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Oscar Wilde: A Woman of No Importance
3. THIRD ACT (continued)
LORD ILLINGWORTH. [Winces slightly.] Really? [Goes over and puts his hand on GERALD'S shoulder.] You have missed not having a father, I suppose, Gerald?
GERALD. Oh, no; my mother has been so good to me. No one ever had such a mother as I have had.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I am quite sure of that. Still I should imagine that most mothers don't quite understand their sons. Don't realise, I mean, that a son has ambitions, a desire to see life, to make himself a name. After all, Gerald, you couldn't be expected to pass all your life in such a hole as Wrockley, could you?
GERALD. Oh, no! It would be dreadful!
LORD ILLINGWORTH. A mother's love is very touching, of course, but it is often curiously selfish. I mean, there is a good deal of selfishness in it.
GERALD. [Slowly.] I suppose there is.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Your mother is a thoroughly good woman. But good women have such limited views of life, their horizon is so small, their interests are so petty, aren't they?
GERALD. They are awfully interested, certainly, in things we don't care much about.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. I suppose your mother is very religious, and that sort of thing.
GERALD. Oh, yes, she's always going to church.
LORD ILLINGWORTH. Ah! she is not modern, and to be modern is the only thing worth being nowadays. You want to be modern, don't you, Gerald? You want to know life as it really is. Not to be put of with any old-fashioned theories about life. Well, what you have to do at present is simply to fit yourself for the best society. A man who can dominate a London dinner-table can dominate the world. The future belongs to the dandy. It is the exquisites who are going to rule.
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