Sesión 5

Jack has proposed to Gwendolen, but her mother is not happy. Can Jack persuade Lady Bracknell that he is the right man for her daughter?

Sesiones en esta unidad

Sesión 5 puntuación

0 / 3

  • 0 / 3
    Actividad 1

Actividad 1

Drama

The Importance of Being Earnest, Part 3: Lost and found

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

Jack has proposed to his darling Gwendolen, and she has accepted. But Gwendolen's mother, Lady Bracknell, has other ideas. Meanwhile, Algernon has become interested in Jack's cousin, Cecily.

While you listen to the audio, see how many examples of comparatives and superlatives you can spot. Then take a look at the transcript to see them in bold.

Escuchar el audio y completar la actividad

Mostrar la transcripción Ocultar la transcripción

Narrator
Jack has asked Gwendolen to marry him. She thinks his name is Ernest, her favourite name, and has happily accepted. But her mother, Lady Bracknell, is not pleased about the engagement. She wants to ask Jack some questions about his background and finances.

Lady Bracknell
Now, Mr Worthing, I am quite prepared to add your name to my list of eligible young men for my daughter if you answer my questions in a suitable way... Do you smoke?

Jack
Well, yes, I do.

Lady Bracknell
I'm glad to hear it. How old are you?

Jack
Twenty-nine.

Lady Bracknell  
The best age to be married in my opinion. What is your income?

Jack
Between seven and eight thousand a year.

Lady Bracknell  
Seven and eight thousand... Do you own a house?

Jack
Well, I have a country house with some land.

Lady Bracknell
A country house! How many bedrooms? You have a town house, I hope? A girl like Gwendolen could not be expected to live in the country.

Jack
Well, I own a house in Belgrave Square, but I rent it to Lady Bloxham. 

Lady Bracknell
Very well. Now to more minor subjects. Are your parents living?

Jack
I have lost both my parents.

Lady Bracknell  
To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, is unlucky; to lose both looks like carelessness. Who was your father?

Jack
I'm afraid I don't know. The fact is, Lady Bracknell, I said I had lost my parents. It would be more truthful to say that my parents lost me... I was... well, I was found.

Lady Bracknell
Found!

Jack
The late Mr Cardew, one of the kindest gentlemen I've ever met, found me, and gave me the name of Worthing, because he happened to have a ticket for Worthing in his pocket at the time. Worthing is in Sussex. It's the most delightful seaside resort... 

Lady Bracknell
Where did this kind gentleman find you?

Jack
In a handbag.

Lady Bracknell
A handbag?

Jack
Yes, Lady Bracknell, I was in a handbag - a rather large, black handbag, with handles to it.

Lady Bracknell  
And where did Mr Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?

Jack
In the cloakroom at Victoria Station. It was given to him by mistake instead of his own.

Lady Bracknell
The cloakroom at Victoria Station?

Jack
Yes. 

Lady Bracknell
Mr Worthing, I have to say I feel rather confused by what you have just told me. To start life in a bag, whether it had handles or not, shows a lack of respect for family life. As for the bag being found in a cloakroom at a railway station, that isn't the best way to begin a successful life in society today.

Jack
May I ask you then what I should do? I would do anything to ensure Gwendolen's happiness.

Lady Bracknell
I would strongly advise you, Mr Worthing, to acquire some relations as soon as possible, and to try to produce at least one parent.

Jack
Well, I don't see how I can do that. I can produce the bag now. It's at home. That should be enough for you, surely, Lady Bracknell.

Lady Bracknell
Mr Worthing! You can hardly imagine that I and Lord Bracknell would allow our only daughter to marry into a cloakroom, and form an alliance with a parcel? Goodbye, Mr Worthing!

Jack
Goodbye! 

Algernon
How did it go? Oh, didn't it go well, old boy? Did Gwendolen refuse you? 

Jack
Oh, as far as Gwendolen is concerned, we are engaged. Her mother, though, is perfectly unbearable. She's a monster... I beg your pardon, Algy, I shouldn't talk about your aunt in that way in front of you.

Algernon
My dear boy, I love people being rude about my relations. It's the only thing that makes me put up with them.

