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3. THIRD ACT
The Picture Gallery at Hunstanton. Door at back leading on to terrace.
[LORD ILLINGWORTH and GERALD, R.C. LORD ILLINGWORTH lolling on a sofa. GERALD in a chair.]
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Thoroughly sensible woman, your mother, Gerald. I knew she would come round in the end.
GERALD. My mother is awfully conscientious, Lord Illingworth, and I know she doesn't think I am educated enough to be your secretary. She is perfectly right, too. I was fearfully idle when I was at school, and I couldn't pass an examination now to save my life.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. My dear Gerald, examinations are of no value whatsoever. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.
GERALD. But I am so ignorant of the world, Lord Illingworth.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Don't be afraid, Gerald. Remember that you've got on your side the most wonderful thing in the world - youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in life's lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile, like most kings. To win back my youth, Gerald, there is nothing I wouldn't do - except take exercise, get up early, or be a useful member of the community.
GERALD. But you don't call yourself old, Lord Illingworth?
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I am old enough to be your father, Gerald.
GERALD. I don't remember my father; he died years ago.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. So Lady Hunstanton told me.
GERALD. It is very curious, my mother never talks to me about my father. I sometimes think she must have married beneath her.
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