Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest

2. SECOND ACT (continued)

GWENDOLEN. 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.

CECILY. [Rising.] To save my poor, innocent, trusting boy from the machinations of any other girl there are no lengths to which I would not go.

GWENDOLEN. From the moment I saw you I distrusted you. I felt that you were false and deceitful. I am never deceived in such matters. My first impressions of people are invariably right.

CECILY. It seems to me, Miss Fairfax, that I am trespassing on your valuable time. No doubt you have many other calls of a similar character to make in the neighbourhood.

[Enter JACK.]

GWENDOLEN. [Catching sight of him.] Ernest! My own Ernest!

JACK. Gwendolen! Darling! [Offers to kiss her.]

GWENDOLEN. [Draws back.] A moment! May I ask if you are engaged to be married to this young lady? [Points to CECILY.]

JACK. [Laughing.] To dear little Cecily! Of course not! What could have put such an idea into your pretty little head?

GWENDOLEN. Thank you. You may! [Offers her cheek.]

CECILY. [Very sweetly.] I knew there must be some misunderstanding, Miss Fairfax. The gentleman whose arm is at present round your waist is my guardian, Mr. John Worthing.

GWENDOLEN. I beg your pardon?

CECILY. This is Uncle Jack.

GWENDOLEN. [Receding.] Jack! Oh!


CECILY. Here is Ernest.

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