Wilde wonderfully complicates matters by having Algernon’s cousin Gwendolyn fall in love with Ernest (not knowing he is Jack) and setting off to the country for a surprise visit.
This, of course, all occurs on the day Jack, determined to end the now-dangerous charade, arrives at his country home dressed in black to mourn Ernest’s passing.
When Gwendolen requests no sugar, Cecily adds four lumps to her cup.
Although she asks for bread and butter, Gwendolen is given a large slice of cake.
Wilde gives examples again and again of the aristocrat's concern for propriety, that everything is done properly no matter what those good manners might be camouflaging.
The Absence of Compassion Two areas in which the Victorians showed little sympathy or compassion were illness and death.A brief refresher on Earnest’s plot: Jack Worthing regularly flees his country home for London with the excuse of tending to his scandalous—and nonexistent—younger brother Ernest.When his best friend, Algernon, learns of this deception—and that Jack has a beautiful young ward named Cecily whom he keeps stashed away in the country—he sets off to meet her pretending that he is Ernest.He was also taken under the wing of their next-door neighbor, Charlie Chaplin, with whom Puffin had many precocious arguments about directorial style.Returning to England in 1926, he plunged into the silent film industry and was already a seasoned veteran when, in 1938, he received international acclaim for his successful adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.Her true feelings come out only in an aside that Cecily supposedly cannot hear: "Detestable girl!" Gwendolen is also appalled to find that Cecily is living in Jack's country home, and she inquires about a chaperone.“Do you expect me, a Dame of the Most Noble Order of the British Empire, to change…to alter our good English word ‘perambulator’ to ‘baby carriage’? “I positively decline to do it.” (But she did.) Fifty years later, Evans’ reading of “perambulator”—and the film’s full Technicolor beauty—is restored to all its glory.Duty and Respectability The aristocratic Victorians valued duty and respectability above all else.So, while a person could lead a secret life, carry on affairs within marriage or have children outside of wedlock, society would look the other way as long as the appearance of propriety was maintained.For this reason, Wilde questions whether the more important or serious issues of the day are overlooked in favor of trivial concerns about appearance. Her marriage proposal must be performed correctly, and her brother even practices correct proposals.