A fictional dialogue between Miss Victoria (V) and her future mother-in-law, Lady Bracknell (LB)
LB – Miss Victoria, What a pleasant name. Victoria who?
V – Adams
LB – Adams, let me see… It’s a traditional family from the south isn’t it? Dedicated to the ship-owner business or religion?
V – Religion, but as traders.
LB – Oh! What a blessed thing to hear. Do you have brothers miss Vic?
V – I have two older sisters
LB – What a pity. Older brothers are always a good influence on beautiful young girls.
No one explains many things so well with no need to mention them. And cousins, at least you had contacts with cousins?
V – No Lady Bracknell. My parents, they didn’t have brothers. LB – And your older sisters, they are already married with rich husbands, right?
V – Unfortunately not Lady Bracknell, None of them is married yet.
LB – Well, Well. And your father, tell me about him.
V – My father was always away from home, travelling. I was raised by my mother, my sisters and my grandmother.
LB – That could be interesting. Your father made a good fortuneI hope.
V – Oh yes Lady Bracknell, my father was a very rich man, but he never allowed for a dowry for the marriage of my sisters. He was for female emancipation. LB – Emancipation? But your family was religious and isn’t it a kind of atheism? I am sorry Miss Victoria, but Theodore is no longer able to visit you again. Our family has a reputation to hold, and times are not for expensive and dangerous ideas.
V – Well Lady Bracknell, yes, but my father was a business man, even with religion and in fact he died last year. So we will get the money from his inheritance, much higher than the stupid dowry.
LB – Don’t call it stupid, my dear (takes her hand) What’s the value, more or less?
V – £5000 in gold, £10.000 in stock markets, plus 30% in a oil enterprise and 1000 acres in farms and 3 buildings in the city.
LB – (Taking notes very fast, in her notebook) Well I think we don’t have to be so strict about…
V – Divided by my sisters and half to my mother, with taxes and bureaucratic expenses should not exceed…
LB – Excellent, Excellent. I am glad your are very good with numbers. Shall we pass to other questions? Do you cook?
V – Oh Lady Bracknell, I could not tell the difference between an egg and a golf ball. LB – Very good Miss Victoria. There is nothing worse than pretending to know how to cook or wanting to talk about French cuisine at teatime.
And what about gardening? Let’s see miss Vic. Imagine that you are at home and you meet the gardener in the hallway and he’s shirtless. What would you do?
V – Well Lady Bracknell, in that case. Having him scourged immediately. But first I would ask him to undress completely. I hate leaving things by half.
LB – Very interesting. And who would you call for the whip?
V – I myself would do that. I hate witnesses. And two servants together can generate a strike at home.
LB – Very clever. A woman should always know how to take advantage, alone, of anything that comes to your hands.