To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.
If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.
I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being good all the time. That would be hypocrisy.
How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless." "Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them." "I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.
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.
I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister. Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.
I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever.
Oh! it is absurd to have a hard-and-fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
Good heavens, I suppose a man may eat his own muffins in his own garden." "But you have just said it was perfectly heartless to eat muffins!" "I said it was perfectly heartless of YOU under the circumstances. That is a very different thing." "That may be, but the muffins are the same!.
My dear fellow, the truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!.
I hope, Cecily, I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.
Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?.
Never met such a Gorgon . . . I don't really know what a Gorgon is like, but I am quite sure that Lady Bracknell is one. In any case, she is a monster, without being a myth, which is rather unfair.
Well I won't argue about the matter. You always want to argue about things. That is exactly what things were originally made for.
You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far.
To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
I have never met any really wicked person before. I feel rather frightened. I am so afraid he will look just like every one else.
Long engagements give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which is never advisable.
I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left. ALGERNON: We have. JACK: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about? ALGERNON: The fools? Oh! about the clever people of course. JACK: What fools.
I love hearing my relations abused. It is the only thing that makes me put up with them at all. Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live nor the smallest instinct about when to die.
This ghastly state of things is what you call Bunburying, I suppose? Algernon. Yes, and a perfectly wonderful Bunbury it is. The most wonderful Bunbury I have ever had in my life. Jack. Well, you've no right whatsoever to Bunbury here. Algernon. That is absurd. One has a right to Bunbury anywhere one chooses. Every serious Bunburyist knows that.
Do you smoke? Well, yes, I must admit I smoke. I'm glad to hear of it. A man should always have an occupation of some kind.
The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her if she is pretty, and to someone else if she is plain.
When one is in town one amuses oneself. When one is in the country one amuses other people. It is excessively boring.
The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.
I don't play accurately--any one can play accurately--but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.
I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.
Oh, don't cough, Ernest. When one is dictating one should speak fluently and not cough. Besides, I don't know how to spell a cough.
And, after all, what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
Lady Bracknell. Good afternoon, dear Algernon, I hope you are behaving very well. Algernon. I’m feeling very well, Aunt Augusta. Lady Bracknell. That’s not quite the same thing. In fact the two things rarely go together.
LADY BRACKNELL To speak frankly, I am not in favour of long engagements. They give people the opportunity of finding out each other's character before marriage, which I think is never advisable.
When I am in trouble, eating is the only thing that consoles me. Indeed, when I am in really great trouble, as any one who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except food and drink. At the present moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.
You can't possibly ask me to go without having some dinner. It's absurd. I never go without my dinner. No one ever does, except vegetarians and people like that.
You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would dream of allowing our only daughter - a girl brought up with the utmost care - to marry into a cloak-room, and form an alliance with a parcel?.
You have always told me it was Ernest. I have introduced you to every one as Ernest. You answer to the name of Ernest. You look as if your name was Ernest. You are the most earnest-looking person I ever saw in my life. It is perfectly absurd your saying that your name isn't Ernest.
My dear Algy, you talk exactly as if you were a dentist. It is very vulgar to talk like a dentist when one isn't a dentist. It produces false impression.
Cecily. This is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners. When I see a spade I call it a spade. Gwendolen. [Satirically.] I am glad to say that I have never seen a spade. It is obvious that our social spheres have been widely different.
Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.
I hope to-morrow will be a fine day, Lane. It never is, sir. Lane, you're a perfect pessimist. I do my best to give satisfaction, sir.
It is always painful to part from people whom one has known for a brief space of time. The absence of old friends one can endure with equanimity, But even a momentary separation from anyone to whom one has just been introduced is almost unbearable.
Oh, I don’t care about Jack. I don’t care for anybody in the whole world but you. I love you, Cecily. You will marry me, won’t you? You silly boy! Of course. Why, we have been engaged for the last three months. For the last three months?.
I really don't see what is so romantic about proposing. One may be accepted - one usually is, I believe - and then the excitement is ended. The very essence of romance is uncertainty.
Come, dear, [Gwendolen rises] we have already missed five, if not six, trains. To miss any more might expose us to comment on the platform.
Yes; poor Bunbury is a dreadful invalid. Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or to die. This shillyshallying with the question is absurd.
The very essence of romance is uncertainty. If ever I get married, I'll certainly try to forget the fact.
LADY BRACKNELL Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years. Lady Dumbleton is an instance in point. To my own knowledge she has been thirty-five ever since she arrived at the age of forty, which was many years ago now.
LADY BRACKNELL Algernon is an extremely, I may almost say an ostentatiously, eligible young man. He has nothing, but he looks everything. What more can one desire?.
It's absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.
Jack? . . . No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations . . . I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude. The only really safe name is Ernest.
The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!.