Lady Windermere's Fan - Page 7

von Oscar Wilde
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Rufford. Lady Jedburgh and Miss Graham. Mr. Hopper.

[These people enter as announced.]

HOPPER. How do you do, Lady Windermere? How do you do, Duchess? [Bows to LADY AGATHA.]

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. Dear Mr. Hopper, how nice of you to come so early. We all know how you are run after in London.

HOPPER. Capital place, London! They are not nearly so exclusive in London as they are in Sydney.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. Ah! we know your value, Mr. Hopper. We wish there were more like you. It would make life so much easier. Do you know, Mr. Hopper, dear Agatha and I are so much interested in Australia. It must be so pretty with all the dear little kangaroos flying about. Agatha has found it on the map. What a curious shape it is! Just like a large packing case. However, it is a very young country, isn’t it?

HOPPER. Wasn’t it made at the same time as the others, Duchess?

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. How clever you are, Mr. Hopper. You have a cleverness quite of your own. Now I mustn’t keep you.

HOPPER. But I should like to dance with Lady Agatha, Duchess.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. Well, I hope she has a dance left. Have you a dance left, Agatha?

LADY AGATHA. Yes, mamma.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. The next one?

LADY AGATHA. Yes, mamma.

HOPPER. May I have the pleasure? [LADY AGATHA bows.]

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. Mind you take great care of my little chatterbox, Mr. Hopper.

[LADY AGATHA and MR. HOPPER pass into ball-room.]

[Enter LORD WINDERMERE.]

LORD WINDERMERE. Margaret, I want to speak to you.

LADY WINDERMERE. In a moment. [The music drops.]

PARKER. Lord Augustus Lorton.

[Enter LORD AUGUSTUS.]

LORD AUGUSTUS. Good evening, Lady Windermere.

DUCHESS OF BERWICK. Sir James, will you take me into the ball-room? Augustus has been dining with us to-night. I really have had quite enough of dear Augustus for the moment.

[SIR JAMES ROYSTON gives the DUCHESS his aim and escorts her into the ball-room.]

PARKER. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bowden. Lord and Lady Paisley. Lord Darlington.

[These people enter as announced.]

LORD AUGUSTUS. [Coming up to LORD WINDERMERE.] Want to speak to you particularly, dear boy. I’m worn to a shadow. Know I don’t look it. None of us men do look what we really are. Demmed good thing, too. What I want to know is this. Who is she? Where does she come from? Why hasn’t she got any demmed relations? Demmed nuisance, relations! But they make one so demmed respectable.

LORD WINDERMERE. You are talking of Mrs. Erlynne, I suppose? I only met her six months ago. Till then, I never knew of her existence.

LORD AUGUSTUS. You have seen a good deal of her since then.

LORD WINDERMERE. [Coldly.] Yes, I have seen a good deal of her since then. I have just seen her.

LORD AUGUSTUS. Egad! the women are very down on her. I have been dining with Arabella this evening! By Jove! you should have heard what she said about Mrs. Erlynne. She didn’t leave a rag on her. . . [Aside.] Berwick and I told her that didn’t matter much, as the lady in question must have an extremely fine figure. You should have seen Arabella’s expression! . . . But, look here, dear boy. I don’t know what to do about Mrs. Erlynne. Egad! I might be married to her; she treats me with such demmed indifference. She’s deuced clever, too! She explains everything. Egad! she explains you. She has got any amount of explanations for you - and all of them different.

LORD WINDERMERE. No explanations are necessary about my friendship with Mrs. Erlynne.

LORD AUGUSTUS. Hem! Well, look here, dear old fellow. Do you think she will ever get into this demmed thing called Society? Would you introduce her to your wife? No use beating about the confounded bush. Would you do that?

LORD WINDERMERE. Mrs. Erlynne is coming here to-night.

LORD AUGUSTUS. Your wife has sent her a card?

LORD WINDERMERE. Mrs. Erlynne has received a card.

LORD AUGUSTUS. Then she’s all right, dear boy. But why didn’t you tell me that before? It would have saved me a heap of worry and demmed misunderstandings!

[LADY AGATHA and MR. HOPPER cross and exit on terrace L.U.E.]

PARKER. Mr. Cecil Graham!

[Enter MR. CECIL GRAHAM.]

CECIL GRAHAM. [Bows to LADY WINDERMERE, passes over and shakes hands with LORD WINDERMERE.] Good evening, Arthur. Why don’t you ask me how I am? I like people to ask me how I am. It shows a wide-spread interest in my health. Now, to-night I am not at all well. Been dining with my people. Wonder why it is one’s people are always so tedious? My father would talk morality after dinner. I told him he was old enough to know better. But my experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all. Hallo, Tuppy! Hear you’re going to be married again; thought you were tired of that game.

LORD AUGUSTUS. You’re excessively trivial, my dear boy, excessively trivial!

CECIL GRAHAM. By the way, Tuppy, which is it? Have you been twice married and once divorced, or twice divorced and once married? I say you’ve been twice divorced and once married. It seems so much more probable.

LORD AUGUSTUS. I have a very bad memory. I really don’t remember which. [Moves away R.]

LADY PLYMDALE. Lord Windermere, I’ve something most particular to ask you.

LORD WINDERMERE. I am afraid - if you will excuse me - I

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