Lord Arthur Goring: To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Sir Robert Chiltern: If you are suggesting, Sir Edward, that my position in society owes anything to my wife, you are utterly mistaken. It owes everything to my wife.

Lord Arthur Goring: Fashion is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear. Other people are quite dreadful. The only possible society is oneself.

Lord Arthur Goring: Excuse me a moment. I'm in the middle of my performance of the attentive son.

Mabel: To look at a thing is quite different from seeing a thing, and one does not see anything until one sees its beauty.

Lord Arthur Goring: [to statue] It is a great nuisance. I can't find anyone else to talk to. I'm so full of interesting information, I feel like the latest edition of something or other. Well, after some consideration... so much to do, there's only one thing to be done. There comes a time in every son's life when he must, indeed, follow his father's advice: I shall go to bed at once.

Lord Caversham: Married yet?
Lord Arthur Goring: Ask me again in half an hour.

Countess: Aren't you going to congratulate me?
Lord Arthur Goring: Congratulations.
Countess: Aren't you going to ask what for?
Lord Arthur Goring: What for?
Countess: I've made a great decision. I've decided to get married.
Lord Arthur Goring: My God! Who to?
Countess: That part is yet to be determined.

Tommy Trafford: Miss Mabel, I shall have something very particular I wish to say to you.
Mabel: When Tommy Trafford wants to be romantic, he talks to one just like a doctor.

Lord Caversham: I don't know how you stand society. A lot of damned nobodies talking about nothing.
Lord Arthur Goring: I love talking about nothing, Father. It's the only thing I know anything about.
Lord Caversham: That is a paradox, sir, I hate paradoxes.
Lord Caversham: Do you always understand everything you say?
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes... if I listen attentively.
Lord Caversham: Conceited young puppy!

Sir Robert Chiltern: I will give you any sum of money you want.
Laura: Even you are not rich enough to buy back your past, Sir Robert. No man is.
Lord Arthur Goring: I'm sorry, Father, but the truth is, this is not my day for talking seriously.
Lord Caversham: Well, what do you mean, sir?
Lord Arthur Goring: I mean that I only talk seriously on the first Tuesday of every month, between noon and three.

Lord Caversham: You are 36.
Lord Arthur Goring: Shh! Father! I only admit to 32.

Sir Robert Chiltern: Do you know, Arthur, I sometimes wish I were you.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do you know, Robert, sometimes I wish you were too. Except that you would probably make something useful out of my life, and that would never do.

Sir Robert Chiltern: Anyway, what's that saying about there being plenty of fish in the sea?
Lord Arthur Goring: Ah, yes, but I couldn't possibly marry a fish. I'd be sure to land an old trout.

Laura: We were quite well suited, as I recall.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, you were poor, I was rich, it must have suited you very well. And then you met the Baron, who was even richer. And that suited you better.
Laura: Have you forgiven me yet?
Lord Arthur Goring: My dear woman, it's been so long, I'd all but forgotten you.

Laura: Do you know, Gertrude, I don't mind your talking morality a bit. Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike. You dislike me, I am quite aware of that, and I have always detested you.

Lord Arthur Goring: My dear Mrs. Cheveley, I should make you a very bad husband.
Laura: I don't mind bad husbands. I've had two. They amused me immensely.

Laura: A rather charming little idea has come into my head, and now that I consider it, I find it to be a rather charming big idea.

Laura: As a betting man, you must concede there is a certain thrill to it. Consider also how elegantly I've moved from proposal to proposition.
Lord Arthur Goring: With hardly any loss of face. I'm most impressed, indeed.

Mabel: Lord Goring, I gather you're to be congratulated.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, there's nothing I like more than to be congratulated, though invariably I find the pleasure immeasurably greater when I know what for.

Gertrude: Oh, Arthur... what a good friend you are to him, to us.
Lord Arthur Goring: Yes, but we're not out of danger yet. In fact, I believe there's a rather popular saying about frying pans and fires, except now it is you and I, dear Gertrude, who are to be roasted.