Jack
You don't think Gwendolen could become like her mother, do you, Algy?

Algernon
Gwendolen is the most sensible, intellectual girl I know. But all women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. By the way, did you tell Gwendolen about being Ernest in town, and Jack in the country?

Jack
My dear fellow, the truth isn't the sort of thing you tell a nice, sweet girl.

Algernon
What about your brother? What about Ernest?

Jack
Oh, I shall have finished with him by the weekend. I'll say he died in Paris from a severe cold.

Algernon
But I thought you said that... Cecily was interested in Ernest? Won't she be very sad?

Jack
Oh, that's all right. Cecily is not a silly romantic girl, I am glad to say. She has got a good appetite, goes on long walks, and pays little attention to her lessons.

Algernon
I would like to see Cecily.

Jack
I will take very good care you never do. She is very pretty, and she is only just eighteen.

Algernon
Have you told Gwendolen about Cecily?

Jack
Oh! Cecily and Gwendolen are certain to be extremely good friends. Half an hour after they have met, they will be calling each other 'sister'.

Algernon
Women only do that when they have called each other a lot of other things first. Now, my dear boy, if we want to get a good table at Willis's for dinner, we must go. It's nearly seven.

Narrator
Just then, Gwendolen comes in and tells Jack that she will always love him, even if they don't get married. She asks him for his address in the country, and Algernon - listening quietly - secretly writes it down. Jack takes Gwendolen to her carriage and Algernon is left on his own, with a smile on his face.

(A bell rings)

Lane
You called, sir.

Algernon
Tomorrow, Lane, I'm going Bunburying.

Lane
Yes, sir.

Algernon
I'm going to Hertfordshire. I shall probably not be back until Monday. You can prepare all my Bunbury clothes.

Lane
Yes, sir. 

Algernon
I hope tomorrow will be a fine day, Lane.

Lane
It never is, sir.

Algernon
Lane, you are a perfect pessimist.

Lane
I do my best to give satisfaction, sir.

Download

You can download the drama from our Unit 13 downloads page or from our BBC Learning English Drama podcast page.

Vocabulary

income
money someone gets from work or from investments

late
(here) dead

gentlemen
(here) old-fashioned word meaning 'men from higher classes of society'

Sussex
a county in the south of England

handles
parts attached to a bag or other object so that you can hold it

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

bewildered
confused

decent
socially acceptable

ensure
to make certain that something happens

acquire
to get

marry into
(phrasal verb) to become a member of a family or group by marrying someone who already belongs to it. (Here Wilde is comparing the cloakroom with a family)

form an alliance
become connected

put up with
(phrasal verb) to continue to accept a person or situation that is unpleasant

tragedy
a very sad event or situation

Hertfordshire
a county in the south of England, near to London

To do

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

Earnest quiz

3 Questions

How well did you understand the story? Try our quiz about Episode 3.

Felicitaciones. Has completado el quiz.
Excellent! ¡Muy bien! Bad luck! Tu puntaje :
x / y

Credits

Algernon Moncreiff: Darren Benedict

Jack Worthing: Tim Gibson

Lane: Neil Edgeller

Lady Bracknell: Miranda Jaquarello

Gwendolen Fairfax: Sophie Napleton

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

That's the end of this session, and this unit. We hope you've enjoyed our new drama, and learning about the comparatives and superlatives.

Sesión de vocabulario

  • income 
    money someone gets from work or from investments

    late 
    (here) dead

    gentlemen 
    old-fashioned word meaning 'men from higher classes of society'

    Sussex 
    a county in the south of England

    handles 
    parts attached to a bag or other object so that you can hold it

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

    bewildered 
    confused

    decent 
    socially acceptable

    ensure 
    to make certain that something happens

    acquire
    to get

    marry into 
    (phrasal verb) to become a member of a family or group by marrying someone who already belongs to it. (Here Wilde is comparing the cloakroom with a family)

    form an alliance
    become connected

    put up with
    (phrasal verb) to continue to accept a person or situation that is unpleasant

    tragedy 
    a very sad event or situation

    Hertfordshire 
    a county in the south of England, near to London