don't appreciate America, Lord
Illingworth. It is a very remarkable country, especially
considering its youth.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. The youth of America is their oldest
It has been going on now for three hundred years. To
talk one would imagine they were in their first
childhood. As far
as civilisation goes they are in their second.
KELVIL. There is undoubtedly a great deal of corruption
American politics. I suppose you allude to that?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I wonder.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Politics are in a sad way everywhere, I
They certainly are in England. Dear Mr. Cardew is
country. I wonder Mrs. Cardew allows him. I am sure,
Illingworth, you don't think that uneducated people
allowed to have votes?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I think they are the only people who
KELVIL. Do you take no side then in modern politics,
LORD ILLINGWORTH. One should never take sides in
Kelvil. Taking sides is the beginning of sincerity, and
earnestness follows shortly afterwards, and the human
a bore. However, the House of Commons really does very
harm. You can't make people good by Act of Parliament, -
KELVIL. You cannot deny that the House of Commons has
great sympathy with the sufferings of the poor.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. That is its special vice. That is the
vice of the age. One should sympathise with the joy, the
the colour of life. The less said about life's sores the
KELVIL. Still our East End is a very important problem.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Quite so. It is the problem of
slavery. And we
are trying to solve it by amusing the slaves.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Certainly, a great deal may be done by
cheap entertainments, as you say, Lord Illingworth. Dear
Daubeny, our rector here, provides, with the assistance
curates, really admirable recreations for the poor
winter. And much good may be done by means of a magic
a missionary, or some popular amusement of that kind.
LADY CAROLINE. I am not at all in favour of amusements
poor, Jane. Blankets and coals are sufficient. There is
love of pleasure amongst the upper classes as it is.
what we want in modern life. The tone is not healthy,
KELVIL. You are quite right, Lady Caroline.
LADY CAROLINE. I believe I am usually right.
MRS. ALLONBY. Horrid word 'health.'
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Silliest word in our language, and one
well the popular idea of health. The English country
galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit
KELVIL. May I ask, Lord Illingworth, if you regard the
Lords as a better institution than the House of Commons?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. A much better institution, of course.
We in the
House of Lords are never in touch with public opinion.
us a civilised body.
KELVIL. Are you serious in putting forward such a view?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Quite serious, Mr. Kelvil. [To MRS.
Vulgar habit that is people have nowadays of asking one,
has given them an idea, whether one is serious or not.
serious except passion. The intellect is not a serious
never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays,
all. The only serious form of intellect I know is the
intellect. And on the British intellect the illiterates
LADY HUNSTANTON. What are you saying, Lord Illingworth,
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I was merely talking to Mrs. Allonby
leading articles in the London newspapers.
LADY HUNSTANTON. But do you believe all that is written
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I do. Nowadays it is only the
occurs. [Rises with MRS. ALLONBY.]
LADY HUNSTANTON. Are you going, Mrs. Allonby?
MRS. ALLONBY. Just as far as the conservatory. Lord
told me this morning that there was an orchid there m
the seven deadly sins.
LADY HUNSTANTON. My dear, I hope there is nothing of the
will certainly speak to the gardener.
[Exit MRS. ALLONBY and LORD ILLINGWORTH.]
LADY CAROLINE. Remarkable type, Mrs. Allonby.
LADY HUNSTANTON. She lets her clever tongue run away
LADY CAROLINE. Is that the only thing, Jane, Mrs.
to run away with her?
LADY HUNSTANTON. I hope so, Caroline, I am sure.
[Enter LORD ALFRED.]
Dear Lord Alfred, do join us. [LORD ALFRED sits down
LADY CAROLINE. You believe good of every one, Jane. It
is a great
LADY STUTFIELD. Do you really, really think, Lady
one should believe evil of every one?
LADY CAROLINE. I think it is much safer to do so, Lady
Until, of course, people are found out to be good. But
requires a great deal of investigation nowadays.
LADY STUTFIELD. But there is so much unkind scandal in
LADY CAROLINE. Lord Illingworth remarked to me last
dinner that the basis of every scandal is an absolutely
KELVIL. Lord Illingworth is, of course, a very brilliant
he seems to me to be lacking in that fine faith in the
purity of life which is so important in this century.
LADY STUTFIELD. Yes, quite, quite important, is it not?
KELVIL. He gives me the impression of a man who does not
appreciate the beauty of our English home-life. I would
he was tainted with foreign ideas on the subject.
