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Arthur: "Fashion is not what other people wear, Phipps. It is what oneself wears. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible company is oneself. To love oneself is the start of a lifelong romance."
Gertrude: "Yes, in the old days, we had the rack. Now days... we have the press! ... Your own newspaper being the notable exception, Sir Edward, where truth shines out like a beacon and lies run vainly for the shadows."
Sir Edward: "Bravo, Lady Chiltern! ... but may I ask, do I detect in the conversation a lyricism not entirely uncommon in your husband's excellent speeches?"
Sir Robert: "If you are suggesting, Sir Edward, that my position in society means anything to my wife, you are utterly mistaken... it means everything to my wife."
Sir Robert: "I demand that you make it known immediately, for without her it is true: I am entirely unexceptional. And without her love... I am nothing."
Lord Caversham: "I don't know how you stand London society. Lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing."
Arthur: "I like talking about nothing, Father. It's the only thing I know anything about."
Lord Caversham: "That is a paradox, sir. I hate paradoxes."
Arthur: "So do I, Father. Everybody is a paradox these days. Makes society so... obvious."
Lord Caversham: "Do you honestly know what you say, sir?"
Arthur: "Yes... if I listen attentively."
Lady Marksby: "Oh, my dear -- if I had a jewel for every staring eye...!"
Mrs. Chevely: "I'm glad to say, Lady Marksby, you evidently do!"
Gertrude: "Arthur! I didn't think you liked political parties."
Arthur: "I love political parties! They're the only kind of parties where people don't talk politics."
[guest] "How do you stay so beautiful, Mrs. Chevely?"
Mrs. Chevely: "By making it a point to talk to only perfectly charming people as yourself."
Mabel: "You are very late."
Arthur: "Did you miss me?"
Arthur: "Then I'm sorry I did not stay away longer. I like being missed."
Mabel: "How very selfish of you. You're always going on, telling me about your bad qualities."
Arthur: "You haven't heard the half of them yet."
Mabel: "Really? Are they very bad?"
Arthur: "Oh, yes. When I think of them at night... I go to sleep at once."
Mrs. Chevely: "I am here to talk with you about the canal scheme."
Robert: "That's a tedious, practical subject, Mrs. Chevely."
Mrs. Chevely: "Oh, I like tedious, practical subjects. What I don't like are tedious, practical people."
Robert: "Now, if you will allow me, I will call your carriage for you! --- You seem to have forgotten that you are speaking to an English gentleman!"
Mrs. Chevely: "I realize that I am speaking to a man whose past is somewhat more scandalous than his reputation would suggest."
Robert: "I will give you any sum of money you want."
Mrs. Chevely: "Even you are not rich enough to buy back your past. No man is."
Robert: "My God! what brought you into my life?"
Mrs. Chevely: "Circumstance. Sooner or later we all have to pay for what we do. You have to pay now."
Arthur: "Look, I'm telling you, Father, today is not my day for talking seriously! It's just not my day! My doctor tells me I may only talk seriously every second Tuesday... between noon and three."
Lord Caversham: "Then make it Tuesday, sir, make it Tuesday! You are thirty six--"
Arthur: "Shssh! Father! I only admit to thirty two!"
Lord Caversham: "You are thirty-six, and you must get a wife."
Arthur: "A wife?!"
Mabel: "Tommy Trafford proposed again in front of that dreadful statue of Archelis. Really, the things that go on in front of that work of art are quite appalling. The police should interfere!"
Gertrude: "You know, Mabel, there is one way to put a stop to his proposals."
Mabel: "Oh, yes? What?"
Gertrude: "To accept one of them!"
Mabel: "Oh, NO!!"
Robert: "You know, Arthur, I almost wish I were you sometimes."
Arthur: "I almost wish you were too, except you would probably make something useful out of my life and that would never do."
Gertrude: "But you told me yesterday---"
Robert: "I have reason to believe that the information I received was prejudiced... or at any rate misinformed. I now believe there may be some benefit to the scheme after all."
Gertrude: "Benefit? To whom?"
Gertrude: "Robert, is there in your life any... any secret... any... indiscretion?"
Gertrude: "You are telling me the whole truth?"
Robert: "Why do you ask me such a question?"
Gertrude: "Why do you not answer it?"
Robert: "Oh, Gertrude! There is nothing in my past life that you might not know!"
Arthur: "Always pass on good advice. It's the only sensible thing to do with it."
Mabel: "I should report that the role of 'elder brother' is for the moment being more than adequately preformed by my elder brother."
Mabel: "Yes. Charming and delightful performance it is, too."
Gertrude: "Oh, no, Robert, you must never see her again! Darling, I know this woman! We were at school together! I didn't trust her then and I don't trust her now. All your life you have stood apart from others. To the world -- as to myself -- you have been an ideal, always. Be that ideal still."
