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1. FIRST ACT (continued)
LORD DARLINGTON. [Still seated.] Do you think then--of course I am only putting an imaginary instance--do you think that in the case of a young married couple, say about two years married, if the husband suddenly becomes the intimate friend of a woman of--well, more than doubtful character--is always calling upon her, lunching with her, and probably paying her bills--do you think that the wife should not console herself?
LADY WINDERMERE. [Frowning] Console herself?
LORD DARLINGTON. Yes, I think she should--I think she has the right.
LADY WINDERMERE. Because the husband is vile--should the wife be vile also?
LORD DARLINGTON. Vileness is a terrible word, Lady Windermere.
LADY WINDERMERE. It is a terrible thing, Lord Darlington.
LORD DARLINGTON. Do you know I am afraid that good people do a great deal of harm in this world. Certainly the greatest harm they do is that they make badness of such extraordinary importance. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. I take the side of the charming, and you, Lady Windermere, can't help belonging to them.
LADY WINDERMERE. Now, Lord Darlington. [Rising and crossing R., front of him.] Don't stir, I am merely going to finish my flowers. [Goes to table R.C.]
LORD DARLINGTON. [Rising and moving chair.] And I must say I think you are very hard on modern life, Lady Windermere. Of course there is much against it, I admit. Most women, for instance, nowadays, are rather mercenary.
LADY WINDERMERE. Don't talk about such people.
LORD DARLINGTON. Well then, setting aside mercenary people, who, of course, are dreadful, do you think seriously that women who have committed what the world calls a fault should never be forgiven?
LADY WINDERMERE. [Standing at table.] I think they should never be forgiven.
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