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431 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1898
Lady Plymdale [to Mr. Dumby]: What an absolute brute you are! I never can believe a word you say! Why did you tell me you didn't know her? What do you mean by calling on her three times running? You are not going to lunch there; of course you understand that?Okay, what was subversive in this snippet?
Dumby: My dear Laura, I wouldn't dream of going!
Lady Plymdale: You haven't told me her name yet! Who is she?
Dumby: [coughs slightly and smooths his hair]: She's a Mrs Erlynne.
Lady Plymdale: That woman!
Dumby: Yes, that is what everyone calls her.
Lady Plymdale: How very interesting! How intensely interesting! I really must have a good stare at her. [Goes to the ball-room and looks in.] I have heard the most shocking things about her. They say she is ruining poor Windermere. And Lady Windermere, who goes in for being so proper, invites her! How extremely amusing! It takes a thoroughly good woman to do a thoroughly stupid thing. You are to lunch there on Friday!
ear⋅nest /ˈur-nist/The philosophy of the play is that of the dandy, someone with eyes steadily averted from anything serious and turned, instead, towards one's own (and lesser, one's friend's) superficial pleasantness. Definitely not earnest.
1. serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
2. showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
3. seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.
4. full seriousness, as of intention or purpose: to speak in earnest.
Jack: I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can't go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.
Algernon: We have.
Jack: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?
Algernon: The fools? Oh! about the clever people, of course.
Jack: What fools!