Erlynne’s carriage has come.
[Enter LORD AUGUSTUS.]
LORD AUGUSTUS. Good morning, dear boy. Good morning, Lady Windermere. [Sees MRS. ERLYNNE.] Mrs. Erlynne!
MRS. ERLYNNE. How do you do, Lord Augustus? Are you quite well this morning?
LORD AUGUSTUS. [Coldly.] Quite well, thank you, Mrs. Erlynne.
MRS. ERLYNNE. You don’t look at all well, Lord Augustus. You stop up too late - it is so bad for you. You really should take more care of yourself. Good-bye, Lord Windermere. [Goes towards door with a bow to LORD AUGUSTUS. Suddenly smiles and looks back at him.] Lord Augustus! Won’t you see me to my carriage? You might carry the fan.
LORD WINDERMERE. Allow me!
MRS. ERLYNNE. No; I want Lord Augustus. I have a special message for the dear Duchess. Won’t you carry the fan, Lord Augustus?
LORD AUGUSTUS. If you really desire it, Mrs. Erlynne.
MRS. ERLYNNE. [Laughing.] Of course I do. You’ll carry it so gracefully. You would carry off anything gracefully, dear Lord Augustus.
[When she reaches the door she looks back for a moment at LADY WINDERMERE. Their eyes meet. Then she turns, and exit C. followed by LORD AUGUSTUS.]
LADY WINDERMERE. You will never speak against Mrs. Erlynne again, Arthur, will you?
LORD WINDERMERE. [Gravely.] She is better than one thought her.
LADY WINDERMERE. She is better than I am.
LORD WINDERMERE. [Smiling as he strokes her hair.] Child, you and she belong to different worlds. Into your world evil has never entered.
LADY WINDERMERE. Don’t say that, Arthur. There is the same world for all of us, and good and evil, sin and innocence, go through it hand in hand. To shut one’s eyes to half of life that one may live securely is as though one blinded oneself that one might walk with more safety in a land of pit and precipice.
LORD WINDERMERE. [Moves down with her.] Darling, why do you say that?
LADY WINDERMERE. [Sits on sofa.] Because I, who had shut my eyes to life, came to the brink. And one who had separated us -
LORD WINDERMERE. We were never separated.
LADY WINDERMERE. We never must be again. O Arthur, don’t love me less, and I will trust you more. I will trust you absolutely. Let us go to Selby. In the Rose Garden at Selby the roses are white and red.
[Enter LORD AUGUSTUS C.]
LORD AUGUSTUS. Arthur, she has explained everything!
[LADY WINDERMERE looks horribly frightened at this. LORD WINDERMERE starts. LORD AUGUSTUS takes WINDERMERE by the arm and brings him to front of stage. He talks rapidly and in a low voice. LADY WINDERMERE stands watching them in terror.] My dear fellow, she has explained every demmed thing. We all wronged her immensely. It was entirely for my sake she went to Darlington’s rooms.