Session 5

Jack returns home to find his friend Algernon there. Algernon's pretending to be Jack's brother so he can win Cecily's heart

በዚህ ክፍል ያሉ ክፍለ ጊዜያት

ክፍለጊዜያት 5 ነጥብ።

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Drama

The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 5: Jack meets Ernest

Journey back to Victorian London with us for the fifth episode of The Importance of Being Earnest, based on the original comedy by Oscar Wilde.

Algernon is pretending to be Jack's younger brother, Ernest, so he can win Cecily's heart. But Jack arrives and says his brother Ernest has just died. What will happen when Jack sees Algernon there? This can't end well...

ድምፁን ያድምጡና ክንውኑን ይፈፅሙ

ፅሁፍ አሳይ ፅሁፍ ደብቅ

Narrator
Jack has returned earlier than expected to his house in the country. He's just told Miss Prism and Reverend Chasuble that his younger brother Ernest is dead. What they don't know is that Algernon is at the house at this very moment, pretending to be Ernest.

Chasuble
I am very sorry about your brother, Mr Worthing. I shall, of course, mention this tragic event in my sermon next Sunday. 

Jack
That would be most kind, Reverend.

Chasuble
I can usually adapt my weekly sermon to almost any occasion, happy or sad – weddings, christenings...

Jack
Christenings... Ah! That reminds me, Reverend Chasuble. I suppose you do know how to christen

Chasuble
Well…

Jack  
I mean, of course, you often christen people, don't you?

Chasuble 
But which baby do you want to christen, Mr Worthing? Your brother wasn't married, was he?

Jack
Oh no. But it's not for a child, Reverend. No! It's me - I'd like to be christened... this afternoon.

Chasuble
But surely you have been christened already?

Jack
I don't remember anything about it.

Chasuble 
Well, what time would you like the ceremony performed?

Jack
Oh, around five if that would suit you?

Chasuble
Perfectly!

Narrator
Just at this time, Cecily comes out of the house into the garden.

Cecily
Uncle Jack! Oh, I am pleased to see you back. But why are you wearing those awful clothes?

Miss Prism
Cecily!

Cecily
Oh! What's the matter, Uncle Jack? You look so sad, and I've got such a surprise for you. Who do you think is in the dining room? Your brother!

Jack
Who?

Cecily
Your brother Ernest. He arrived about half an hour ago.

Jack
But I haven't got a brother.

Cecily
Oh, don't say that. However badly he may have behaved to you in the past, he is still your brother. I'll tell him to come out. You will shake hands with him, won't you, Uncle Jack? 

[Cecily leaves]

Chasuble
This is happy news...

Jack
My brother here? That's quite absurd.

Narrator
Cecily comes out of the house again, this time holding Algernon's hand.  

Jack
Good heavens! 

Algernon
Brother Jack, I've come to tell you that I'm very sorry for all the trouble I've given you, and that I plan to lead a better life in the future.

Narrator
Jack can't believe his eyes and stares at his friend. Algernon puts out his hand, but Jack ignores it.

Cecily
Uncle Jack, you are not going to refuse to shake your own brother's hand?

Jack
Nothing will makeme shake his hand. I think him coming down here is disgraceful. He knows perfectly well why.

Cecily
Uncle Jack, do be nice. There is some good in everyone. Ernest has just been telling me about his poor sick friend Mr Bunbury whom he often visits. And there must certainly be a lot of good in someone who is kind to a sick friend.

Jack
Oh! He's been talking about Bunbury, has he?

Cecily
Yes, he has told me all about poor Mr Bunbury, and how ill he is.

Jack
Bunbury! Well, I won't let him talk to you about Bunbury or about anything else. 

Algernon
Of course I admit that I have not behaved well, but I expected a more enthusiastic welcome, especially as it's the first time I have come here.

Cecily
Uncle Jack, if you don't shake hands with Ernest I'll never forgive you.

Jack
Never forgive me?

Cecily
Never!

Jack
Well, this is the last time I shall ever do it... There!

Chasuble
I think we should leave the two brothers together.

Miss Prism
Cecily, you will come with us.

Narrator
And so they all go off leaving the men alone. Jack tells Algernon he must leave immediately, but just then, the butler, Merriman, arrives.

Merriman
I have put Mr Ernest's things in the room next to yours, sir. I suppose that is all right?

