Lady Windermere's Fan - Oscar Wilde - ebook

Lady Windermere's Fan ebook

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Titel: Lady Windermere's Fan

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ISBN 978-3-7429-0739-4

Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Lady Windermere's Fan, by Oscar Wilde

Transcribed from the 1917 Methuen & Co. Ltd edition by David Price, email [email protected]

LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN

THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

Lord Windermere Lord Darlington Lord Augustus Lorton Mr. Dumby Mr. Cecil Graham Mr. Hopper Parker, Butler

Lady Windermere The Duchess of Berwick Lady Agatha Carlisle Lady Plymdale Lady Stutfield Lady Jedburgh Mrs. Cowper-Cowper Mrs. Erlynne Rosalie, Maid

THE SCENES OF THE PLAY

The action of the play takes place within twenty-four hours, beginning on a Tuesday afternoon at five o’clock, and ending the next day at 1.30 p.m.

LONDON: ST. JAMES’S THEATRE

Lessee and Manager: Mr. George Alexander February 22nd, 1892.

Lord Windermere, Mr. George Alexander. Lord Darlington, Mr. Nutcombe Gould. Lord Augustus Lorton, Mr. H. H. Vincent. Mr. Cecil Graham, Mr. Ben Webster. Mr. Dumby, Mr. Vane-Tempest. Mr. Hopper, Mr. Alfred Holles. Parker (Butler), Mr. V. Sansbury. Lady Windermere, Miss Lily Hanbury. The Duchess of Berwick, Miss Fanny Coleman. Lady Agatha Carlisle, Miss Laura Graves. Lady Plymdale, Miss Granville. Lady Jedburgh, Miss B. Page. Lady Stutfield, Miss Madge Girdlestone. Mrs. Cowper-Cowper, Miss A. de Winton. Mrs. Erlynne, Miss Marion Terry. Rosalie (Maid), Miss Winifred Dolan.

FIRST ACT

SCENCE

Morning-room of Lord Windermere’s house in Carlton House Terrace.  Doors C. and R.  Bureau with books and papers R.  Sofa with small tea-table L.  Window opening on to terrace L.  Table R.

[LADY WINDERMERE is at table R., arranging roses in a blue bowl.]

[Enter PARKER.]

PARKER.  Is your ladyship at home this afternoon?

LADY WINDERMERE.  Yes - who has called?

PARKER.  Lord Darlington, my lady.

LADY WINDERMERE.  [Hesitates for a moment.]  Show him up - and I’m at home to any one who calls.

PARKER.  Yes, my lady.

[Exit C.]

LADY WINDERMERE.  It’s best for me to see him before to-night.  I’m glad he’s come.

[Enter PARKER C.]

PARKER.  Lord Darlington,

[Enter LORD DARLINGTON C.]

[Exit PARKER.]

LORD DARLINGTON.  How do you do, Lady Windermere?

LADY WINDERMERE.  How do you do, Lord Darlington?  No, I can’t shake hands with you.  My hands are all wet with these roses.  Aren’t they lovely?  They came up from Selby this morning.

LORD DARLINGTON.  They are quite perfect.  [Sees a fan lying on the table.]  And what a wonderful fan!  May I look at it?

LADY WINDERMERE.  Do.  Pretty, isn’t it!  It’s got my name on it, and everything.  I have only just seen it myself.  It’s my husband’s birthday present to me.  You know to-day is my birthday?

LORD DARLINGTON.  No?  Is it really?

LADY WINDERMERE.  Yes, I’m of age to-day.  Quite an important day in my life, isn’t it?  That is why I am giving this party to-night.  Do sit down.  [Still arranging flowers.]

LORD DARLINGTON.  [Sitting down.]  I wish I had known it was your birthday, Lady Windermere.  I would have covered the whole street in front of your house with flowers for you to walk on.  They are made for you.  [A short pause.]

LADY WINDERMERE.  Lord Darlington, you annoyed me last night at the Foreign Office.  I am afraid you are going to annoy me again.

LORD DARLINGTON.  I, Lady Windermere?

