The elegantly absurd plot centres on Jack Worthing, who is "Ernest" in town. He wins Gwendolen's hand, but she declares that she chiefly loves him for his name Ernest-the name Jack has allotted to his non-existent brother whose peccadilloes explain his frequent absences from his country home where lives his pretty ward Cecily. Another formidable impediment to Jack's happiness is Lady Bracknell, who shudders at Jack's having been found in a handbag at Victoria Station. Meanwhile, Cecily has decided to marry "Ernest". When Algernon presents himself in this guise, she immediately accepts his proposal. But she too will only marry an "Ernest". However, through some highly improbable coincidences, all is happily resolved.