LADY STUTFIELD. There is nothing, nothing like the
beauty of home-
life, is there?
KELVIL. It is the mainstay of our moral system in
Stutfield. Without it we would become like our
LADY STUTFIELD. That would be so, so sad, would it not?
KELVIL. I am afraid, too, that Lord Illingworth regards
simply as a toy. Now, I have never regarded woman as a
is the intellectual helpmeet of man in public as in
Without her we should forget the true ideals. [Sits down
LADY STUTFIELD. I am so very, very glad to hear you say
LADY CAROLINE. You a married man, Mr. Kettle?
SIR JOHN. Kelvil, dear, Kelvil.
KELVIL. I am married, Lady Caroline.
LADY CAROLINE. Family?
LADY CAROLINE. How many?
[LADY STUTFIELD turns her attention to LORD ALFRED.]
LADY CAROLINE. Mrs. Kettle and the children are, I
suppose, at the
seaside? [SIR JOHN shrugs his shoulders.]
KELVIL. My wife is at the seaside with the children,
LADY CAROLINE. You will join them later on, no doubt?
KELVIL. If my public engagements permit me.
LADY CAROLINE. Your public life must be a great source
gratification to Mrs. Kettle.
SIR JOHN. Kelvil, my love, Kelvil.
LADY STUTFIELD. [To LORD ALFRED.] How very, very
gold-tipped cigarettes of yours are, Lord Alfred.
LORD ALFRED. They are awfully expensive. I can only
when I'm in debt.
LADY STUTFIELD. It must be terribly, terribly
distressing to be in
LORD ALFRED. One must have some occupation nowadays. If
my debts I shouldn't have anything to think about. All
the chaps I
know are in debt.
LADY STUTFIELD. But don't the people to whom you owe the
give you a great, great deal of annoyance?
LORD ALFRED. Oh, no, they write; I don't.
LADY STUTFIELD. How very, very strange.
LADY HUNSTANTON. Ah, here is a letter, Caroline, from
Arbuthnot. She won't dine. I am so sorry. But she will
the evening. I am very pleased indeed. She is one of the
of women. Writes a beautiful hand, too, so large, so
letter to LADY CAROLINE.]
LADY CAROLINE. [Looking at it.] A little lacking in
Jane. Femininity is the quality I admire most in women.
LADY HUNSTANTON. [Taking back letter and leaving it on
Oh! she is very feminine, Caroline, and so good too. You
hear what the Archdeacon says of her. He regards her as
hand in the parish. [Footman speaks to her.] In the
Drawing-room. Shall we all go in? Lady Stutfield, shall
we go in
LADY STUTFIELD. With pleasure, Lady Hunstanton. [They
proceed to go off. SIR JOHN offers to carry LADY
LADY CAROLINE. John! If you would allow your nephew to
Lady Stutfield's cloak, you might help me with my
[Enter LORD ILLINGWORTH and MRS. ALLONBY.]
SIR JOHN. Certainly, my love. [Exeunt.]
MRS. ALLONBY. Curious thing, plain women are always
their husbands, beautiful women never are!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Beautiful women never have time. They
always so occupied in being jealous of other people's
MRS. ALLONBY. I should have thought Lady Caroline would
tired of conjugal anxiety by this time! Sir John is her
LORD ILLINGWORTH. So much marriage is certainly not
Twenty years of romance make a woman look like a ruin;
years of marriage make her something like a public
MRS. ALLONBY. Twenty years of romance! Is there such a
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Not in our day. Women have become too
brilliant. Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense
in the woman.
MRS. ALLONBY. Or the want of it in the man.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You are quite right. In a Temple every
should be serious, except the thing that is worshipped.
MRS. ALLONBY. And that should be man?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Women kneel so gracefully; men don't.
MRS. ALLONBY. You are thinking of Lady Stutfield!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I assure you I have not thought of
Stutfield for the last quarter of an hour.
MRS. ALLONBY. Is she such a mystery?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. She is more than a mystery - she is a
MRS. ALLONBY. Moods don't last.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. It is their chief charm.
[Enter HESTER and GERALD.]
GERALD. Lord Illingworth, every one has been
Lady Hunstanton and Lady Caroline, and . . . every one.
I hope I
shall make a good secretary.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You will be the pattern secretary,
[Talks to him.]
MRS. ALLONBY. You enjoy country life, Miss Worsley?
