Algy: Bunbury? He was quite *exploded*.
Lady Bracknell: Exploded?
Algy: [pretending sadness] Mm.
Lady Bracknell: Was he the victim of some revolutionary outrage? I was not aware that Mr. Bunbury was interested in social legislation.
Algy: My dear Aunt Augusta, I mean he was *found out*. The doctors found out that Bunbury could not live - that is what I mean - so Bunbury died.
Lady Bracknell: He seems to have had great confidence in the opinion of his physicians.
Lady Bracknell: Well, I must say, Algy, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up his mind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question is absurd!
Lady Bracknell: I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delecate, exotic fruit. Touch it, and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious threat to the upper classes, and probably lead ot acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.
Jack: I'll bet you anything you like that half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other sister.
Algy: Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first.
Jack: Lady Bracknell, I hate to seem inquisitive, but would you kindly inform me who I am?
Miss Prism: The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.
Algy: But why does your aunt call you her uncle?
[Reading cigarette case]
Algy: "From little Cecily, with her fondest love to her dear Uncle Jack." There is no objection, I admit, to an aunt being a small aunt, but why an aunt, no matter what her size may be, should call her own nephew her uncle, I can't quite make out.
[on hearing that Jack's wastrel brother died suddenly]
Miss Prism: What a lesson for him. I trust he will profit by it.
Algy: Do you mean you couldn't love me if I had a different name?
Cecily: But what name?
Algy: Well... Algy, for instance.
Cecily: I might respect you, Earnest, I might admire your character, but I feel that I could never give you my undivided attention.
[in the end credits]
Jack: Algy, you're always talking nonsense.
Algy: It's better than listening to it.
[Jack tells Lady Bracknell his address in London]
Lady Bracknell: The unfashionable side. I thought there was something.
[she reaches for the bell, but reconsiders and pulls back]
Lady Bracknell: However, that could easily be altered.
Jack: Do you mean the fashion, or the side?
Lady Bracknell: Well, both, if necessary, I presume!
Jack: Then a passionate celibacy is all that any of us can look forward to.
Lady Bracknell: 35 is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained 35 for years.
Lady Bracknell: The General was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life.
Jack: I don't actually know who I am by birth. I was... well, I was found.
Lady Bracknell: Found?
Jack: Yes. The late Mr. Thomas Cardew, an old gentlemen of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It's a seaside resort.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this charitable gentlemen with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?
Jack: In a handbag.
Lady Bracknell: [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?
Jack: Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a hand bag. A somewhat large... black... leather handbag with handles... to it.
Lady Bracknell: An ordinary handbag.
Lady Bracknell: And where did this Mr. James... or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?
Jack: The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own...
Lady Bracknell: [Shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?
Jack: Yes. The Brighton line.
Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial.
[begins tearing up notes]
Lady Bracknell: Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?
Gwendolyn: In matters of utmost importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.
Lady Bracknell: You seem to be displaying signs of triviality.
Jack: On the contrary, Aunt Augusta. I've now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Ernest.
Lady Bracknell: Come on, Gwendolyn, we have already missed five, if not six trains! To miss any more might expose us to comments on the platform.
Lady Bracknell: I don't know whether there is anything particularly exciting about the air in this particular part of Hertfordshire, but the number of engagements that go on seem to me to be considerably above the proper average that statistics have laid down for our guidance.
Gwendolyn: Where questions of self-sacrifice are concerned, men are infinitely beyond us!
Lady Bracknell: To lose one parent, Mr. Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.
Algy: I don't seem to care about anything anymore... I only care for you. I love you Cecily. Will you marry me?
Cecily: Why, of course! We've been engaged for the past 3 months!
Algy: ...3 months?
Jack: You don't think there's any chance of Gwendolyn becoming like her mother in about 150 years, do you Algy?
Algy: My dear fellow, all women become like their mothers, that's their tragedy. No man does, and that's his.
Algy: I really don't see what is so romantic about proposing. One may be accepted - one usually is, I believe - and then the excitement is ended. The very essence of romance is uncertainty.
Lady Bracknell: Sorry if we are a little late, Algy. I was obliged to call on dear Lady Harbury. I have not been there since her husband's death. I never saw a woman so altered. She looks quite twenty years younger.
Algy: The only way to behave to a woman is to make love to her if she is pretty, and to someone else if she is plain.
Cecily: You must not laugh at me, darling, but it has always been a girlish dream of mine to love a man named Ernest.
[while Algy is pretending to be Jack's brother]
Jack: [whispering] Algy! Algy! Algy!
[Algy looks around, as if wondering who Jack's calling]
Algy: Ah, good morning, dear fellow.
Jack: Good heavens, I suppose a man may eat his own muffins in his own garden.
Algy: But you have just said it was perfectly heartless to eat muffins!
Jack: I said it was perfectly heartless of YOU under the circumstances. That is a very different thing.
Algy: That may be, but the muffins are the same!
Jack: How you can sit there eating muffins when we're in this terrible trouble, I can't make out! It seems to me to be perfectly heartless...
Algy: I can hardly eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs.
[over the end credits, Algy and Jack rehearse their song to win back their girls]
Jack: I think your high notes may have damaged our chances, old boy. You do want them to come down, don't you?
Algy: Well, they're never going to come down while you're singing like that, you're completely out of tune.
Jack: How dare you.
Algy: I'll take this next bit.
Jack: You leave this one to me, you go and have a lie-down.
Algy: I'm doing it.
Jack: Move out of my way, I'm coming through.
Algy: Go easy, my dear fellow...
Jack: [singing] COME DO-O-O-O-WN, LADY COME DOWN...
Algy: Overdoing it, less is more.
Lady Bracknell: I have always been of the opinion that a man who desires to get married should know either everything or nothing. Which do you know?
Jack: I know nothing, Lady Bracknell.
Lady Bracknell: I am pleased to hear it. I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a very delicate exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately, in England at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor's Square.
Lady Bracknell: Do you smoke?
Jack: Well, Lady Bracknell, I am bound to say, yes, I do smoke.
Lady Bracknell: That is well. A man should always have an occupation.
Lady Bracknell: I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury decide whether he would like to live or die.
Lady Bracknell: [walking in on his kneeling proposal] Mr. Worthing, sir, rise from this semi-recumbent posture, it is most indecorous!
Jack: I said I had lost my parents; it would be nearer to the truth that my parents lost me.