Robert: "Love me, Gertrude... love me always."
Mrs. Chevely: "Why don't you call me Laura?"
Arthur: "Because I hate it."
Mrs. Chevely: "You used to adore it."
Arthur: "Yes, I know. That's why I hate it."
Arthur: "Secrets from other men's wives are a necessity, Robert. But no man should have a secret from his own wife!"
Robert: "Gertrude can sometimes be... a little hardheaded. But you are her best friend, Arthur! Maybe you could talk to her -- not to tell her of course!"
Gertrude: "Well, Arthur, I'm surprised to see you taking such an interest in women's politics!"
Arthur: "Well, say my father, or some Parliament member, or Robert even -- once wrote some foolish letter!"
Gertrude: "What kind of a foolish letter?"
Arthur: "One gravely compromising one's situation. Oh, look! What I really want to say is that if you're ever in trouble, Gertrude, come to me and know that I will help you in any way you can."
Gertrude: "Arthur, you are talking quite seriously!"
Arthur: "I'm sorry, Lady Chiltern. It won't happen again."
Gertrude: "No! I like you to be serious!"
Mabel: "Gertrude, don't say such awful things to Lord Goring. Seriousness would be very unbecoming to him. Good morning, Lord Goring. Pray, be as trivial as you can."
Gertrude: "I'm sorry, Mabel; I'm not in the mood for 'modern' art. You don't mind, do you, if Arthur escorts you?"
Mabel: "As long as he promises not to be too serious... for I've observed a worrying trend."
Mabel: "What dreadful manners you have, leaving just as I arrive. You must have been very badly brought up."
Arthur: "I was."
Mabel: "I wish I had brought you up."
Arthur: "I'm sorry you didn't."
Mabel: " 'Tis too late now, I suppose?"
Mrs. Chevely: "A higher education of men is what I would like to see; men need it so sadly."
Lady Marksby: "They do, dear, but I'm afraid such a scheme would be unpractical. I don't think Man has much capacity for development; he's got as far as he can. And that's not far... is it? And now, dear ladies, I had better set forth. I haven't time to be idling around here all day -- I shall be idling around somewhere else very shortly or I shall fall behind."
Gertrude: "Anyone who has been capable of a dishonorable and dishonest in the past is capable of it again and should be shunned."
Mrs. Chevely: "Would you apply that rule to everyone?"
Mrs. Chevely: "Then I am sorry for you, Gertrude, very sorry."
Gertrude: "I thank you for your sympathy. But it is your departure I would prefer."
Mrs. Chevely: "Morality is simply the attitude we develop when faced with someone we do not like. You don't like me, I am perfectly aware of that. And I have always detested you. But I have come here to give you some advice. I hold your husband in the palm of my hand, and if you are wise you will tell him to do as I ask."
Gertrude: "How dare you clause my husband with yourself! Get out of this house! You are unfit to enter it!"
Mrs. Chevely: "Your house? A house that has been bought with scandal? Get HIM to tell you how he sold a cabinet secret, to what you owe his career!"
Gertrude: "Robert? Tell her it is not true!"
Robert: "Get out. You've done your worst now."
Robert: "Let me explain!"
Gertrude: "No! don't touch me! You will not lie to me! You've lied to me! to the whole world! I always set you apart from others!"
Robert: "I see... then I should... go? Should I?"
Gertrude [softly]: "Yes... get out."
Arthur: "Father! You see, I've recently decided not to have visitors in the evening... between seven and nine."
Lord Caversham: "Good. Then we won't be interrupted. Is there a draft in this room?"
Arthur: "No, Father."
Lord Caversham: "I feel it distinctly, sir!"
Arthur: "Yes, sir. Dreadful draft, sir. Why don't you go home?"
Mrs. Chevely: "Good evening, Phipps."
Phipps: "Mrs. Chevely! Lord Goring asked me to show you into the drawing room."
Mrs. Chevely: "Lord Goring? are you quite sure?"
Phipps: "Yes, my lady."
Arthur: "Yes, but why is it that the women with common sense are all so dreadfully plain?"
Lord Caversham: "No woman, plain or pretty, has any common sense at all. Common sense is the privilege of our sex."
Arthur: "Such a dreadful waste, sir, since we don't use it."
Lord Caversham: "I use it, sir! I use nothing else."
Arthur: "Yes... so my mother tells me."
Lord Caversham: "What was that?"
Lord Caversham: "You are heartless, sir! Heartless!"
"Oh, I hope not."
Robert: "Is there someone in that room?"
Robert: "I heard a noise."
Arthur: "I swear to you, Robert, there is no one in that room! Now sit down, old man, for God's sake."
Robert: "I must have a look for myself."
Arthur: "Robert... there is someone in that room."
Arthur: "Mrs. Chevely and I have never planned anything!"
