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An Ideal Husband

Second Act
SCENE
Morning-room at Sir Robert Chiltern's house.
[LORD GORING, dressed in the height of fashion, is lounging in an armchair.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN is standing in front of the fireplace. He is evidently in a
state of great mental excitement and distress. As the scene progresses he paces
nervously up and down the room.]
LORD GORING. My dear Robert, it's a very awkward business, very awkward
indeed. You should have told your wife the whole thing. Secrets from other
people's wives are a necessary luxury in modern life. So, at least, I am always
told at the club by people who are bald enough to know better. But no man
should have a secret from his own wife. She invariably finds it out. Women have
a wonderful instinct about things. They can discover everything except the
obvious.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. Arthur, I couldn't tell my wife. When could I have told
her? Not last night. It would have made a life-long separation between us, and I
would have lost the love of the one woman in the world I worship, of the only
woman who has ever stirred love within me. Last night it would have been quite
impossible. She would have turned from me in horror . . . in horror and in
contempt.
LORD GORING. Is Lady Chiltern as perfect as all that?
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. Yes; my wife is as perfect as all that.
LORD GORING. [Taking off his left-hand glove.] What a pity! I beg your pardon,
my dear fellow, I didn't quite mean that. But if what you tell me is true, I should
like to have a serious talk about life with Lady Chiltern.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. It would be quite useless.
LORD GORING. May I try?
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. Yes; but nothing could make her alter her views.
LORD GORING. Well, at the worst it would simply be a psychological
experiment.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN. All such experiments are terribly dangerous.
 
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