课程 5

Join us for the final episode of our drama, The Importance of Being Earnest. It's time to find out who the real Ernest is...

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Drama

The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 10: The real Ernest is discovered

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

Everyone is gathered at Jack's house in the country. Jack is still arguing with Lady Bracknell, but, as soon as Miss Prism arrives, everything changes. It's time to find out who the real Ernest is...

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Narrator
Lady Bracknell is visiting Jack's house in the country. She won't allow Jack to marry Gwendolen, and Jack, who is Cecily's guardian, won't allow Cecily to marry Algernon.

Lady Bracknell
Come here, dear child. How old are you?

Cecily
Eighteen.

Lady Bracknell
Well, you'll soon be able to decide yourself who to marry. 

Jack
Excuse me, Lady Bracknell, but Miss Cardew doesn't come of age until she is 35, only then can she marry who she likes.

Lady Bracknell
Oh, that's not a problem. Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women who have remained 35 for years. Lady Dumbleton, for example, she's been 35 ever since she turned 40, a long time ago. 

Cecily
But I can't wait that long. I hate waiting even five minutes for someone. Waiting, even to be married, is just not possible.

Algernon
Well, what shall we do, Cecily?

Cecily
I don't know, Algernon.

Lady Bracknell
My dear Mr Worthing, as Miss Cardew says she cannot wait till she is 35 – which seems to indicate she is a little impatient – could you change your mind?

Jack
My dear Lady Bracknell, the moment you agree to my marriage with Gwendolen, I will happily allow your nephew to become engaged to Cecily.

Lady Bracknell
That is impossible. Look at the time! Gwendolen, dear, we've already missed five trains. 

Narrator
But they'll miss the next one, too, because Reverend Chasuble arrives to announce that everything is ready for the christenings.

Lady Bracknell
Christenings, sir! Isn't that a little premature?

Chasuble
Both these gentlemen have said they want to be christened this afternoon.

Lady Bracknell
At their age? That's ridiculous! Algernon, Lord Bracknell would be very unhappy if he knew this was how you wasted your time and money.

Chasuble
So, no christenings this afternoon?

Jack
It would be no use to either of us, Reverend Chasuble, at the moment.

Chasuble
Well, I'll return to the church straight away. It seems Miss Prism has been waiting there for me for an hour and a half.

Lady Bracknell
Miss Prism! Did you say Miss Prism?

Chasuble
Yes, Lady Bracknell. I'm going to see her now.

Lady Bracknell
Wait a moment. Is this Miss Prism an unattractive woman, connected with education?

Chasuble
She's very well educated indeed.

Lady Bracknell
It's obviously the same person. And what position does she have in your house?

Jack
Miss Prism, Lady Bracknell, is Miss Cardew's governess.

Lady Bracknell
I must see her at once.

Chasuble
Well, she's here now! Look, she's coming up the garden path.

Narrator
Miss Prism arrives. When she sees Lady Bracknell, she goes white.

Lady Bracknell
Prism! Come here! Where is that baby? Twenty-eight years ago, Prism, you left my house with a pram in which a male baby was sleeping. You never came back. The police found the pram.It contained a novel but no baby! Prism! What happened to that baby? 

Miss Prism
Lady Bracknell, I really don't know. I wish I did. This is what happened. I took the baby out in its pram as usual. I also took with me a large, old handbag in which I was intending to put the novel that I had written. In a moment when I wasn't thinking, I put the novel in the pram, and placed the baby in the bag.

Jack
But where did you put the bag?

Miss Prism
I left it in the cloakroom of a railway station in London.

Jack
Which railway station?

Miss Prism
Victoria. 

Jack
I must just go to my room. 

Narrator
He rushes off. After several minutes, Jack returns carrying a black leather bag.

Jack
Is this the bag, Miss Prism?

Miss Prism
Yes, here are my initials. I'm so pleased to get it back so unexpectedly. It has been very inconvenient not to have it all these years.

Jack
Miss Prism, it's not just the bag that has been given back to you. I was the baby in it.

Miss Prism
You?

Jack
Yes… mother!

Miss Prism
Mr Worthing, there is some mistake! Lady Bracknell can tell you who you really are.