HESTER. Very much indeed.
MRS. ALLONBY. Don't find yourself longing for a London
HESTER. I dislike London dinner-parties.
MRS. ALLONBY. I adore them. The clever people never
the stupid people never talk.
HESTER. I think the stupid people talk a great deal.
MRS. ALLONBY. Ah, I never listen!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. My dear boy, if I didn't like you I
have made you the offer. It is because I like you so
much that I
want to have you with me.
[Exit HESTER with GERALD.]
Charming fellow, Gerald Arbuthnot!
MRS. ALLONBY. He is very nice; very nice indeed. But I
stand the American young lady.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Why?
MRS. ALLONBY. She told me yesterday, and in quite a loud
too, that she was only eighteen. It was most annoying.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. One should never trust a woman who
tells one her
real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell
MRS. ALLONBY. She is a Puritan besides -
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Ah, that is inexcusable. I don't mind
women being Puritans. It is the only excuse they have
plain. But she is decidedly pretty. I admire her
[Looks steadfastly at MRS. ALLONBY.]
MRS. ALLONBY. What a thoroughly bad man you must be!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. What do you call a bad man?
MRS. ALLONBY. The sort of man who admires innocence.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. And a bad woman?
MRS. ALLONBY. Oh! the sort of woman a man never gets
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You are severe - on yourself.
MRS. ALLONBY. Define us as a sex.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Sphinxes without secrets.
MRS. ALLONBY. Does that include the Puritan women?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Do you know, I don't believe in the
Puritan women? I don't think there is a woman in the
would not be a little flattered if one made love to her.
that which makes women so irresistibly adorable.
MRS. ALLONBY. You think there is no woman in the world
object to being kissed?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Very few.
MRS. ALLONBY. Miss Worsley would not let you kiss her.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Are you sure?
MRS. ALLONBY. Quite.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. What do you think she'd do if I kissed
MRS. ALLONBY. Either marry you, or strike you across the
her glove. What would you do if she struck you across
with her glove?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Fall in love with her, probably.
MRS. ALLONBY. Then it is lucky you are not going to kiss
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Is that a challenge?
MRS. ALLONBY. It is an arrow shot into the air.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Don't you know that I always succeed
MRS. ALLONBY. I am sorry to hear it. We women adore
They lean on us.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You worship successes. You cling to
MRS. ALLONBY. We are the laurels to hide their baldness.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. And they need you always, except at
MRS. ALLONBY. They are uninteresting then.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. How tantalising you are! [A pause.]
MRS. ALLONBY. Lord Illingworth, there is one thing I
like you for.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Only one thing? And I have so many bad
MRS. ALLONBY. Ah, don't be too conceited about them. You
them as you grow old.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I never intend to grow old. The soul
old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.
MRS. ALLONBY. And the body is born young and grows old.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Its comedy also, sometimes. But what
mysterious reason why you will always like me?
MRS. ALLONBY. It is that you have never made love to me.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I have never done anything else.
MRS. ALLONBY. Really? I have not noticed it.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. How fortunate! It might have been a
both of us.
MRS. ALLONBY. We should each have survived.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. One can survive everything nowadays,
death, and live down anything except a good reputation.
MRS. ALLONBY. Have you tried a good reputation?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. It is one of the many annoyances to
which I have
never been subjected.
MRS. ALLONBY. It may come.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Why do you threaten me?
MRS. ALLONBY. I will tell you when you have kissed the
FRANCIS. Tea is served in the Yellow Drawing-room, my
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Tell her ladyship we are coming in.
FRANCIS. Yes, my lord.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Shall we go in to tea?
MRS. ALLONBY. Do you like such simple pleasures?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I adore simple pleasures. They are the
refuge of the complex. But, if you wish, let us stay
let us stay here. The Book of Life begins with a man and
in a garden.
MRS. ALLONBY. It ends with Revelations.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. You fence divinely. But the button has
MRS. ALLONBY. I have still the mask.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. It makes your eyes lovelier.
MRS. ALLONBY. Thank you. Come.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. [Sees MRS. ARBUTHNOT'S letter on
takes it up and looks at envelope.] What a curious
It reminds me of the handwriting of a woman I used to
MRS. ALLONBY. Who?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Oh! no one. No one in particular. A
no importance. [Throws letter down, and passes up the
steps of the
terrace with MRS. ALLONBY. They smile at each other.]