mrs. marchmont.  Going on to the Hartlocks’ to-night, Margaret? lady basildon.  I suppose so.  Are you? mrs. marchmont.  Yes.  Horribly tedious parties they give, don’t they?
for you, don’t kill that! sir robert chiltern.  Gertrude! lady chiltern.  I know that there are men with horrible secrets in their lives—men who have done some shameful thing, and who in some critical moment have to pay for it, by doing some other act of shame—oh! don’t tell me you are such as they are!  Robert, is there in your life any secret dishonour or disgrace?  Tell me, tell me at once, that— sir robert chiltern.  That what? lady chiltern.  [Speaking very slowly.]  That our lives may drift apart. sir robert chiltern.  Drift apart? lady chiltern.  That they may be entirely...
But there is something more I have to tell you, Arthur. [Enter phipps with drinks.] phipps.  [Hands hock and seltzer to sir robert chiltern.]  Hock and seltzer, sir. sir robert chiltern.  Thank you. lord goring.  Is your carriage here, Robert? sir robert chiltern.  No; I walked from the club. lord goring.  Sir Robert will take my cab, Phipps. phipps.  Yes, my lord.  [Exit.] lord goring.  Robert, you don’t mind my sending you away? sir robert chiltern.  Arthur, you must let me stay for five minutes.  I have made up my mind what I am going to do to-night in the House.  The debate on...
Note: But there is something more I have to tell you, Arthur. [Enter phipps with drinks.] phipps.  [Hands hock and seltzer to sir robert chiltern.]  Hock and seltzer, sir. sir robert chiltern.  Thank you. lord goring.  Is your carriage here, Robert? sir robert chiltern.  No; I walked from the club. lord goring.  Sir Robert will take my cab, Phipps. phipps.  Yes, my lord.  [Exit.] lord goring.  Robert, you don’t mind my sending you away? sir robert chiltern.  Arthur, you must let me stay for five minutes.  I have made up my mind what I am going to do to-night in the House.  The debate on the Argentine Canal is to begin at eleven.  [A chair falls in the drawing-room.]  What is that? lord goring.  Nothing. sir robert chiltern.  I heard a chair fall in the next room.  Some one has been listening. lord goring.  No, no; there is no one there. sir robert chiltern.  There is some one.  There are lights in the room, and the door is ajar.  Some one has been listening to every secret of my life.  Arthur, what does this mean? lord goring.  Robert, you are excited, unnerved.  I tell you there is no one in that room. Sit down, Robert. sir robert chiltern.  Do you give me your word that there is no one there? lord goring.  Yes. sir robert chiltern.  Your word of honour?  [Sits down.] lord goring.  Yes. sir robert chiltern.  [Rises.]  Arthur, let me see for myself. lord goring.  No, no. sir robert chiltern.  If there is no one there why should I not look in that room?  Arthur, you must let me go into that room and satisfy myself.  Let me know that no eavesdropper has heard my life’s secret.  Arthur, you don’t realise what I am going through. lord goring.  Robert, this must stop.  I have told you that there is no one in that room—that is enough. sir robert chiltern.  [Rushes to the door of the room.]  It is not enough.  I insist on going into this room.  You have told me there is no one there, so what reason can you have for refusing me? lord goring.  For God’s sake, don’t!  There is some one there.  Some one whom you must not see. sir robert chiltern.  Ah, I thought so! lord goring.  I forbid you to enter that room. sir robert chiltern.  Stand back.  My life is at stake.  And I don’t care who is there.  I will know who it is to whom I have told my secret and my shame.  [Enters room.] lord goring.  Great heavens! his own wife! [sir robert chiltern comes back, with a look of scorn and anger on his face.] sir robert chiltern.  What explanation have you to give me for the presence of that woman here? lord goring.  Robert, I swear to you on my honour that that lady is stainless and guiltless of all offence towards you. sir robert chiltern.  She is a vile, an infamous thing! lord goring.  Don’t say that, Robert!  It was for your sake she came here.  It was to try and save you she came here.  She loves you and no one else. sir robert chiltern.  You are mad.  What have I to do with her intrigues with you?  Let her remain your mistress!  You are well suited to each other.  She, corrupt and shameful—you, false as a friend, treacherous as an enemy even— lord goring.  It is not true, Robert.  Before heaven, it is not true.  In her presence and in yours I will explain all. sir robert chiltern.  Let me pass, sir.  You have lied enough upon your word of honour. [sir robert chiltern goes out.  lord goring rushes to the door of the drawing-room, when mrs. cheveley comes out, looking radiant and much amused.] mrs. cheveley.  [With a mock curtsey]  Good evening, Lord Goring! lord goring.  Mrs. Cheveley!  Great heavens! . . . May I ask what you were doing in my drawing-room? mrs. cheveley.  Merely listening.  I have a perfect passion for listening through keyholes.  One always hears such wonderful things through them. lord goring.  Doesn’t that sound rather like tempting Providence? mrs. cheveley.  Oh! surely Providence can resist temptation by this time.  [Makes a sign to him to take her cloak off, which he does.] lord goring.  I am glad you have called.  I am going to give you some good advice. mrs. cheveley.  Oh! pray don’t.  One should never give a woman anything that she can’t wear in the evening. lord goring.  I see you are quite as wilful as you used to be. mrs. cheveley.  Far more!  I have greatly improved.  I have had more experience. lord goring.  Too much experience is a dangerous thing.  Pray have a cigarette.  Half the pretty women in London smoke cigarettes.  Personally I prefer the other half. mrs. cheveley.  Thanks.  I never smoke.  My dressmaker wouldn’t like it, and a woman’s first duty in life is to her dressmaker, isn’t it?  What the second duty is, no one has as yet discovered. lord goring.  You have come here to sell me Robert Chiltern’s letter, haven’t you? mrs. cheveley.  To offer it to you on conditions.  How did you guess that? lord goring.  Because you haven’t mentioned the subject.  Have you got it with you? mrs. cheveley.  [Sitting down.]  Oh, no!  A well-made dress has no pockets. lord goring.  What is your price for it? mrs. cheveley.  How absurdly English you are!  The English think that a cheque-book can solve every problem in life.  Why, my dear Arthur, I have very much more money than you have, and quite as much as Robert Chiltern has got hold of.  Money is not what I want. lord goring.  What do you want then, Mrs. Cheveley? mrs. cheveley.  Why don’t you call me Laura? lord goring.  I don’t like the name. mrs. cheveley.  You used to adore it. lord goring.  Yes: that’s why.