Jack
Lady Bracknell, I hate to be inquisitive, but could you tell me who I am?

Lady Bracknell
I'm afraid you are the son of my poor sister, Mrs Moncrieff. You are Algernon's elder brother.

Jack
Algy's elder brother! Then I do have a brother. I always said I had a brother! Algy, you'll have to treat me with more respect in future. You have never behaved like a brother to me.

Algernon
I did my best.

Gwendolen
My darling! But what is your christian name, now that you have become someone else?

Jack
Good heavens! I had forgotten about that. Lady Bracknell, when Miss Prism left me in the bag, had I been christened already?

Lady Bracknell
Your parents gave you everything, including a christening.

Jack
Well, what name was I given? 

Lady Bracknell
You were the eldest son, so you were given your father's name.

Jack
Yes, but what was his name?

Lady Bracknell
I cannot remember the General's full name. 

Jack
Algy! Can't you remember what our father's name was?

Algernon
My dear fellow, I was one when he died.

Jack
His name would appear in the army lists, wouldn't it, Lady Bracknell?

Lady Bracknell
That's true.

Jack
I have the lists of the last 40 years here. 

Narrator
He rushes to the bookcase and pulls the books out. 

Jack
Generals… Mallam, Migsby, Moncrieff! General 1869, his full name was… Jack Ernest! … I always told you, Gwendolen, my name was Ernest, didn't I? Well, it is Ernest after all. 

Gwendolen
Ernest! My own Ernest! I felt from the beginning that you could have no other name!

Jack
Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to suddenly find out that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me?

Gwendolen
I can. For I'm sure you will change.

Jack
My darling!

Narrator
And Jack embraces Gwendolen. Algernon does the same with Cecily. Even Reverend Chasuble embraces someone – Miss Prism, much to her delight.

Jack
Gwendolen! At last!

Lady Bracknell
My nephew, you are showing a lack of seriousness.

Jack
No, it's the opposite, Lady Bracknell. I've now realised for the first time in my life the extreme Importance of Being Earnest.

Download

You can download the drama from our Unit 20 downloads page or from our BBC Learning English Drama podcast page.

Vocabulary

guardian
someone who is legally responsible for someone else such as a child whose parents cannot look after them (perhaps because they have died)

comes of age
when a person becomes adult by law

christening
a religious ceremony in the Christian Church during which a baby is given a name and becomes a member of the Christian Church

premature
too soon

governess
a woman who in the past lived with a family and taught the children

cloakroom
place in a theatre, restaurant and previously in railway stations, where you can leave coats, bags and other small items

initials
the first letters of a person's names

unexpectedly
surprisingly

inconvenient
difficult

inquisitive
curious, asking lots of questions

luxury
something that is very nice to have but is not necessary

embraces
holds someone in your arms to show you love them

earnest
serious and determined

To do

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

Earnest quiz

3 Questions

How well did you understand the story? Try to answer these questions about Episode 10.

祝贺你完成了测验!
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Credits

Miss Cecily Cardew: Alice Brown

Miss Gwendolen Fairfax: Sophie Napleton

Jack Worthing: Tim Gibson

Algernon Moncreiff: Darren Benedict

Lady Bracknell: Miranda Jaquarello

Reverend Chasuble: Rob Carter

Miss Prism: Catherine Chapman

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

So, Jack's name was Ernest after all! We really hope you enjoyed this drama. There'll be a new drama coming soon.

本课词汇

  • guardian
    someone who is legally responsible for someone else such as a child whose parents cannot look after them (perhaps because they have died)

    comes of age
    when a person becomes adult by law

    christening
    a religious ceremony in the Christian Church during which a baby is given a name and becomes a member of the Christian Church

    premature
    too soon

    governess
    a woman who in the past lived with a family and taught the children

    cloakroom
    place in a theatre, restaurant and previously in railway stations, where you can leave coats, bags and other small items

    initials
    the first letters of a person's names

    unexpectedly
    surprisingly

    inconvenient
    difficult

    inquisitive
    curious, asking lots of questions

    luxury
    something that is very nice to have but is not necessary

    embraces
    holds someone in your arms to show you love them

    earnest
    serious and determined