But I cannot give my sister's life into your hands. It would be wrong of me. It would be unjust, infamously unjust to her.
LORD GORING. I have nothing more to say.
LADY CHILTERN. Robert, it was not Mrs. Cheveley whom Lord Goring expected last night.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. Not Mrs. Cheveley! Who was it then?
LORD GORING. Lady Chiltern!
LADY CHILTERN. It was your own wife. Robert, yesterday afternoon Lord Goring told me that if ever I was in trouble I could come to him for help, as he was our oldest and best friend. Later on, after that terrible scene in this room, I wrote to him telling him that I trusted him, that I had need of him, that I was coming to him for help and advice. [SIR ROBERT CHILTERN takes the letter out of his pocket.] Yes, that letter. I didn't go to Lord Goring's, after all. I felt that it is from ourselves alone that help can come. Pride made me think that. Mrs. Cheveley went. She stole my letter and sent it anonymously to you this morning, that you should think . . . Oh! Robert, I cannot tell you what she wished you to think. . . .
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. What! Had I fallen so low in your eyes that you thought that even for a moment I could have doubted your goodness? Gertrude, Gertrude, you are to me the white image of all good things, and sin can never touch you. Arthur, you can go to Mabel, and you have my best wishes! Oh! stop a moment. There is no name at the beginning of this letter. The brilliant Mrs. Cheveley does not seem to have noticed that. There should be a name.
LADY CHILTERN. Let me write yours. It is you I trust and need. You and none else.
LORD GORING. Well, really, Lady Chiltern, I think I should have back my own letter.
LADY CHILTERN. [Smiling.] No; you shall have Mabel. [Takes the letter and writes her husband's name on it.]
LORD GORING. Well, I hope she hasn't changed her mind. It's nearly twenty minutes since I saw her last.
[Enter MABEL CHILTERN and LORD CAVERSHAM.]
MABEL CHILTERN. Lord Goring, I think your father's conversation much more improving than yours. I am only going to talk to Lord Caversham in the future, and always under the usual palm tree.
LORD GORING. Darling! [Kisses her.]
LORD CAVERSHAM. [Considerably taken aback.] What does this mean, sir? You don't mean to say that this charming, clever young lady has been so foolish as to accept you?
LORD GORING. Certainly, father! And Chiltern's been wise enough to accept the seat in the Cabinet.
LORD CAVERSHAM. I am very glad to hear that, Chiltern . . . I congratulate you, sir. If the country doesn't go to the dogs or the Radicals, we shall have you Prime Minister, some day.
MASON. Luncheon is on the table, my Lady!
[MASON goes out.]
MABEL CHILTERN. You'll stop to luncheon, Lord Caversham, won't you?
LORD CAVERSHAM. With pleasure, and I'll drive you down to Downing Street afterwards, Chiltern. You have a great future before you, a great future. Wish I could say the same for you, sir. [To LORD GORING.] But your career will have to be entirely domestic.
LORD GORING. Yes, father, I prefer it domestic.
LORD CAVERSHAM. And if you don't make this young lady an ideal husband, I'll cut you off with a shilling.