Jack
What?

Merriman
Mr Ernest's luggage, sir.

Jack
 Luggage?

Merriman
Yes, sir. 

Jack
Merriman, order the carriage at once. Mr Ernest has been suddenly called back to London.

Merriman
Yes, sir. 

Algernon
What a terrible liar you are, Jack. I have not been called back to London at all.

Jack
Yes, you have.

Algernon
Well, I have to say, Cecily is lovely.

Jack
You are not allowed to talk of Miss Cardew like that. I don't like it.

Algernon
Well, I don't like your clothes. Why don't you go and change? It is perfectly childish to be in mourning for a man who is actually staying in your house as a guest. 

Jack
You are certainly not staying with me as a guest or anything else. You are leaving... by the four-five train.

Algernon
Well, I won't leave you while you are in mourning. It would be most unkind. If I was in mourning, I think it would be very unkind if you didn't stay with me.

Jack
Well, will you leave if I change my clothes?

Algernon
Yes, if you are not too long. I've never known anyone take so long to get dressed and with such little result.

Jack
Well, it's better than always being over-dressed as you are.

Algernon
If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by always being immensely over-educated.

Jack
Your vanity is ridiculous and your behaviour is an outrage. You have got to catch the four-five back to London. This Bunburying, as you call it, has not been a great success for you.

Narrator
Jack leaves.

Algernon
[To himself] I think it has been a great success. I'm in love with Cecily. I must see her before I go. Ah, there she is watering the flowers.

Cecily
Oh, I just came back to water the roses. I thought you were with Uncle Jack.

Algernon
He's gone to order the carriage for me.

Cecily
Oh, is he going to take you for a nice drive?

Algernon
He's going to send me away.

Cecily
Then have we got to say goodbye?

Algernon
I'm afraid so. It's a very painful parting.

Cecily
It's always painful to part from people you have only just met. It's easy to be apart from old friends for a long time. But being apart for just a short period from someone you have just been introduced to is almost unbearable.

Algernon
Thank you.

Merriman
The carriage is at the door, sir.  

Download

You can download the drama from our Unit 15 downloads page or from our BBC Learning English Drama podcast page.

Vocabulary

sermon
a talk given by a priest or religious leader during a religious ceremony

adapt
to change something

christening
a Christian ceremony during which a baby is given a name and made a member of the Christian Church

christen
to carry out a religious ceremony during which a baby is given a name and made a member of the Christian Church

absurd
stupid

disgraceful
very bad

invalid
a person who is ill or disabled and cannot look after themselves

liar
a person who says things that are not true

childish
behaving in a silly way, like a young child

mourning
custom of wearing black clothes to show sadness for someone who has died

vanity
the fact of being too proud of your appearance or abilities

outrage
an action that is shocking

parting
the act of leaving someone

To do

See how much you understood from the story by answering these questions...

Earnest quiz

3 Questions

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Credits

Miss Prism: Catherine Chapman

Miss Cecily Cardew: Alice Brown

Reverend Chasuble: Rob Carter

Merriman: Michael Harrison

Algernon Moncreiff: Darren Benedict

Jack Worthing: Tim Gibson

Narrator: Finn Aberdein

Original play written by: Oscar Wilde

Adaptation by: Sue Mushin

Illustrator: Magdolna Terray

ELT consultant: Catherine Chapman

Producer: Finn Aberdein

More

You can find all the episodes of The Importance of Being Earnest and our other BBC Learning English dramas on our Drama page.

End of Session 5

Jack hasn't given away Algernon's secret, but he's sent him back to London. Is it all over for Algernon and Cecily? And what about Jack and Gwendolen?

Session Vocabulary

  • sermon
    a talk given by a priest or religious leader during a religious ceremony

    adapt
    to change something

    christening
    a Christian ceremony during which a baby is given a name and made a member of the Christian Church

    christen
    to carry out a religious ceremony during which a baby is given a name and made a member of the Christian Church

    absurd
    stupid

    disgraceful
    very bad

    invalid
    a person who is ill or disabled and cannot look after themselves

    liar
    a person who says things that are not true

    childish
    behaving in a silly way, like a young child

    mourning
    custom of wearing black clothes to show sadness for someone who has died

    vanity
    the fact of being too proud of your appearance or abilities

    outrage
    an action that is shocking

    parting
    the act of leaving someone