Excerpted and Edited from Act I of A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde

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by Jack Esteve

DRUSILLA: But I can't stand the American young lady.

ANGELUS: Why?

DRUSILLA: She told me yesterday, and in quite a loud voice too, that she was only seventeen. It was most annoying.

ANGELUS: One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.

DRUSILLA: She is the Slayer besides -

ANGELUS: Ah, that is inexcusable. I don't mind plain women being Slayers. It is the only excuse they have for being plain. But she is decidedly pretty. I admire her immensely. [Looks steadfastly at DRUSILLA:]

DRUSILLA: What a thoroughly bad man you must be!

ANGELUS: What do you call a bad man?

DRUSILLA: The sort of man who admires innocence.

ANGELUS: And a bad woman?

DRUSILLA: Oh! the sort of woman a man never gets tired of.

ANGELUS: You are severe - on yourself.
DRUSILLA: Define us as a sex.

ANGELUS: Sphinxes without secrets.

DRUSILLA: Does that include the Slayer woman?

ANGELUS: I don't think there is a mortal woman in the world who would not be a little flattered if I made love to her. It is that which makes women so irresistibly adorable.

DRUSILLA: You think there is no woman in the world who would object to being kissed?

ANGELUS: Very few.

DRUSILLA: Miss Summers would not let you kiss her now.

ANGELUS: Are you sure?

DRUSILLA: Quite.

ANGELUS: What do you think she'd do if I kissed her?

DRUSILLA: Either marry you, or stake you. What would you do if she staked you?

ANGELUS: Fall in love with her, probably.

DRUSILLA: Then it is lucky you are not going to kiss her!

ANGELUS: Is that a challenge?

DRUSILLA: It is an arrow shot into the air.

ANGELUS: Don't you know that I always succeed in whatever I try?

DRUSILLA: I am sorry to hear it. We women adore failures. They lean on us.

ANGELUS: You worship successes. You cling to them.

DRUSILLA: We are the laurels to hide their baldness.

ANGELUS: And they need you always, except at the moment of triumph.

DRUSILLA: They are uninteresting then.

ANGELUS: How tantalising you are! [A pause.]

DRUSILLA: Angelus, there is one thing I shall always like you for.

ANGELUS: Only one thing? And I have so many bad qualities.

DRUSILLA: Ah, don't be too conceited about them. You may lose them as you grow old.

ANGELUS: I never will grow old. The soul is born old but grows young. That is the comedy of life.

DRUSILLA: And the body is born young and grows old. That is life's tragedy. But we are above that.

ANGELUS: Its comedy also, sometimes. But what is the mysterious reason why you will always like me?

DRUSILLA: It is that you have never made love to me.

ANGELUS: I have never done anything else.

DRUSILLA: Really? I have not noticed it.

ANGELUS: How fortunate! It might have been a tragedy for both of us.

DRUSILLA: We should each have survived.

ANGELUS: One can survive everything nowadays, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.

DRUSILLA: Have you tried a good reputation?

ANGELUS: It is one of the many annoyances to which I have recently been subjected.

DRUSILLA: It may come again.

ANGELUS: Why do you threaten me?

DRUSILLA: I will tell you when you have kissed the Slayer.

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