[Enter PARKER and FOOTMAN C., with tray and tea things.]

LADY WINDERMERE.  Put it there, Parker.  That will do.  [Wipes her hands with her pocket-handkerchief, goes to tea-table, and sits down.]  Won’t you come over, Lord Darlington?

[Exit PARKER C.]

LORD DARLINGTON.  [Takes chair and goes across L.C.]  I am quite miserable, Lady Windermere.  You must tell me what I did.  [Sits down at table L.]

LADY WINDERMERE.  Well, you kept paying me elaborate compliments the whole evening.

LORD DARLINGTON.  [Smiling.]  Ah, nowadays we are all of us so hard up, that the only pleasant things to pay are compliments.  They’re the only things we can pay.

LADY WINDERMERE.  [Shaking her head.]  No, I am talking very seriously.  You mustn’t laugh, I am quite serious.  I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.

LORD DARLINGTON.  Ah, but I did mean them.  [Takes tea which she offers him.]

LADY WINDERMERE.  [Gravely.]  I hope not.  I should be sorry to have to quarrel with you, Lord Darlington.  I like you very much, you know that.  But I shouldn’t like you at all if I thought you were what most other men are.  Believe me, you are better than most other men, and I sometimes think you pretend to be worse.

LORD DARLINGTON.  We all have our little vanities, Lady Windermere.

LADY WINDERMERE.  Why do you make that your special one?  [Still seated at table L.]

LORD DARLINGTON.  [Still seated L.C.]  Oh, nowadays so many conceited people go about Society pretending to be good, that I think it shows rather a sweet and modest disposition to pretend to be bad.  Besides, there is this to be said.  If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously.  If you pretend to be bad, it doesn’t.  Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.

LADY WINDERMERE.  Don’t you want the world to take you seriously then, Lord Darlington?

LORD DARLINGTON.  No, not the world.  Who are the people the world takes seriously?  All the dull people one can think of, from the Bishops down to the bores.  I should like you to take me very seriously, Lady Windermere, you more than any one else in life.

LADY WINDERMERE.  Why - why me?

LORD DARLINGTON.  [After a slight hesitation.]  Because I think we might be great friends.  Let us be great friends.  You may want a friend some day.

LADY WINDERMERE.  Why do you say that?

LORD DARLINGTON.  Oh! - we all want friends at times.

LADY WINDERMERE.  I think we’re very good friends already, Lord Darlington.  We can always remain so as long as you don’t -

LORD DARLINGTON.  Don’t what?

LADY WINDERMERE.  Don’t spoil it by saying extravagant silly things to me.  You think I am a Puritan, I suppose?  Well, I have something of the Puritan in me.  I was brought up like that.  I am glad of it.  My mother died when I was a mere child.  I lived always with Lady Julia, my father’s elder sister, you know.  She was stern to me, but she taught me what the world is forgetting, the difference that there is between what is right and what is wrong.  She allowed of no compromise.  I allow of none.

LORD DARLINGTON.  My dear Lady Windermere!

LADY WINDERMERE.  [Leaning back on the sofa.]  You look on me as being behind the age. - Well, I am!  I should be sorry to be on the same level as an age like this.

LORD DARLINGTON.  You think the age very bad?

LADY WINDERMERE.  Yes.  Nowadays people seem to look on life as a speculation.  It is not a speculation.  It is a sacrament.  Its ideal is Love.  Its purification is sacrifice.

LORD DARLINGTON.  [Smiling.]  Oh, anything is better than being sacrificed!

LADY WINDERMERE.  [Leaning forward.]  Don’t say that.

LORD DARLINGTON.  I do say it.  I feel it - I know it.

[Enter PARKER C.]

PARKER.  The men want to know if they are to put the carpets on the terrace for to-night, my lady?

LADY WINDERMERE.  You don’t think it will rain, Lord Darlington, do you?

LORD DARLINGTON.  I won’t hear of its raining on your birthday!

LADY WINDERMERE.  Tell them to do it at once, Parker.

[Exit PARKER C.]