Lord Caversham: What are you doing here, sir? Wasting your time, as usual?
Lord Arthur Goring: My dear father, when a man pays a visit, it is for the purpose of wasting other people's time and not one's own.

Lord Arthur Goring: Father, there's someone there I'd like you to talk with.
Lord Caversham: What about?
Lord Arthur Goring: About me, sir.
Lord Caversham: Not a subject on which much eloquence is possible.

Gertrude: Yes, Arthur, it is Robert himself who wishes to retire from public life.
Lord Arthur Goring: Rather than risk losing your love, he would do anything. Has he not been punished enough?
Gertrude: We've both been punished. I set him up too high.
Lord Arthur Goring: Do not now set him down too low.

Lord Arthur Goring: Gertrude, it is not the perfect, but rather the imperfect who have need of love.
Gertrude: You seem to know a great deal about it all of a sudden.
Lord Arthur Goring: Oh, I hope not. All I know, Gertrude, is that it takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love. Gertrude, you have more courage than any woman I have ever known. Do not be afraid now to use it.

Mabel: You are very late!
Lord Arthur Goring: Have you missed me?
Mabel: Awfully!
Lord Arthur Goring: Then I am sorry I did not stay away longer. I like being missed.
Mabel: How very selfish of you!
Lord Arthur Goring: I am very selfish.
Mabel: You are always telling me of your bad qualities, Lord Goring.
Lord Arthur Goring: I have only told you half of them as yet, Miss Mabel!
Mabel: Really! Are the others very bad?
Lord Arthur Goring: Quite dreadful! When I think of them at night, I go to sleep at once.

Lord Arthur Goring: You should go to bed, Miss Mabel.
Mabel: Lord Goring!
Lord Arthur Goring: My father told me to go to bed an hour ago. I don't see why I shouldn't give you the same advice. I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it.

Sir Robert Chiltern: Is it fair, Arthur?
Lord Arthur Goring: Life is never fair, Robert. And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.

Gertrude: Lord Goring, you are talking quite seriously.
Lord Arthur Goring: You must excuse me, Lady Chiltern. It won't occur again, if I can help it.
Gertrude: But I like you to be serious.
[Enter Mabel]
Mabel: Dear Gertrude, don't say such a dreadful thing to Lord Goring. Good afternoon, Lord Goring. Pray be as trivial as you can.

Gertrude: Robert is a great champion for the higher education of women, and I am afraid, so am I.
Laura: The higher education of men is what I should like to see. They need it so sadly.
Lady Markby: They do, dear. But I don't think man has capacity for development. He has got as far as he can, and that is not far, is it?

Laura: Wonderful woman, Lady Markby, isn't she? Talks more and says less than anybody I ever met.

Lord Arthur Goring: I am glad you have called. I am going to give you some advice.
Laura: Oh pray, don't. One should never give a woman something that she can't wear in the evening.

Lord Arthur Goring: I love you... I love you.
Mabel: Is that your reason then?
Lord Arthur Goring: Mmm. Mabel, I said...
Mabel: I know.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well? Couldn't you you love me just a little bit in return?
Mabel: Arthur, you silly! If you knew anything about anything, which you don't, you would know that I absolutely adore you.
Lord Arthur Goring: Really?
Mabel: Mmm.
Lord Arthur Goring: Well, why didn't you say anything before?
Mabel: Because, dear boy, you never would have believed me.

Lord Caversham: Now, if you don't make her an ideal husband, I'll cut you off with a shilling.
Mabel: An ideal husband? Oh, I don't think I should like that.
Lord Caversham: What do you want him to be then, my dear?
Mabel: I think he can be anything he wants.
Lord Caversham: You don't deserve her, sir.
Lord Arthur Goring: My dear father, if we men married the women we deserved... we should have a very bad time of it.


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"The Marriage Proposal," by Charles Joseph Frederic Soulacroix
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