To know them is a middle-class education

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t k

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Cecil Graham. The only good woman you have ever met in your life?

Lord Darlington. Yes!

Cecil Graham. [Lighting a cigarette.] Well, you are a lucky fellow! Why, I have met hundreds of good women. I never seem to meet any but good women. The world is perfectly packed with good women. To know them is a middle-class education.
(from Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde; a larger context is here; use ctrl-f to locate the sentence)

Please explain "To know them is a middle-class education." Does it mean "They don't have any mystery"? Thanks. --- tk
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The speaker wishes he knew more badly behaved women (fun, subversive, maybe sexually promiscuous). All the women he knows display the middle-class virtues: they are staid, conventional, well behaved, unobtrusive, very unlike the upper and lower classes. Knowing good middle-class women trains you to be like them, to behave in a middle class way, or at least trains you, distressingly, to know what the middle class virtues are.
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