a large corridor in the ducal palace: a window (l.c.) looks out on a view of padua by moonlight: a staircase (r.c.) leads up to a door with a portiere of crimson velvet, with the duke's arms embroidered in gold on it: on the lowest step of the staircase a figure draped in black is sitting: the hall is lit by an iron cresset filled with burning tow: thunder and lightning outside: the time is night.
[enter guido through the window.]
the wind is rising: how my ladder shook!
i thought that every gust would break the cords!
[looks out at the city.]
christ! what a night:
great thunder in the heavens, and wild lightnings
striking from pinnacle to pinnacle
across the city, till the dim houses seem
to shudder and to shake as each new glare
dashes adown the street.
[passes across the stage to foot of staircase.]
ah! who art thou
that sittest on the stair, like unto death
waiting a guilty soul? [a pause.]
canst thou not speak?
or has this storm laid palsy on thy tongue,
and chilled thy utterance?
[the figure rises and takes off his mask.]
the card at the top left represents how you see yourself. two of coins (change): unusual turn of events. unexpected difficulties. untried emotions. uncharacteristic behavior.
the card at the top right represents how you see your partner. five of staves (strife): a project or adventure abandoned or cut short because of the departure or disappearance of a necessary colleague, partner, friend or lieutenant.
the card in the center left represents how you feel about your partner. three of coins (works): beauty. balance. harmony. well-being.
the card in the center right represents what stands between you and your partner. seven of coins (assessment), when reversed: unwise decision. stagnation.
the card in the lower left represents how your partner sees you. eight of swords (interference): emotional disaster. loss of a beloved person or a valued situation. a sadness that creates a new strength and resolve.
the card in the lower right represents what your partner feels about you. three of cups (abundance): rescue from difficulty. comfort in apprehension. a strange but beautiful occurrence.
the card in the center represents the present status or challenge of the relationship. knight of coins: a responsible and hardworking young person, efficient and persevering. an organizer, cataloguer, and pathfinder. a person attached to the realities of life, but with a quixotic streak. a person who is serious yet quick to laugh.
he rose to his full height, standing before her with both hands on his sabre.
'i have only now realized what happiness a man can experience! and it is you, my darling, who have given me this happiness,' he said with a timid smile.
endearments had not yet become usual between them, and feeling himself morally inferior he felt terrified at this stage to use them to such an angel.
'it is thanks to you that i have come to know myself. i have learnt that i am better than i thought.'
'i have known that for a long time. that was why i began to love you.'
nightingales trilled nearby and the fresh leafage rustled, moved by a passing breeze.
he took her hand and kissed it, and tears came into his eyes.
she understood that he was thanking her for having said she loved him. he silently took a few steps up and down, and then approached her again and sat down.
'you know . . . i have to tell you . . . i was not disinterested when i began to make love to you. i wanted to get into society; but later . . . how unimportant that became in comparison with you--when i got to know you. you are not angry with me for that?'
she did not reply but merely touched his hand. he understood that this meant: 'no, i am not angry.'
but it is very difficult to get into society isn't it?
to get into the best society, nowadays, one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people - that is all!
i suppose society is wonderfully delightful!
to be in it is merely a bore. but to be out of it simply a tragedy. society is a necessary thing. no man has any real success in this world unless he has got women to back him, and women rule society. if you have not got women on your side you are quite over. you might just as well be a barrister, or a stockbroker, or a journalist at once.
it is very difficult to understand women, is it not?
you should never try to understand them. women are pictures. men are problems. if you want to know what a woman really means - which, by the way, is always a dangerous thing to do - look at her, don't listen to her.
but women are awfully clever, aren't they?
one should always tell them so. but, to the philosopher, my dear gerald, women represent the triumph of matter over mind - just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
how then can women have so much power as you say they have?
the history of women is the history of the worst form of tyranny the world has ever known. the tyranny of the weak over the strong. it is the only tyranny that lasts.
but haven't women got a refining influence?
nothing refines but the intellect.
still, there are many different kinds of women, aren't there?
only two kinds in society: the plain and the coloured.
but there are good women in society, aren't there?
far too many.
but do you think women shouldn't be good?
one should never tell them so, they'd all become good at once. women are a fascinatingly wilful sex. every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.
you have never been married, lord illingworth, have you?
men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. both are disappointed.
but don't you think one can be happy when one is married?
perfectly happy. but the happiness of a married man, my dear gerald, depends on the people he has not married.
but if one is in love?
one should always be in love. that is the reason one should never marry.
love is a very wonderful thing, isn't it?
when one is in love one begins by deceiving oneself. and one ends by deceiving others. that is what the world calls a romance. but a really grande passion is comparatively rare nowadays. it is the privilege of people who have nothing to do. that is the one use of the idle classes in a country, and the only possible explanation of us harfords.
harfords, lord illingworth?
that is my family name. you should study the peerage, gerald. it is the one book a young man about town should know thoroughly, and it is the best thing in fiction the english have ever done. and now, gerald, you are going into a perfectly new life with me, and i want you to know how to live. [mrs. arbuthnot appears on terrace behind.] for the world has been made by fools that wise men should live in it!