Oh, I love London Society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.
SIR ROBERT CHILTERN
You prefer to be natural?
Sometimes. But it is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
Oh! I am not at all romantic. I am not old enough. I leave romance to my seniors.
I love talking about nothing, father. It is the only thing I know anything about.
You seem to me to be living entirely for pleasure.
What else is there to live for, father? Nothing ages like happiness.
I like looking at geniuses, and listening to beautiful people.
Nowadays, with our modern mania for morality, every one has to pose as a paragon of purity, incorruptibility, and all the other seven deadly virtues—and what is the result? You all go over like ninepins—one after the other.
Robert, that is all very well for other men, for men who treat life simply as a sordid speculation; but not for you, Robert, not for you. You are different. All your life you have stood apart from others. You have never let the world soil you. To the world, as to myself, you have been an ideal always. Oh! be that ideal still.
Ah! I prefer a gentlemanly fool any day. There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine.
In fact, I usually say what I really think. A great mistake nowadays. It makes one so liable to be misunderstood.
Nobody is incapable of doing a foolish thing. Nobody is incapable of doing a wrong thing.
All I do know is that life cannot be understood without much charity, cannot be lived without much charity. It is love, and not German philosophy, that is the true explanation of this world, whatever may be the explanation of the next.
When Tommy wants to be romantic he talks to one just like a doctor.
The art of living. The only really Fine Art we have produced in modern times.
Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.
One sees that [Lord Goring] stands in immediate relation to modern life, makes it indeed, and so masters it. He is the first well-dressed philosopher in the history of thought.
And falsehoods [are] the truths of other people.
But women who have common sense are so curiously plain, father, aren’t they?
Youth isn’t an affectation. Youth is an art.
Well, my duty is a thing I never do, on principle. It always depresses me.
An ideal husband! Oh, I don’t think I should like that. It sounds like something in the next world….He can be what he chooses. All I want is to be . . . to be . . . oh! a real wife to him.