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2. SECOND ACT (continued)
CECILY. I wish Uncle Jack would allow that unfortunate young man, his brother, to come down here sometimes. We might have a good influence over him, Miss Prism. I am sure you certainly would. You know German, and geology, and things of that kind influence a man very much. [CECILY begins to write in her diary.]
MISS PRISM. [Shaking her head.] I do not think that even I could produce any effect on a character that according to his own brother's admission is irretrievably weak and vacillating. Indeed I am not sure that I would desire to reclaim him. I am not in favour of this modern mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice. As a man sows so let him reap. You must put away your diary, Cecily. I really don't see why you should keep a diary at all.
CECILY. I keep a diary in order to enter the wonderful secrets of my life. If I didn't write them down, I should probably forget all about them.
MISS PRISM. Memory, my dear Cecily, is the diary that we all carry about with us.
CECILY. Yes, but it usually chronicles the things that have never happened, and couldn't possibly have happened. I believe that Memory is responsible for nearly all the three-volume novels that Mudie sends us.
MISS PRISM. Do not speak slightingly of the three-volume novel, Cecily. I wrote one myself in earlier days.
CECILY. Did you really, Miss Prism? How wonderfully clever you are! I hope it did not end happily? I don't like novels that end happily. They depress me so much.
MISS PRISM. The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.
CECILY. I suppose so. But it seems very unfair. And was your novel ever published?
MISS PRISM. Alas! no. The manuscript unfortunately was abandoned. [CECILY starts.] I use the word in the sense of lost or mislaid. To your work, child, these speculations are profitless.
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