Mrs. Chevely: "Except marriage, of course. We were engaged for nearly three weeks!"
Robert: "At this point I cannot see why you broke it off. You seem entirely well-suited to one another."
Arthur: "You've come here to sell me Robert's letter."
Mrs. Chevely: "How did you guess?"
Arthur: "What do you want for it?"
Mrs. Chevely: "My price? I've arrived at the romantic stage. When I saw you at the Chiltern's party the other night, I knew you were the only man I've ever cared for. If I ever cared for anybody, Arthur. On the morning of the day of our wedding, I will give you Sir Robert's letter, to dispose of as you please."
Arthur: "And I will give you my hand in marriage... to dispose of as you please."
Arthur: "I'm afraid I will make you a very bad husband."
Mrs. Chevely: "I don't mind bad husbands; I've had two. They amuse me, immensely."
Mrs. Chevely: "I hate to see such an upright gentleman, such a promising young gentleman, being so shamefully deceived... and on such positively pink paper!"
Arthur: "You stole Gertrude's letter!"
Mrs. Chevely: "Losing a man is scant cause for concern! Losing a man to her is another matter entirely! As Sir Robert shall see when the letter arrives at his office first thing in the morning!"
Robert: "Let women make no more ideals of men! Or they will ruin their lives as completely as you have ruined mine, you whom I loved so wildly!"
Mabel: "Congratulations, Lord Goring."
Mabel: "I gather that you are to be congratulated."
Arthur: "Naturally there's nothing more I like than to be congratulated, but I find that the pleasure is immeasurably enhanced if I know what for."
Mabel: "Haven't you heard? You're to be married!"
Mabel: "Do you have something you wish to say to me, Lord Goring?"
Arthur: "Hmm? ... um.... no, no I don't think so."
Mabel: "Then I don't wish to hear it."
Arthur [talking to a statue]: "It is a great nuisance! I am so full of interesting information that I feel like the latest edition of something or another!"
Mabel: "So that's what you were doing with that woman, Mrs. Chevely."
Mabel: "Oh. Well, it didn't look that way."
Arthur: "Yes, but there's a good deal of difference between looking and seeing, isn't there, Miss Mabel?"
Arthur: "But we're not out of the woods yet. I believe there's a rather common phrase about frying pans and fires... only this time, Gertrude, it is to be you and I who are roasted."
Gertrude: "You want me to tell him-- what? That I arranged a secret... secret..."
Arthur: "Secret revenezious, yes!"
Gertrude: "With a single man, and at such an hour? Scandalous, Arthur!"
Arthur: "Well, that very well may be, but it is also the truth!"
Gertrude: "I cannot tell him, Arthur... and you must promise me that you never will!"
Arthur: "I give you my word."
Robert: "His word that he will never tell me what?"
Lord Caversham: "Well, sir, what are you doing here? Wasting your time as usual?"
Arthur: "My dear father, when one pays a visit it is for the purpose of wasting other people's time and not one's own."
Lord Caversham: "High character... high moral term... high principles... everything that you have not got, sir, and never will have."
Arthur: "Marry Me, Miss Mabel."
Mabel: "Well! ... Lord Goring, I must say this comes as quite a surprise!"
Arthur: "Oh! Well! if you need time to consider, I'll just--"
Mabel: "NO! No... I don't need time! I need a reason!"
Mabel: "A reason... why I should marry you."
Arthur: "A reason, you say?"
Mabel: "A good one."
Gertrude: "May I see it?" [tears the envelope up]
Gertrude: "It is enough to know you would sacrifice it if I asked. We have, all of us, feet of clay, Robert. Women, as well as men."
Robert: "Gertrude! Can it be... does this mean that you've forgiven me?"
Gertrude: "What? Oh! I suppose... it must be that! Oh, Robert... hold me! Forgive me."
Robert [delighted]: "Gertrude! ... Gertrude, my wife!"
Arthur: "I love you. .... I love you... Mabel, I said ---"
Mabel: "I know."
Arthur: "Well... couldn't you... love me just a little bit in return?"
Mabel: "Arthur, you silly! If you knew anything about anything -- which you don't -- you would know that I absolutely adore you."
Robert: "I have to consider Mabel's future happiness, and as much as I care for you, Arthur... I don't think her happiness would be safe in your hands."
Gertrude: "Darling, if they truly love each other, why should they not be married?"
Robert: "I shall tell you. When I called on Lord Goring yesterday, I found Mrs. Chevely concealed in his rooms. I then discovered that they were at one time engaged to be married. I'm very sorry, Mabel, but how can I possibly allow you to marry him... when he is involved with another woman?"
Gertrude: "Arthur was expecting... quite another woman in his rooms last night."
Gertrude: "When we said that the note was intended for you, Robert... well... that was just my friends... trying to protect me. The truth is... the truth... is... I lied."